• April 13, 2024

Kens Discuss Barbie Memes 2023

Real-life Kens claimed growing up with the name “Ken” offers benefits. “As a teen, I sometimes had girls flirtatiously offer to be Barbie to my Ken, and how do you not love that?” one Ken told HuffPost.

Kens live in strange times.

Ken, Barbie’s longtime boy toy, has become the subject of internet jokes since “Barbie” cast images were released.

Margot Robbie, who portrays Barbie, and Ryan Gosling, who plays Ken, appeared in several official posters earlier this month. (Barbie fans noted that Gosling’s persona resembles “Earring Magic Ken,” a 1993 doll that became an unintended homosexual legend.)

Robbie’s poster states, “Barbie is everything.”

“He’s just Ken,” reads Gosling’s poster.

The movie’s other Barbies and Kens got posters. (See slides above.)

While the movie posters say the other Barbies are doctors, diplomats, and Supreme Court justices, the other Kens are just Kens.

The internet turned the ad campaign into a meme by captioning photos of Princess Diana and (now) King Charles, Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, Katniss and Gale in “Hunger Games,” and Meredith and Derek in “Grey’s Anatomy” with “she’s everything, he’s just Ken.”

Gosling’s self-seriousness as the Mattel doll is as amusing as the movie posters.

At CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Gosling said he initially doubted he had the right “Ken-ergy” for the “Barbie” movie.

I knew Ken from afar. “I didn’t know Ken from within, and if I’m being honest, I doubted my Ken-ergy,” Gosling told the Warner Bros. Pictures audience.

“Margot and Greta conjured this out of me somehow,” Gosling stated. “I was living my life and then one day I was bleaching my hair, shaving my legs, wearing bespoke neon outfits and rollerblading down Venice Beach.”

“Light scarlet fever,” the star joked. “Then I woke up and was like, ‘Why is there fake tanner in my sheets? What occurred?

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie promote “Barbie” onstage at Warner Bros. Pictures Studio’s CinemaCon presentation.

We checked in on Kens after Barbie’s boo scandal. How does it feel to be a punchline? Growing up with the same name as a man with hairless, beautiful plastic pecs and seemingly no career or ambition other than “professional plus-one”?

Quebec digital marketing consultant Ken Dobell, 53, loves Barbie memes.

“I find they’re mostly themed around calling out and parodying the outdated social mores that characterized the Barbie dolls of the ’70s, ‘80s, and ’90s,” he told HuffPost.

Dobell like being called Ken, especially as a child.

“As a teen, girls flirtatiously offered to be Barbie to my Ken, and how do you not love that?” he remarked. I would joke about being an anatomically accurate, fully functional action figure with batteries.

Now that he’s older, he doesn’t mind being compared to the doll or the toned, tan Gosling.

“Now that I’m middle-aged, any suggestion about being good for physical and psychological company is more than welcome,” Dobell joked.

In June 2022, Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling film ‘Barbie’ scenes in Venice, California.

Most Kens thought their birth name, Kenneth, felt too stuffy growing up.

“I don’t smoke a pipe or have enough higher education degrees to be referred to as Kenneth officially,” said 42-year-old Massachusetts comic Ken Reid, who runs the TV Guidance Counselor podcast.

He’s thrilled Gosling is representing Ken accurately.

Reid remarked, “For years, the doll meant we were accused of being genital-free monsters, but I cannot think of a better, more redemptive representation of Ken-dom than Ryan Gosling.

“For years, famous Kens were ashamed to use the doll version of their name, Kenneth Branagh, Kenny Rogers,” he said.

Ken Reid, a 42-year-old comedian from Massachusetts; Ken W., a 31-year-old from Georgia; and Ken Dobell, a 53-year-old Canadian digital marketing strategist.

Kenneth Fisher, a 53-year-old programmer, has used “Ken” and “Kenneth” interchangeably and “Kenny” as a child. (In the late ’90s, he also had to suffer “they killed Kenny!” jokes.)

He dated Barbara. Barbara Millicent Roberts (Barbie)

“We both agreed it was too weird and never did it again,” he added.

Ken trivia abounds.

“Over the years, I think I was probably more aware of Barbies in general than someone my age and gender would normally have been, but mostly because I thought it was hilarious and always made a point of making jokes about it,” Fisher said.

FYI: Ken and Barbie were named after the inventor’s children? “Ken and Barbie are siblings,” he continued.

Fisher is “just the Ken” in his 25-year marriage.

“My wife and I always said she’s management and I’m labor,” he remarked. “She makes decisions and plans—also mutually agreed upon—and I help implement them. It’s always worked for us.”

Ken the doll was born three years after Barbie on March 9, 1959.

Ken arrived “wearing red swim trunks and the barest hint of a smile… He became Barbie’s supportive boyfriend, ready to accompany her anywhere from the beach to black-tie balls,” according to Mattel. Supportive S.O.

Original 1961 This studio portrait shows Ken doll in a bathing suit and towel.

Georgia-based 31-year-old Ken W. He’s ambivalent about Ken-attention.

“I got territorial over my first name,” he remarked. “It sucks that my first name is getting used as shorthand for ‘boyfriend who sucks,’ but if the meme teaches other dudes to suck less, then that’s a fall I’ll take for the team.”

It’s a funny time to be a Ken, but it’s a great moment to have an ex named Ken.

Ask 29-year-old Californian Shanti Clayton, who dated Ken for years.

“The ‘he’s just Ken’ movie posters are hilarious because they’re true! “Barbie and her friends were our focus—the man was optional,” she remarked. “My ex was just there, but I was super ambitious and goal-driven.”

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