There Are More Important Things About The New Ken Dolls Than Their Hair

Yes, he’s got a man bun, but we’re overlooking diversity.

New Ken dolls

by Gemma Faithfull |
Published on

After winning the Doll of the Year award earlier this year for their diverse range of dolls, the Barbie brand is upping its game once again by adding new members to the family.

Mattel has updated Barbie dolls twice since 2015. Firstly, they added a new range of skin tones and hair textures, then they introduced three new body types. When these updates reached the public social media went crazy, praising Mattel for being an inclusive and diverse brand. So Barbie was brought into the 21st century to match the changing beauty ideals and the growing acceptance of diversity in society but everyone forgot about Ken.

Until now.

On Tuesday, Mattel announced that they would be expanding their ‘Fashionistas’ line by creating a new range of Ken dolls. In the official press release, Lisa McKnight, Barbie’s Senior Vice President and General Manager comments on their expansion as them 'redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation.'


For most of us that grew up with Barbies, the new additions and buzz around the dolls give us a great sense of nostalgia for our childhood. Whereas, whilst we were stuck with a limited choice, children now have their pick from dolls that better represent the population.

This new range consists of 15 ‘new and diverse’ dolls, but if you were just looking at social media then you would have only seen the one. Man bun ken.

Whilst news outlets have been covering all the new features, social media has been side-tracked by Ken’s hipster do. Twitter has been going mental over the new hairstyle, churning out countless memes with funny captions. Youtubers, journalists, actors and other Influencers with a great social media presence have all chipped into the discussion as #kendoll trended worldwide. Some love the new hair, and some REALLY hate it. And I mean really.

We feel your pain manbun Ken. #thestruggleisreal #avoislife

Whilst I must admit I have found the memes, and even the hairstyle itself, amusing, I can’t help but think we’ve neglected what’s really important. All this focus on the manbun has detracted any and all attention from the updates in skin tone and physical builds. Mattel have created 7 varieties of skin tones which are now available in three body types: broad, slim, and original, but this has all been overshadowed a little, which is a shame, because a rework of the Ken Doll was long overdue and is worth talking about.

I know we all love a manbun and a meme, but things like equal racial representation and body diversity are a little worth talking about…

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Follow Gemma on Twitter @gemmafaithfull

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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