Barbie Debuts New Ken Dolls With Dad-Bods and Man-Buns

Mattel is introducing 15 new looks for the male doll, giving him different skin tones, body shapes and hair styles. Barbie received a similar overhaul more than a year ago.

Ken, the Barbie-adjacent man doll with no reproductive parts, is no longer just a vapid white surfer dude. Barbie's iconic boyfriend is now available in three body types - slim, broad and original - and seven different skin tones.

On Tuesday, Mattel unveiled a collection of diverse Ken dolls.

Matte expanded its Barbie offerings in January 2016 when it revealed the Fashionistas line, which includes Barbies of several different body types, heights, skin colors, and hairstyles. As the Los Angeles Times notes, however, Mattel's first-quarter sales dropped 15%.

Ken has been marketed as having some 40 occupations and modelling a range of the decades' fashions, including 1993's Magic Earring Ken.

"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", said Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager for Barbie. He wore red swim shorts and cork sandals.

The spokeswoman declined to say how much Mattel had spent on market research and manufacturing to launch the new Ken dolls.

In addition to the changes in Barbie and Ken's body types, the switch makes business sense for the brand.

  • Salvatore Jensen