The decision to give him some depth marks a new chapter for men, and dolls who are men. “We want to make sure Ken reflects a friendly view of the world,” says Shore.)One way to make Ken more of a real-live man, Mattel decided, is to put him through a dramatic physical transformation. Think of this strategy as the ice-cream-ization of Barbie.
From this day forward, Ken doesn’t always have to look like the most basic frat bro ever to get a B- in econ. And so, on the pink stiletto heels of last year’s announcement that Barbie would henceforth be available in taller, shorter, and, most sensationally, curvier versions, the company is adding two new Ken shapes to its roster and manufacturing them in a larger array of skin shades and hairstyles. There are an infinite number of flavors, but we refer to them all by the same general name; “ice cream” isn’t necessarily vanilla—and neither is Barbie’s boyfriend.
He’ll teach girls precisely how much taller than women men should be and (sort of) about the different ways men use the bathroom; Barbie’s Dreamhouse, a one-woman mega-mansion, features a single but quintessential nod to Ken’s existence: a toilet seat that lifts up.
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"By continuing to expand our product line, we are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation," said , Senior Vice President and General Manager, Barbie.
"Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie's world." The line includes 15 new Ken dolls with three body types, seven skin tones, eight hair colors, nine hairstyles and modernized fashions, ranging from casual business attire to athletic wear.
That’s because Ken is the carefully calibrated ideal complement to Barbie—a blank, smiling man who does not threaten the stardom of the most intelligent, talented, rappin’ rockin’ princess astronaut in all of Malibu.
Ken is “nice,” the members of the Barbie team will tell me over and over when I ask them to describe a doll’s personality: “a nice guy”; “a solid dude”; and, most damningly: “I picture him kind of Ryan Seacrest-y.”Well, not anymore. A Ken who is…“broad.”This branding is a radical attempt to alter kids’ psyches.