This time, they’ve gone too far
I was going to give you an update post this morning and regale you with tales of my mammogram and MRI yesterday. Instead, there is a more pressing matter I need to address.
Mattel and the Komen Foundation have teamed up to bring us Breast Cancer Barbie.
(Let me get this out right now: If you buy one, I may have to sneak into your house at night, shave Barbie’s head and give her a mastectomy. While I’m there, I will probably throw a bucket of ice water on your sleeping face.)
Actually, she is the “Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon Barbie Doll.” You know – because Mattel is just SO passionate about breast cancer awareness they have to put a pink ribbon on something and tell you that some “proceeds” will go to the Komen Foundation. Yeah, right.
If you aren’t familiar with the “Think Before You Pink” campaign by Breast Cancer Action, you need to click on this link and read up on it. In case you haven’t figured it out, the pink ribbon crap is all about marketing and making money for the companies slapping the pink ribbons on their stuff. Ask yourself: if those companies really cared about breast cancer research or awareness or education or whatever bull they are telling you, why don’t they just write a check? Why do they have to ask you to buy stuff before they will do it?
Furthermore, if you read the resources on Think Before You Pink, you’ll learn that while some companies donate to certain breast cancer causes, just because a pink ribbon is on a product doesn’t mean one dime of your purchase goes toward that donation. The pink ribbon is just there to get your attention and make you think you are doing good.
The Breast Cancer Barbie is a good example. I hear it’s selling for $25 at the Wal-marts and Targets of the world. I can tell you the average Barbie price is below $15 at those same places – I’ve seen some on sale recently for under $10. That’s at least a $10 price difference from normal prices. Mattel is graciously donating $2.50 to Komen. Where’s the other $7.50 going? Just guess.
If YOU want to support breast cancer research, awareness, education or whatever, pick your favorite breast cancer organization and write them a check. It’s the best way to get some real money to the cause.
I have to share with you what some young women with breast cancer have to say about Breast Cancer Barbie. Tell all of your friends. We are not impressed. Breast Cancer Barbie is in poor taste.
I would love to credit these funny and intelligent gals, but I didn’t get individual permission to quote them. Just know these are from REAL women who REALLY have breast cancer – all off them diagnosed under the age of 40 or close to it.
“I’m guessing she probably doesn’t have a lumpectomy or mastectomy scar.”
“Is she bald? Is her skin grayish? Is she fat from steroids?”
“Does she come with a little toilet she can bend over and puke into? Does she come with a thousand prescription bottles that she can’t keep track of? Does she come with hair clippers for when she needs to buzz her hair off (or does it fall out about 14 days after you buy her?)”
“But if you’re going to have a breast cancer doll, at least make her bald and have her wig in the box with her. Little girls could learn that beauty is not all in gorgeous hair, a suelte figure, and boobs.”
“Maybe they could make her a chic little head scarf or summer bucket hat? A prosthesis and a mastectomy bra? Jeez. If they want to donate $, they should just donate $, and not market the stupid product.”
“If she has removable boobs and/or a wig, I am SO getting her!”
“Barbie is not the devil…She’s just backed by another corporation cashing in on the feel-good of doing good. It makes me sick that cancer has become so trendy that companies are invading the innocence of children’s toys. What’s next Testicular Cancer GI-Joe? CT-Scan Mr. Potato Head? “
“I agree, she should come with all that stuff…A wig, a scarf, maybe an IV line, removable boobs with a scar line underneath, and she should be at least 15 pounds overweight, and they should make it to where there’s a button you can push and she pukes everywhere. “
“At least she does come with nipple-less boobs. She should come with a thin red Sharpie marker so you can add your own scars. “
“I think what’s disgusting about this is that the ONLY reason why Matel is doing this is to ride the coattails of BC Awareness profitability. I’d say it is, in fact, profiteering in a way. They know how much money they stand to make from this venture and the minimal donation will hardly dent their profit margins.I think the other awful thing is that the gown wasn’t designed by Bob Macky! Clearly a slight!”
“Well, I don’t know about ya’ll, but this is how I usually dress now that I have had breast cancer. I used to just wear boring casual things like jeans, shorts and T-shirts, but not any more! Now I dress to the nine wherever I go, and my pink flowing gown is my favorite! And my favorite fashon accessory is by far my signature pink ribbon. I wear it whenever I leave the house. “
“How about the option to rip out her reproductive organs… so that she can’t have any more children or, better yet, not have any at all!”
