Children & Young People

When I watched the new ‘Barbie’ film in the cinema, not only did it get me thinking about the female bonds and friendships I have in my everyday life, but it also sparked a thought about the bonds I have made due to my alopecia. Without alopecia, I might never have met some of my closest friends, and some of the most incredible people I know.

I feel inspired by other people living with alopecia, day in and day out, on social media and on a more personal level. If it wasn’t for the supportive women in my life, I might never have built up the I courage needed to stop wearing my wig as quickly as I did. For that, I am grateful to alopecia.

As a community, our idea of ‘girlhood’ might look a little different to someone without hair loss, but that doesn’t always have to be a negative. Although we may never have had the experience of playing ‘hairdressers’ or trying out the newest hair-related trend, our ‘girlhood’ has a different factor: resilience. Losing your hair is a life-altering event, no matter how little or insignificant it may seem to somebody who hasn’t had to go through it.

Personally, I think that having alopecia and being part of the AUK community is the biggest part of my ‘girlhood’. Even though most of the time I would like to separate myself from my hair loss and live by the somewhat overused quote, “You are not your alopecia” (guilty!), I can’t deny that losing my hair has played such a colossal part in the person I am today.

I do believe that some of the best moments in my life have been a consequence of having alopecia. Whether that be the trips to Alton Towers with AUK, or being part of the Youth Voice Board, alopecia has played such an enormous role in my ‘girlhood’. I think that it’s okay to embrace that. 

As is portrayed in ‘Barbie’, women can be anything. Women can do anything. Having alopecia shouldn’t stop us from being or doing anything either.

Whilst she may not have been featured in the new film, Bald Barbie is definitely in Barbieland somewhere doing her thing. So why can’t we be in the real world, bald, and doing our own things? It would have been nice to see Bald Barbie on the big screen, but I don’t think that we should shy away from the fact that she is now available to buy in shops -along with other Visible Difference Barbies. The fact that you can be in a toy shop, or even the toy aisle of your local supermarket, and see a bald Barbie on the shelves is an undeniably impactful step forward for diversity. This is bound to make a difference to the lives of young children living with alopecia and other visible differences.

NB - a shout out to all the Bald Kens out there too - you were not forgotten as I wrote this. You are Kenough.