Barbie to have bald female friend

Beginning early next year, Barbie will have a new bald female friend created specially for children dealing with hair loss.

The hairless doll will have wigs, hats, scarves and other accessories that children can leave on or take off.

Her creation follows a Facebook campaign to persuade Barbie manufacturer Mattel to create a Barbie for children dealing with their own hair loss or that of family members.

Rather than selling the dolls in stores, Mattel plans to donate them to children's hospitals and other medical centers in the US and other countries.

"We have offered small quantities for our Mattel subsidiaries internationally to provide to charity partners in various other countries," Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz said in an email to AFP Tuesday.

"We made the decision not to sell these dolls at retail stores and profit from them, but rather more directly and immediately get these into the hands of children who can most benefit from a play experience with these dolls."

An appeal for the doll came from a Facebook group called "Beautiful and Bald Barbie," which said it hoped to aid young girls who are struggling with hair loss for medical reasons such as chemotherapy, stress or compulsive disorders.

"We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, alopecia or trichotillomania," said its mission statement.

"Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother's hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from long-haired to bald."