For years we’ve heard about the unrealistic body standards Barbie has set for young girls . . . but what about her boyfriend, Ken?
You know him — the chiselled jaw, the helmet hairstyle, the sort of outfit that your mum would pick out for you, all reinforcing the pie-in-the-sky beauty standards that have forced generations of men to aspire to look like the unholy lovechild of Mitt Romney and Justin Bieber.
Well, Mattel has given Ken a 2017 makeover by unveiling a diverse range of 15 ‘Fashionistas’ with different skin colours, body shapes, and hairdos. And yep, that includes the man bun.
‘The New Crew’ follows a similar overhaul of Barbie last year, coming in three sizes — slim, broad, and original (no word from Mattel HQ on whether a ‘Jonah Hill’ sized model is in the pipeline) — as well as seven different skin tones and eight hair colours.
Each Ken 2.0 comes with a different style, replacing the swimsuits and tuxedos we’re used to seeing him in. The revamped wardrobes include “Cactus Cooler,” “Camo Comeback,” “Preppy Check” and “Hyped on Stripes” — labels we can only assume mean something to kids these days.
But the man bun — as well as cornrows, a landmark for diversity in the children’s toy market — has stolen the headlines, giving Ken a certain Orlando Bloom/Khal Drogo/douchebag barista quality.
The internet has melted down with their descriptions the new Kens, from wannabe YouTube celebrities and ‘power bottoms’ to a gaggle of Tinder matches donning their finest ‘going out’ shirts. But the unveiling has been met in equal measure with positivity about the modern, diverse representation.
“By continuing to expand our product line, we are redefining what a Ken doll looks like to this generation,” said Barbie GM Lisa McKnight. “Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls and boys to further personalise the role they want him to play in Barbie’s world.”
You do you, Ken — we’ll see you on the shelf in September.