Monday, November 9, 2009

GSA Monday Topic: Mattel's newest doll is "Sugar Daddy Ken!"

So it turns out that Barbie, the iconic toy, has a new Palm Beach edition coming OUT (get it?) and among them is her friend Ken. Sugar Daddy Ken. Here he is, in his
"dashing jacquard-patterned jacket with a light pink polo shirt and crisp white pants."

Okay, technically, Mattel has called the new doll "Sugar's Daddy Ken" (Sugar being, I suppose, the dog.)

The doll is sold for $81.99 which means it's pretty much for collectors. And while I have to admit that it's pretty GAY GAY GAY, it does make me think.

Why not? Why shouldn't there be the "Gay" Ken doll? Just like kids have always been able to pretend that their leather jacketed, two-toned hair Ken and their muscle-bound G.I. Joe doll were having a Happily-Ever-After romance, I suppose kids could pretend that Sugar's Daddy Ken is... um... a meterosexual. A very swankily dressed, tanned straight guy, in love with Barbie. Not with her wardrobe. Or with her hair. With Barbie.

Yeah. Sure.

While it's fun to come up with ideas for what the next Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender and Queer Ken and Barbie dolls might be, (Dykes On Bikes Barbie, anyone?) I wonder if these kinds of iconic pieces of plastic reinforce stereotypes that we might be better off without.

At least Sugar's Daddy Ken doesn't have custom bendable wrists.

Does being "included" in this way - as an iconic child's toy that screams "GAY!" - move us forward, or backwards? What do you think?



Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

BizBoyz left this comment, that I've altered slightly with *** marks:

Posted by BizBoyz at November 9, 2009 2:15 PM

Good or bad stuff like this moves us all 'gayly' forward. I'll be saving my money until they come out with GI Joe's fox hole f*** buddy Phil :)


BizBoyz, I don't want to censor anyone, but I am trying to keep this blog a safe space for Teens, and for all of us. Part of that is being careful with how language is used in the posts and in the comments.

I struggled with this, because you're not using the "f-bomb" in an offensive way.

I hope you understand, and if you'd prefer I delete your comment entirely, I will. But I think your comment is really funny, and I hope you'll let it stand with the "f-bomb" signified rather than spelled out.


Sara W.E. said...

Wow. I'm not sure. I mean I'm not very pro-Barbie in the first place, since I don't love that fact that the roll model we give our girls is a woman with a body that is virtually impossible and certainly unhealthy.

Does this newest manifestation of Ken simply do the same thing? Present the world in the artificial plastic look our society expects?

Then again, as woman's roles in society have changed, those changes have been reflected in Barbie. She's become a doctor, an Air Force jet pilot, and a presidential candidate. So maybe this new Ken is exactly that. Not moving progress backwards or forwards, but simply reflecting that society as publicly acknowledged (and accepted?) that gay men (at least stereotypical ones) exist.

Tobias said...

Am I the only one who remembers a Ken doll with nipple rings in the 70s or 80s? Earring Magic Ken with a purple mesh shirt, blond highlights, leather trousers, and a necklace that could be taken as...something else was done back in the early 90s. Mattel has done the "closeted, but oh so obvious" Ken doll before. They just also insist on adding disclaimers that he's still with Barbie.

Even with this doll, they have made it perfectly clear that Ken is not gay. He's a bad stereotype of rich men who drape women on their arms like accessories. It'd almost be better if they released Crystal Club Kid Ken.