Ken, the iconic male doll in the Barbie universe, transforms 60 Thursday. The milestone birthday highlights how much the doll has adjusted in the years since that 1961 debut as Barbie"s beau, but the brand says there’s tho room for Ken to grow. 

Robert Best, senior designer because that Barbie, defines Ken and Barbie’s journeys as “an evolution," adding that component of Ken’s development has contained following Barbie’s strides in the locations of diversity and also inclusion. 

Just like Barbie, there room a range of Ken dolls that represent different ethnicities, body types and abilities.

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Best noted one the the many recent Kens, which functions the doll in a wheelchair, follows the success of a comparable Barbie, which to be the No. 2 marketing Fashionista doll critical year.

"(It) shows that representation is therefore important," he said. "So we’re excited to be able to do the very same thing v Ken." 


Currently top top the market, Ken dolls are obtainable in 4 body types, 18 sculpts, 13 skin tones, ripe eye colors and also 22 hair colors. Through Barbie included in, the brand boasts much more than 35 skin tones, 94 hairstyles and 9 body varieties on shelves today.

“I think that is component of our score – to it is in the many inclusive, most varied doll heat in the market, and really represent something for everyone,” ideal said. “People desire to see themselves in product, which is why gift inclusive and also diverse is so important."

He continued, "But we likewise leave enough open-ended, where you have the right to play the end your own stories, and you can uncover a doll that mirrors you or shows your taste.”

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From a architecture standpoint, best explained that impetus for a new Ken doll is “pulled from plenty of different things,” consisting of fashion runways, celebrities, pop society and art. This inspires every little thing from what the doll looks like to what he is wearing and what career or activity he can have. In today"s world, Ken isn"t simply a groom or surfer dude, but also a babysitter and man-bunned barista.

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On the website, part reviewers praised the babysitting Ken for "breaking stereotypes."

"I love that this contains a masculine babysitter. It’s nice to show youngsters that anyone deserve to be a babysitter," one reviewer composed in 2020. An additional wrote that it was "nice to check out a male babysitter represented."

“More and more, both Ken and also Barbie are reflections of society and the people that they inhabit,” ideal said.

In the future, finest predicts Ken will certainly "continue to push borders – and comparable to Barbie, be as inclusive as feasible to really reflect the civilization as it continues to evolve together well."


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Though less research has been done on Ken dolls specifically, research studies have presented that playing v Barbies with unrealistic body shapes deserve to negatively impact children"s body image. 

In a 2019 study, researchers listed that while Barbie"s newer "curvy," "tall" and "petite" dolls "are much more diverse than the initial doll, they continue to be unrepresentative of the diversity that female human body shapes."

Best states Ken is "making strides ~ above his own" yet that both Ken and Barbie are "definitely proceeding to evolve and grow."

On its page around the "power that representation," the website echoes this commitment come growth: "We"re not done yet."


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