Man Bun Ken and his 14 new pals in Barbie's Fashionista line. Photo: Mattel
Man Bun Ken and his 14 new pals in Barbie's Fashionista line. Photo: Mattel

Barbie’s main squeeze Ken got a makeover, and some people are urging him to re-examine his life choices.

 

Reactions to makeovers are usually mixed, but Barbie maker Mattel really raised some eyebrows when it unveiled 15 new Fashionista Ken dolls. While Barbie — who underwent her own makeover last year — only got some fashion updates, Ken underwent some some major changes. 

 

Let’s shout out Barbie first, who is looking very of the moment (this is just one of 25 new outfits):

 

The Ken changes, meanwhile, are getting a bit of side-eye.

 

On the positive side, Ken now comes in slim and broad body types in addition to his traditional superhero pecs, as well as seven skin tones, nine hairstyles and “modern fashion looks.” It’s the first significant update in Ken’s aesthetic, barring some questionable trends, since his 1961 creation.

"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, senior vice president and general manager of Barbie.

We’re digging the feminist twist of shucking the corporate sugar daddy vibe Ken has always given off to be more of a fun-loving partner on adventures with Barbie. 

And while the new body types should’ve been a moment of male body positivity that built on 2015’s dad bod trend, the internet has been all about the new hair. Specifically, the dubious choice of the “trendy man bun,” in Mattel’s words (cornrows, a short natural black hairstyle and a front-swooping blond coif didn’t generate nearly the same attention.)

Mattel even gave him his own hashtag, #ManBunKen. The internet Had Thoughts (and shared what sounds like thinly veiled Tinder date disasters with man buns):

Easy with the heteronormativity, though.

And while Ken's certainly come a long way, we're not at full representation yet.