The original Barbie’s ridiculously unrealistic proportions have distorted the reality of what a woman’s body looks like, and endless commentary has been made about the famous doll’s appearance and how it affects self-esteem and body image. But Barbie’s beau Ken’s Adonis-like physique has received considerably less attention. Ken’s measurements, however, are equally ludicrous: a journal about eating disorders calculated that men would have to “increase 20 inches in height, 11 inches in the chest, and 7.9 inches in neck circumference” in order to look like Barbie’s super buff boyfriend. Hot on the heels of Barbie’s much-needed makeover, Ken, who was apparently designed to resemble the inventor of Barbie’s husband and was named after their son, has received an unauthorized update from a variety of internet sites. One of the most popular iterations, however, is “DadBod Ken,” which attempts to more realistically and humorously depict an aging Ken who appears to have missed more than a few sessions at the gym (although his signature blond hair is still perfectly coiffed). Throughout the iconic doll’s history, there has been debate that Barbie creates unrealistic body goals, and Barbie has also been held responsible for effecting girls’ future career choices. Ken’s impact on the girls and boys who play with him has been less studied — and a potential makeover would unarguably have less impact than Barbie’s recent one. But it’s worth reconsidering Ken’s current unattainable body and adding some diversity and a dose of reality to his depiction as well.
Lead DadBod Ken image via Will McFadden