The nation’s largest toymaker Mattel announced on Tuesday that they will be producing new versions of Ken — Barbie’s lifelong companion — and these new Kens will have a slightly different look. The new models come in two different body types dubbed “slim” and “broad.” Mattel will also diversify Ken’s look with six new molded hairstyles (including cornrows and an on-trend man bun) as well as a total of seven skin tones.
While “broad” Ken will not have a full-on belly, he does have a thicker build with particular emphasis on the chest and wrists. “Slim” Ken will be smaller in the same areas.
These changes come after body inclusivity activists shared their concerns after Mattel introduced three different body types for the female Barbies last year — tall, curvy, and petite. Mattel even included a Barbie version of curvy supermodel Ashley Graham (featuring cellulite and no thigh-gap, as requested by Graham), but nothing to diversify the looks of Barbie’s male counterpart.
“By continuing to expand our product line, we are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation,” Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager for Barbie, said in a statement. “Evolving Ken was a natural evolution for the brand and allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie’s world.”
In addition to the changes in Barbie and Ken’s body types, the switch makes business sense for the brand. Since introducing the different body types for the dolls in 2016, Mattel saw a 7 percent boost in sales. Let’s see how the dad-bods do.
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