“I’m waiting for Barbie’s team of doctors to come out for sale too. Let’s see, they can market (and profit from) her surgeon, her medical onc, her rad onc, the bitchy receptionist, and the bill collectors.”
“What gets me, too, is the IRONY of using Barbie – a toy that has been lambasted repeatedly by feminist groups the world over for the unrealistic body representation of women. AND now they want to attached Barbie to a disease that essestially makes that body image that much more unattainable. It smacks of irony and hypocrisy.”
“The only thing they got right was the no nipples, armpit hair, leg hair … and no whoo-ha hair … I wanna see some black toenails.”
“If I was making BC Barbie, I would just sell the empty Barbie box with a pink ribbon on it. Obviously, there is no Barbie in there because everyone knows that people with chemo brain wouldn’t remember to put Barbie in the damn box, anyway!! Much higher profit margin that way, too!”
“Where are her boobs of 2 different sizes? And 2 different colors from radiation?”
“I think she should come with an instruction booklet of conflicting opinions.”
After that, our conversation morphed into how much fun we had as kids mutilating our Barbie’s. We went from bitter to sadistic at the drop of a hat.
Do you want to do something more? I do. I’m so freaking tired of big corporations “selling” breast cancer. You will NOT market a doll to my little girl and PRETEND that it is your way of supporting a “cause.” The pretty, “pink” cause, where we tell women to smile and be positive and it all be ok. Put your hair up in a fancy ‘do and don a fluffy dress so noone else has to feel bad that underneath your breasts are shredded, your ovaries are dead and you feel like hell.
I call BULLSHIT on you Mattel. I call BULLSHIT on you Komen Foundation.
If you love me, and I know you do, I want you to get on the phone, send an email or get out your pen and paper and give these people a piece of your mind – or my mind. I have a few pieces to go around.
Here is the contact page for Mattel: http://www.mattel.com/contact_us/default.asp
Robert A. Eckert is the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Mattel. The main phone number to Mattel is 972-855-1600.
Here is the contact page for Komen: http://www.komen.org/contacts.aspx
The vice-president of “cause” marketing for Komen is Cindy Schneible. She would be the person in charge of orchestrating this deal.
Tell Mattel that if they are serious about supporting the “cause” of breast cancer that they need to stop prostituting dolls for profits and just write a check. Tell them that you realize their philanthrophic “support” is tied to the exploitation of a terrible disease. Tell them it’s offensive and painful for breast cancer survivors to have their bodies being mocked by a perfect plastic doll in a pink dress.
Tell the Komen Foundation it was socially irresponsible for them to cut a marketing deal to associate breast cancer fundraising with Barbie. The doll has a long history of sending an unrealistic message about body image, beauty and intelligence to young girls. To then tie that unattainable (or undesirable) picture of feminity to a cause related to BREAST CANCER – when 99 percent of people with the disease are women – is insensitive and in bad taste. The treatments for breast cancer are still, in the year 2006, disfiguring, debilitating and dehumanizing. Many young women with the disease face the loss of several aspects of feminity and womanhood: the loss of or disfigurement of their breasts; loss of the ability to have children; loss of the ability to breastfeed; surgeries to remove ovaries or the uterus; a reduction or loss of sexual enjoyment; the experience of menopause 15 or 20 years before their time; debilitating pain and other lifelong side effects from treatment; and much more. Older woman with the disease have many of these negative experiences as well. To try to associate the disease with a pretty pink party dress and an up-do simply ignores the struggles most breast cancer survivors have faced.
Also, the next time you are at your local mega-mart, see if they are carrying this doll. If so, write a letter or seek out the manager in person and state all of the above concerns. Tell them you understand that most people view this is “just helping out the cause” a little bit, but it’s not working for me. If they want to do something to help, ask them to set up a booth out front for a day, collect cash and send it to their favorite breast cancer cause. I recommend IU Breast Cancer Program, where they are doing cutting edge research. My favorite program is the Center of Excellence for Individualization of Therapy for Breast Cancer. (That is my doctor looking at the breast films.)
You may use any of my words when contacting these people. You may tell them that you know me and I find their stupid doll hurtful and think it is a cheap marketing ploy. Please let me know if you have any interesting experiences!
In my next rant, I’ll be telling you why “awareness” is completely overrated.