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The rise of politically correct dolls: Hearing aids, bald heads and allergy-free lunches

An American Girl doll with a customizable hearing aid. (americangirl.com)An American Girl doll with a customizable hearing aid. (americangirl.com)The original barbie didn't come bald, and she certainly did not have an allergy-free lunch or a hearing aid. Yet today, all three options are available in one doll or another, and it seems the world of dolls cannot get politically correct enough.

The popular customizable doll line American Girl has announced the production of allergy-free lunches, hearing aids, and Sabbath Sets for their dolls, and that's in addition to the wide array of skin, hair and eye colours that are available.

Barbie has also expanded their variety of political correctness since the original doll was released in 1959.

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This year, Mattel announced a limited run of a bald dolls that will be donated to girls with hair loss from alopecia, cancer and other conditions. A Facebook group is advocating for an actual bald Barbie to be sold in retail stores and the Vatican has even lent its weight to the campaign, but for now, Mattel says that isn't happening.

Filling that void is the Little Tikes "True Hope" collection, a line of bald dolls from the makers of Bratz Dolls and Moxie Girlz. According to Little Tikes, "True Hope dolls provide inspiration, companionship and a feeling of community to kids suffering from childhood illnesses such as cancer."

In addition to the American Girl dolls, there is also MyTwinn, "The Just-Like-Me Doll". The company gives kids and parents numerous choices for skin colour, face shape, cheek shade and hair colour, length, texture and bang type. There's even the option of adding freckles, birthmarks and moles, all in the hopes of creating a mini-me version of the child.

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As one blogger over at Jezebel wrote, making dolls with items for extremely specific traits, like allergies or hearing impairment, is like telling these children that "We recognize that you exist."

But at the same time, there may also be a downside to this emphasis on creating a mirror image of the child. While there is no question that every race, size, and style of child should be represented, a non-bald child might learn compassion and tolerance by having a bald Barbie, just like a Caucasian child might benefit from playing with a non-white doll.

In any case, this trend makes one thing for certain: if you can think of it, there's likely a doll for that. 

Watch the video below about the Facebook campaign for a non-limited addition bald Barbie.

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