Mattel's Disappointing Breast Cancer Doll Pisses Me Off
I posted my comment on Amazon:
"I have had many friends with breast cancer - and none of them look like Barbie - a white anorexic blonde with two breasts. To assign a plastic face such as Barbie to such a socially complex health issue, is really disappointing. It homogenizes the breast cancer population and ignores the class dimensions of access to healthcare that increases the chances of optimal treatment. For example, here is a quote from the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved.
"The lower rate of utilization of mammography and cervical cancer screening observed for Latinas in the United States has been attributed to cultural, economic, and linguistic barriers they may encounter."
In addition, the physical body of Breast Cancer Barbie is problematic because many survivors have had to get masectomies, and some have chosen to not have their breast(s) reconstructed. It also brings up the gender biases of males as reconstructrion surgeons, in that they assume a woman post-masectomy wants new breasts and may want to use reconstruction as an opportunity to increase their breast size. For example, it is noted that most women don't reconstruct their breasts post-masectormy and that white women have the highest rates of reconstruction www.medscape.com/viewarticle/522469. In a study that came out in September 2006, they found that women who have reconstruction are 75% more likey to commit suicide www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/09/060920081703.htm. "Figures from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons show a 22% decline in breast reconstruction procedures between 2000 and 2004," dailynews.att.net/cgi-bin/health?e=pub&dt=common&...
I bring up these articles to show that showing "a pair of breasts" for a Breast Cancer Barbie is a highly contentious decision for a company that has been know to create beautiful Barbies and philanthropically has donated money to causes, but has now constructed an actual doll that doesn't fully represent the heterogeneous breast cancer population is problematic.
And BTW MATTEL - many chemo patients are thin like Barbie NOT BY CHOICE! It's because of all the raditation and chemo drugs that are pumped into them that causes them to lose their appetite and therefore look thin, emaciated and weak. Being thin like Barbie is NOT A HEALTHY IDEAL for breast cancer patients!
Here is doll on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Barbie-Collector-Pink-Ribbon-Doll/dp/B000E...
My friends adriene who is a breast cancer survivor and documented her process online softservegirl.com/2005/archives.html, wrote this comment about the doll:
"I am a breast cancer survivor and I find this pink dressed, blond "doll" of perfection rather insulting to my female self, the perfect perky boobs, the long blond hair, the body that does not exist on a woman after the ravages of chemotheraphy. I can perfectly understand Mattel wanting to support breast cancer research and donate a portion of proceedes towards funding (and thank you for your generosity), but to do it under the guise of selling a "doll" which does not reflect the community of women who have experienced the challenges of recovery and survivorship...a doll which does not look like a survivor is literally painful and insulting! Why doesn't this doll have a wig? Why doesn't she have a breast removed? Why doesn't she have a bra fitted with a form to mimic the shape of a breast? What is wrong with reality? Why can't Mattel acknowledge the true nature of this disease and make a doll which comforts, not insults the sensibility of women who have suffered from this disease. I will purchase this doll, just because I am horrified by the product itself. I will disrobe her, and with a saw, cut off her breast so that she will look more like me, a survivor, a woman of pride. I will dismantle the construct of supposed beauty and make this image more like my own - because I am what is woman, not the facade of a false construction."