All about Kenneth Sean Carson's junk
November 2, 2019 4:41 PM   Subscribe

Ken was not merely dickless by default; the bulge was the result of careful strategizing to which his inventors, businessmen, a psychologist, and Japanese manufacturers all contributed. Despite all this planning, Ken still came to represent things his parent company never intended, as icons tend to do. The story of Ken’s crotch is not merely one of PR, manufacturing, and/or branding—it’s about which realities our culture deems acceptable, and which that it seeks to keep hidden. This goes not just for the doll, but for the man he was named after, Ken Handler, who died in 1994 with major parts of his life airbrushed out of public view. (Rich Juzwiak, Jezebel)
posted by Johnny Wallflower (14 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

It's Penis Month, right?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 4:42 PM on November 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

Shouldn't February be Penis Month? It's the one that feels the longest but is actually the shortest.
posted by hippybear at 5:10 PM on November 2, 2019 [55 favorites]

"Ken’s penislessness seemingly did not affect his bottom line." So Ken is not a top.
posted by namret at 5:11 PM on November 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

It's Penis Month, right?

Oh god I asked for this didn’t I. I have to learn not to bait you...
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 5:20 PM on November 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

Junk Month, surely.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:21 PM on November 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

As a kid, I had an unseemly obsession with seeing dicks, which creeped out the various adults who found it out. And yet I never wondered where Ken's was. Ken was Ken, the same way Barbie was Barbie. Their sexlessness wasn't weird to me. It was part of what was special about them, one of the things they didn't have to worry about. No pooping or peeing for them. Their bodies weren't any trouble.

I liked that. I was jealous of it. One thing I knew about real bodies was that they were trouble, that there were parts of me I wasn't allowed to touch or talk about and other parts that weren't supposed to constantly be causing the problems that they did. Barbies, Jems, cartoon characters--they didn't have those problems. I drew mermaids with just scale chests, no breasts. Breasts were problems.

Poor Ken Handler. I wonder if he ever thought about Christopher Robin Milne or Peter Llewelyn Davies. I wouldn't put a child's name on a character. I met a grown person in this situation once, and they were not nice to people who knew who they were.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:29 PM on November 2, 2019 [10 favorites]

I still have my Earring Magic Ken. These days I have to explain it to young people, even gay men. "See this? This is what we used to be. This is our legacy in pop culture. See the purple mesh top? The pleather jacket? This is us." The magic ring never needs explanation though.
posted by Nelson at 5:31 PM on November 2, 2019 [22 favorites]

Love this comment from the Jezebel thread: "Like Ken’s missing crotch, we too have a missing part. It hurts. The ache. We can still feel it there, like a limb. Splinter and Deadspin, rest in peace."

Also, how could the article not mention Gay Bob, which came out (phwoar!) many years before Earring Magic Ken?
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:07 PM on November 2, 2019 [3 favorites]

I assumed Ken had no genitals because Barbie had no genitals. If there's a story to explain Ken, is there a story to explain Barbie?
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:46 PM on November 2, 2019 [4 favorites]

Barbie was based on Bild Lilli. As Lilli was, so was Barbie. They did mold nipples for her at first, but were directed to file them off.
posted by 41swans at 9:18 PM on November 2, 2019 [8 favorites]

I assumed Ken had no genitals because Barbie had no genitals.

Exactly. None of my dolls had any genitals. There's no reason why Ken would be special in that regard. It seems like a thing that grownups would wonder about, not children. We never expected Ken to have a penis.
posted by Too-Ticky at 1:17 AM on November 3, 2019 [4 favorites]

PMJ's cover of Barbie Girl. which one is Ken?
posted by wmo at 7:42 AM on November 3, 2019

None of my dolls had any genitals.

Raggedy Anne had that weird heart condition, though.
posted by hippybear at 3:59 PM on November 3, 2019 [2 favorites]

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