My New Ken Doll Ideas for Mattel

Barbie's erstwhile, if anatomically challenged, companion Kenneth (Ken) Carson is finally getting a makeover. After Barbie has been redesigned and reimagined dozens of times over the last 58 years, Mattel has released 15 different variations of Ken, in all shapes, sizes, and looks.

Ken will come in three different body types, seven different skin tones, and nine different hair styles, including a man bun and corn rows.

As you would expect, there are already thousands of jokes on social media, especially about Man-Bun Ken Doll, including a couple favorites: "(He) interrupted me to tell me Bernie would have won" and "I'm already tired of hearing about his study abroad to Amsterdam where he just 'fell in love with the culture.'"

Except the Ken dolls don't have cool names, only different styles. There's no "Documentary Filmmaker Ken" or "Snotty Barista Ken." I think Mattel missed a golden opportunity to capture some of our quintessential American archetypes. These are a few of the Ken dolls I would have created.

Urban Lumberjack Ken: Dressed in jeans, heavy boots, and a cozy flannel shirt, and sporting an unseasonably thick beard, Urban Lumberjack Ken looks like he's ready to pick up an axe and chop down the nearest trees, if there were any around. His Twitter bio says he loves craft beer, cold-brewed coffee, and hiking in the outdoors, although he hasn't been on a hike since he was 16. Even then, it was a state park with paved walking paths.

You'll marvel at how baby-soft Urban Lumberjack Ken's palms are. You can even help them stay that way with Ken's callus remover and organic non-scented lotion. Don't forget his never-used antique axe accessory.

Youth Pastor Ken: A dynamic and charismatic leader of a youth group at a suburban non-denominational church. Youth Pastor Ken comes with jeans, untucked v-neck t-shirt, a suit vest, and a fedora. He also sports several Christ-related tattoos, including a "He's In Here" with an arrow pointing to his heart.

And don't forget Youth Pastor Ken's sporty vehicle, a Jeep Wrangler 4x4 with the top down. Press the steering wheel, and you'll hear a random selection of Skillet and Nickelback songs.

Finally, add Youth Pastor Ken's Wife Julie to your collection for that extra drama whenever teenage Barbie's around. Youth Pastor Ken's Wife Julie includes a look of pained understanding at realizing she's married to a 28-year-old man-child.

Frat Boy Dude Bro Ken: This Ken doll figures it's his job to catcall Barbie and make her feel uncomfortable whenever she passes in her convertible or on her bike. This broski with the brewskie could be one of Mattel's great mysteries: Is Frat Boy Dude Bro Ken in college, or did he graduate 10 years ago? Should he be putting the moves on on College Freshman Barbie, or is he a whole teenager older than her? Prolong his secret with a tube of Ken's Crow's-Feet Concealer, secretly shipped to your house in a plain brown box.

Frat Boy Dude Bro Ken is fully posable into 12 different manspreading poses. He can also mansplain about any subject matter to a woman, especially if that's her career or field of study.

You can even have him duke it out with his more enlightened rivals, Stay Woke Ken and Slam Poet Ken. Warning, do not leave Frat Boy Dude Bro Ken alone with Barbie's drink while she goes to the ladies' room.

Gym Rat Ken: Gym Rat Ken sure is buff! We're not sure what he does for a living, because it seems like we always find him pumping iron in the gym or flexing and posing in the mirror. With just a baggy pair of gym shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt that's ripped from armpit to waist, Gym Rat Ken is in peak physical condition even though he can't fully put his arms down at his side.

Gym Rat Ken comes complete with tribal tattoo on his right bicep, a 2-pound bucket of muscle bulk powder, and an unlabeled tube of "special muscle cream" Comically huge dumbbell set sold separately. Gym Rat Ken can also double as Frat Boy Dude Bro Ken just by putting on his favorite Big 10 University baseball cap on backwards.

Startup Entrepreneur Ken: New Ken is all about new careers. Rather than working a typical 9-to-5 like the other toys, Startup Entrepreneur Ken wants to be his own boss, pave his own way, and make his own fortune.

Help Ken live his passion with the Startup Entrepreneur Ken's co-working space expansion pack, complete with his very own standing desk, giant Starbucks coffee cup, and laptop computer covered with stickers from tech conferences and music festivals he's never actually been to.

Startup Entrepreneur Ken even has his own mobile app, the Marketing-to-English Translation Dictionary. With one touch, you can convert the random phrases Ken uses, like "full marketing stack" and "frictionless onboarding strategies" into proper English that real people use.

And finally, there's my own personal favorite, Suburban Barbershop Ken, who's there to clip off Man-Bun Ken's man bun once he finally realizes he's a grownup. Which won't be for another 20 years.

Photo credit: Mattel (Used with permission, Mattel Newsroom)

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