Barbie and Ken—the blue-eyed, blonde-haired power couple. A classic American toy growing up, right? Well, Mattel, the makers of Barbie, are hoping to bring their iconic dolls to the next generation of kids. In an effort to appeal to a broader base of children and families, Mattel has rolled out a brand new Ken doll with a series of new skin tones, body types, and hair styles.
Recently, the toymaker showcased 15 new Ken dolls, which come with a "slim", "broad", or "original" body type. With seven new skin tones and nine hairstyles—including cornrows and the dreaded "manbun"—shoppers may find it easier than ever to find a doll that looks just like them. For young girls, the customizable Ken lets each person determine what kind of Ken will co-exist with Barbie.
"We are redefining what a Barbie or Ken doll looks like to this generation," Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager, Barbie, said in a press release. The updated Ken, "allows girls to further personalize the role they want him to play in Barbie's world."
The Ken doll innovation follow's Mattel's trend towards including more variety for shoppers. In 2016, they released a new Barbie doll that came in three different body sizes: tall, curvy, and petite. Those Barbie dolls also came with new hairstyles, eye colors, and skin tones.
The "Fashionista" line, which these new Barbies and Kens belong to, has witnessed "sales of the line see high double-digit growth globally," according to the press release. That said, overall the company has seen declines from $141 million in last year's quarter to $123 million in this year's quarter.
While Barbie has come under fire for spreading unrealistic body expectations for young girls, it's hard to find a woman who did not grow up playing with Barbies when she was younger. With Mattel set to make 25 new Barbies available to the public, we hope this growing trend of inclusivity teaches kids about self-love and body positivity.