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  • Dylan Tang

Reality Ken / 現實肯尼 (English ver.)

Meet my boyfriend Ken, we live in a pretty pink house and I have 150 jobs on my resume, but there's something you don't know about Ken which is the fact he is a smoker, turns violent and has a shit attitude, my dream house was where we were meant to live our perfect lives but shit happens and reality hits in.

The image shows a man who is meant to have an interest in fashion and personal grooming but portrays an average casual male, fashion conscious and unfazed by social culture, it would seem fitting for him to smoke, act violent and dismissive because in modern male culture men express their emotions through physical strength, this would be described as 'enjoying a good fight with the boys,' male social concepts would be drinking, smoking and little time spent dwelling on the important issues manifesting within themselves and others around them.

Meanwhile, Barbie grew to be the world's top doll and for 43 years Ken has been her dream house boyfriend, however Barbie's relationship with Ken shows signs of falling apart over the decades as his image has not grown or evolved so his principles have diminished, reality meets Ken in the feature Modern Life is Rubbish by TAIKER.

Society, culture and celebrity status makes Ken Carson behind with the times when it comes to bringing him up to speed with a new wardrobe and personality, loud, laddish masculinity, smoking, violence and poor attitude are the features of male youth today, but not all men consist of all these qualities.

Recently Ken is grappling with his sexuality and finds himself in a loveless relationship with male doll icons, he also struggles with his position in the household and faces his lack of authenticity. Rodrigo from Sao Paulo Brazil is a living breathing Ken Doll, a man who has had 42 operations to become perfect and his appearance resembles the toy doll created to be the male counterpart to Barbie, 'fantastically fashionable and accessorised' with Barbie.

Throughout the disputes in courts about the toys with aesthetics that are unrealistic in appearance there have been some changes, in recent years there has been modifications to ensure that Barbie represents a worthy female icon of equality, the difficulty I find is that nobody has asked about modifications to Ken.

Recent figures on male grooming, plastic surgery and celebrity culture could suggest that the Mattel male doll has a bigger role to play in cosmetic masculine image, many men in the media are being captured in impeccable grooming fashion but the reality is that the majority are smoking, being portrayed in a violent nature and dismissive, these attitudes are believed to be realistic associations for 'Dudes', 'Lads' and 'Guys' today.

Mattel toy doll introduced Ken Carson in 1961 to a growing American family and over the years the female conception has changed but the male image has not, so how does a doll construct modern tags when society is so comfortable with having ideas of perfection as an image so idealising?Male actor Bradley Cooper who is known for his performance in the Hangover movie portrays the Pennsylvania state heart throb, this is another example of a modern male icon since he smokes, becomes violent and is portrayed to have a shit attitude.

These concepts and portrayals are not fashionable, physically attractive or the attitude of prince charming, nonetheless still a beloved star much like TAIKER'S Reality Ken who is a similar Model.

WRITTEN by Kanndiss Riley (English ver.) & Dylan Tang (Mandarin ver.)





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