Sunday, 6 September 2015

What About Ken?

Photo © Dina GoldsteinIn the Dollhouse

                  Twenty to thirty years ago I had a glorious collection of Barbie dolls, with a not half shabby assortment of clothes that I could change them into. I also had a Ken doll. Now you might think that being surrounded by all those Barbies would go to Ken’s head. Already you're probably picturing a plastic, polyester pink harem. Thankfully though this was further from the truth. In my bedroom, Barbie ruled supreme. She was an Amazon. She was the female Indianna Jones [before we had Lara Croft].

                  On the flipside, there was Ken. Poor Ken didn't have another pal to kick around with, unless you counted my heavy weighted, mustached cloth bedtime buddy [who, by the way, filled in as Barbie's boyfriend before Ken came along]. And as if he lived in a Dickenson universe Ken only had two outfits - the onesie suit he came in and the leisure outfit my parents later bought, when they too took pity on the little guy.

                  Moving forward to the present day, my daughters too have a glorious collection of Barbie dolls. Spectacularly, they come in a wide variety of skin tones and hair colour [finally!]. The dolls have a huge assortment of clothes, which to my mind, aren't made to last [hmmm], but never mind that. And what about Ken?

                  Ken - the illustrious loner in Barbieverse. The girls have two Ken dolls - a blonde and a brunette. It's like seeing Elvis playing two roles in that film Kissing Cousins. Now that Ken has Ken to kick around with, and talk about important guy issues, things should be looking up for him. But here's the thing, Ken1 was bought from a commercial shop - he's got clothes! Ken2 was found in all his beautiful, naked, glory at a second’s market. The result being there is always a naked Ken at any one time. The only way around that is if the girls dress Ken in drag, and let me just say, the only reason that doesn't work is because Barbie's clothes can't stretch that far.

                  The logical solution, you'd think, is to go back to the shop. There are plenty of Barbie accessories you can choose from - car, house, horse, sisters, skimpy party clothes, and high heels. So surely there'd be something for Ken, since they are offering him in board shorts for about $10. So I looked, and I looked. And you know what I found? Nada. Zilch. There are no Ken clothes. Can you believe it?

                  Now I thought to myself maybe this is a 'chain store buyer' issue. Maybe the supplier has their own line of modern, cool, relaxed, awesomeness that could be bought directly from them. So a couple of online hits later, I am shocked to discover that even the supplier doesn't bother designing extra accessories for Ken. Poor board short Ken! How will he get through the winter?

                  The only real solution to this first world doll problem is to make the clothes myself. Or find independent doll clothes makers online - people who have realized there is money to be made for clothing a million semi-clad Ken dolls.

                  If anyone from Mattel is reading this, please pass the message along. Ken's a simply guy, he doesn't say much, so I'm speaking on his behalf. Can you pretty, please with a cherry on top give board short Ken a suitcase with a couple of day’s change of clothes? He’d really appreciate that.

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