MONDAY 20 AUG 2012 9:39 AM


Barbie signature golden locks will be shorn in a new line of Beautiful and Bald Barbies that Mattel is marketing to appeal to children suffering from cancer.

The dolls, announced in March in response to a 150,000-strong Facebook campaign, will be donated to paediatric hospitals. This weekend, however, L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican’s daily newspaper called on Mattel to sell the dolls in stores as well.

Mattel has attempted to brand Barbie dolls as a reflection of societal change. Earlier this year, however, it announced on its Facebook page the Beautiful and Bald line would not be available to the wider public.

“Through a thoughtful approach, we made the decision not to sell these dolls at retail stores,” it said. “But rather get the dolls directly into the hands of children who can most benefit from the unique play experience.”

The Vatican daily said additional change must occur to the Barbie image and selling the Beautiful and Bald line in retail outlets would help achieve that. It points out the numerous guises Barbie has taken on over the years, including military officer, athlete and paleontologist, the latest incarnation of the doll being a useful step toward revamping Barbie’s image.

Mattel has yet to comment but has typically responded to criticism by rebranding the doll's image.. The Bald and Beautiful line is another manifestation of that, but may or may not be sold alongside the doll in her more traditional incarnations.