Well, I'll half solve the issue today. Here's a reply to an article about moms pressuring Mattel to make a bald Barbie for their cancer-suffering daughters. My initial reaction is somewhat the same: Why not teach the girls about real beauty instead of spending all this a) time on lobbying for yet another commercial item, and b) money on Mattel instead of giving to causes that would help fight cancer. And s/he touches on the commercialization of health as well, which is a pet peeve of mine. I support breast cancer research but don't need it shoved in my face everywhere I go, and besides, what about the other forms of cancer or ailments?
Anyway, on to the reply. Read the original article here. Please mind that yes, politically incorrect statements abound and facts need to be backed up but this isn't a school paper here, just a reply to a newspaper article.
Stupid Stupid Stupid
Here's how life works. 1) Mattel has to pay some clown (figurative clown, not literal clown...had to clear that up since I'm talking to the Barbie crowd) in a suit to design your Bald Barbie (yes, even if it's just a "normal" Barbie without hair). It still needs to be designed. Prototypes need to be built, costumes need to be created, specs need to be in place, etc. 2) Then Mattel sources the necessary resources to produce Bald Barbie -- typically this involves exploiting tax loopholes and resources in third world countries so they don't have to pay much to make your plastic P.O.S toy. 3) Then they ship and transport their resources to mainland China so they can pay exploited children and adults 12 cents an hour, because in China no one cares about Barbie, and they sure don't have $7.50 to drop on a Bald Barbie, SINCE THEY ONLY MAKE 12 CENTS AN HOUR. 4) After Bald Barbie has been produced and packaged in a language that none of those poor Chinese people understands, it gets shipped to various ports and seaboards to make sure that dimwit mothers who secretly want their daughters to develop eating disorders and get breast implants when they're 18, can purchase them at Wal-Mart (Lowest Price Guaranteed!) for $7.50, because if they're daughter isn't beautiful like Barbie (Bald or otherwise) the world will probably cease to be. If you don't believe this to be true, please watch Toddlers & Tiaras, intercept one of Kim Kardashian's actual tweets to Barbie (fake meet plastic), or simply check out the Photoshop jobs done to any actress on the cover of any magazine in the Grocery Store checkout aisle. 5) So, let's say all-in, that the cost to produce Bald Barbie is relatively low -- outside of the design work which almost certainly happened in a first-world nation, everything else is dirt cheap -- labour, resources, shipping, etc. Maybe (BIG MAYBE) Mattel spends $3.75 to produce a single Barbie and get it to North America, and in turn, charges you the consumer $7.50. So they make 50% on every Barbie. Sadly though, when you buy Bald Barbie, your $7.50 investment has to cover those costs, so in reality you're only donating $3.75 to Cancer Research or St. Jude's Children's Hospital or wherever you think that money is actually being directed. On top of that, you only have so much discretionary money. So if you spend $7.50 on Bald Barbie, it means you have $7.50 less that you can spend on non-Bald Barbie the next time you're at Walmart, which would yield Mattel $3.75 profit (since Mattel has quarterly earnings they have to hit or else those poor Chinese folk are gonna start getting a dime an hour or get exposed to more toxic resources that will give them cancer....blasphemy, ain't it?), while the CEO walks away with $11.4 million a year (2010 quote). Why don't we be honest with little girls who have cancer (or any other type of medical condition for that matter) -- and really, what does this say about kids who don't have cancer but have a disease that doesn't take away their hair -- that they are somehow less important than those other sick kids who get their own Bald Barbie? That Mattel doesn't care about amputees, or children born with AIDS, or transgendered kids? Maybe Mattel needs to produce a Barbie with a penis for them, no? I'd buy Penis Barbie, wouldn't you? Alas, I digress. Instead of spending $7.50 on a toy of which only half of the proceeds will make it through to the proper channels, let's teach our kids about the commercialization of health (Hello Red Campaign for AIDS. Hello Breast Cancer Pink ANYTHING). Publicly traded companies latch onto causes like these so ultimately you'll spend your hard-earned money with them that won't go to those causes, or only a small percentage will be donated (hidden from public view -- ie they'll only donate to a maximum of $50,000, etc), so they seem like quality corporate citizens, and you'll want to move your bank account to CIBC or buy your next sweater at GAP, where those companies will profit of your naivete and make sure they pay out dividends to their stock holders every three months. Those companies pay a premium to get on-board -- call the Canadian Cancer Society and see if they'll let allow you to associate your business with them. They'll tell you to go screw yourself unless you have $500,000 to show you care -- this in turn gets passed back to you as the consumer, in a cost that the company needs to recoup. Just donate your $7.50 to St. Judes Children's Hospital of CCS or wherever instead. It'll go a hell of a lot farther in helping those follicly challenged little girls fighting cancer have the necessary chance they need to live a long and productive life, and hopefully, fingers crossed, they won't end up with an eating disorder or depression because they can't live up to a plastic standard of "beauty".