YOU CAN'T really fault the Barbie doll manufacturer with its attempt to diversify its products.
Like many other companies, Mattel learned that diversity is good for business since its market is growing increasing diverse. The blond, unrealistic proportions of its original Barbie doll were damaging to many young girls' self-images, most of whom were not blond and none of whom could match the skinny waist and generous bosom of Barbie.
Mattel says the diversity movement in its doll products, the "Fashionistas" line — of which the new Ken doll is now a part — has seen double digit growth globally since its roll-out.
The first step, of course, was creating a bunch of new Barbie dolls reflecting the different races, ethnicities and a variety of more realistic body types.
Step two: Doing the same thing for the Ken doll, Barbie's boyfriend(s). There's the lineup: blacks, blonds, Latinos, a couple of blondes, short ones, tall ones and even one sporting a man-bun wearing a Hawaiian shirt (I can only surmise he's Polynesian.)
One question though. Where's the Asian version of Ken?
We're told he's this one:
Uh. Why does the Asian doll look so caucasian? Nothing against hapas, but if we're talking about diversifying the Ken line, why not really show the differences? Again, not disparaging mixed race Asians like Darren Criss, but wouldn't actors Steven Yeun or John Cho been better models for the "Asian" doll?
And why - oh, why - is the purported Asian version of the Ken doll the only one wearing horn-rimmed glasses?
"We are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation," Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager, Barbie, said in a press release. McKnight says the new Ken, "allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie's world."
|The new "Kens" - the gang's all here.|