Stunning news out of the toy world: Ken, the doll who was Barbie’s original blue-eyed chiseled boyfriend, is undergoing a huge makeover.
If, like me, you grew up with GI Joe action figures or your sister played with Barbie and Ken dolls, this is a major development.
(Notice, by the way, GI Joe was called an “action figure” while Barbie and Ken were “dolls.” No gender stereotyping here…)
The toy maker Mattel is introducing 15 new looks for Ken, including different skin tones, body shapes and hair styles, The Associated Press reported.
He’s going to be sold in three body shapes: “slim,” “broad” and “original.” He’ll have man buns (ick!), come in seven skin tones and sport new fashions, such as skinny ties, plaid shirts and graphic T-shirts.
No word on whether Mattel is going to update his manly bits and finally make him anatomically correct.
I am all for modernizing and updating a beloved franchise, but let’s be realistic here: Ken is 56 years old.
These upgrades are such a distortion and in no way reflect the accurate ways Ken really should be portrayed.
So, dear Mattel, let me propose to you a line of truer-to-life Ken dolls:
Low testosterone Ken: He is balding, paunchy and has a diminished sex drive.
Divorced Ken: Lives alone in a small apartment and looks for companionship on Tinder but soon realizes most of the women on this app are young enough to be his daughter.
Gym Rat Ken: He likes to wear his baseball cap backward and sport sleeveless T-shirts to show off his guns. But keeping that muscle mass means shooting up with steroids. (Syringes are an optional accessory.)
Too-Young-to-Retire-to-Old-to-Start-a-New-Career Ken: Comes with an empty savings account, 401(k) with too little in it and a stack of bills. Bottle of Maalox sold separately.
Extreme commuter Ken: This doll is perpetually pale because it never sees the sun. He leaves the house before dawn and returns home after sunset. Comes with bags under his eyes.
Midlife Crisis Ken: Includes a red sports car, huge alimony payments and a Barbie with breast implants who is 23 years younger than he is.
Clueless Ken: Thinks he is all that with his sunglasses and slicked back hair and earbuds plugged into his iPhone. In reality, he looks like a doofus trying to look cool.
Guilt-Ridden Ken: This model has stooped shoulders and a faraway look in his eyes. He feels he has not done enough for his kids and his mother is always complaining that he never calls.
Nostalgia Ken: Clings to the past, repeatedly tells stories of his high school escapades and only listens to music from the 80s. (His buddy, Baby Boomer Ken, is sold separately.)
Cranky Ken: When you press a button on his chest, he yells: “Hey you kids! Get off my lawn!”
Out-of-Work Ken: Comes with video consoles and streaming Netflix service to fill his days with meaning.
Gender-Questioning Ken: You would be too if you lacked any genitalia.