Friday, June 23, 2017

Ken: He's Just an American Guy



The artifact historically known as Ken — a template for male American imagery for generations — has always been something of a moving target. From his early days as a miniature stand-in for the ideal guy next door in the parallel dollhouse America of 1961 (paired up with his girlfriend, female analog and fellow everyday archetype, the legendary Barbie), Ken would slowly, in some ways glacially, come to symbolize variations in the idea of the average American guy.

Down through the years, the variations on the theme of Ken were more cosmetic than anything else: different hairstyles, a flirtation with a beard; changes in the chisel and shape of the face; even a 2014 Ken with Italianate features, a shift from his Anglo-Saxonesque heritage (Gianfranco Ken was a limited-edition collectors’ item).

Now, Mattel, the El Segundo, Calif.-based manufacturer of the doll that’s been sold hundreds of millions of times in the United States and abroad, has performed a startling Ken remake, releasing a “new crew” line of Ken dolls whose personae span more of American race, ethnicity, culture and gym membership than ever before. ...

Read the rest at Geeks Media

Image credit: © 2017 Mattel. Geeks logo: © 2017 Jerrick Ventures LLC.

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