A campaign has taken off on Facebook for Mattel to create a beautiful and bald Barbie, hot off the heels of a campaign in Columbus, Georgia where an African American natural hair group gave makeovers to black Barbie dolls.
The idea of the campaign is to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments that have difficulties accepting their mother, sister, friend etc going from long haired to bald.
On their Facebook page it says:
"We think accessories such as wigs, bandanas, scarves and hats could be included. This would be a great coping mechanism for young girls dealing with hair loss themselves or a loved one. We would love to see a portion of proceeds go to childhood cancer research and treatment. Let's get Mattel's attention!"
You have to admire the campaign as surely any education on this matter is a good thing? And using a successful and established means is always clever as long as you utilise it properly - a whopping 84,000 (and rising) number of people were talking about it at the time of writing. After all, Barbie sales are still sky high - billions of Barbies are sold every year (getting an exact figure was actually pretty tough).
And since it was let loose onto our shop floors in 1959, Barbie has been a doll of controversy. So an all round good choice to campaign on and target.
Barbie's is most complained about because she is inappropriately sexy, promotes stupidity and has an unhealthy body image.
So is Barbie really the best means to educate youngsters on why some women lose hair or different races and ethnicities when none of the above has been tackled? Just changing one aspect of Barbie and ignoring the most prominent problems, doesn't make it right because you are promoting something good to the world.
So now comes the typically feminist part? Do we go with what we have, try to subvert it as much as possible, or do we try to ignore it?
I had a couple of Barbies when I was little but I was never really into them. I preferred to play with my puppet theatre and create shows for the cat. And now I look back she didn't really have much of an impact on my life.
But some of my friends had tonnes of Barbies, and they always wanted more, plus the house and the car and Ken and friends to go with her. And when I look back at the way they viewed Barbie I cannot help but think that forcing an idealic life that isn't possible or doesn't happen for everyone, is a bit much for a youngster - be them male or female. What is worse is that only girls really have this forced down their neck and the idyllic 1950s lifestyle just doesn't cut it in today's expensive and dog eat dog world.
So, if Barbie is used to educate young girls about cancer and hair loss, work and the realities of the world, then that can only be a good thing. The problem is that Mattel won't do this off their own back and have to be pressured to put a good idea in place by outside pressure - as this Facebook campaign has shown. To make Barbie into a realistic version of a modern day woman she needs to reflect everyday lives - be that happy or a little more upsetting.
Barbie doesn't seem to be going anywhere. So when a company is selling thousands of dolls a week, do we continue to embrace it while trying to change its culture, or completely ignore it? I can't decide.
Follow Prue Watson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/pruemanuva