Ken needs a penis

I’ve long suspected that Ken’s permanently affixed plastic underwear was the real deal breaker with Barbie. In my continuing perseveration with Barbie and Ken’s relationship problems comes this story (via Boing Boing) about Marina Bychokova, doll maker extraordinaire. In an interview with Pixelsurgeon, Marina explains:

The dolls are more anatomically correct than your average Barbie doll; why was it important to include detailed genitalia?

It’s compulsory. Most of the dolls, both, Fine Art and children’s dolls, though try to imitate human form, are sterilized through a complete removal of sex organs. It’s as if they need to be cleansed of all their sinful humanity. I find this deliberate denial of the essence of life to be ignorant and appalling. I don’t know why there is so much fear and shame associated with human sexuality. Every Barbie needs to have a vagina. Every Ken needs a penis. I think it’s time the dolls leave the realm of tea parties and innocence and address some important issues.

Each of her exquisitely designed dolls requires 150 to 350 hours of labor, depending on the costume. I’ve always been in awe of artisan doll makers starting with Susanna Oroyan -who doesn’t have a website (!). Here’s a list of like artists.

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  1. Miracle says:

    Every Barbie needs to have a vagina. Every Ken needs a penis.

    While I agree with her sentiment, I wouldn’t purchase an anatomically correct doll for my children. As an adult, if I were a collector, I probably would. I just think it introduces an element that is unnecessary at a young age, especially considering we already live in a hyper-sexual environment. While I can agree with her theory, in this day and age, with real children (you know, like my children), it’s just not worth introducing that element to stay true to an ideal.

  2. Jess says:

    I’m not sure that a penis on Ken is a good idea either. The main reason being that it would probably be fragile and break off easy and cause childhood trauma, LOL.

  3. Kathleen says:

    Miracle, these are not children’s toys, lol. These are art dolls and they are beautiful, show pieces. You’d keep them under lock and key if you had kids nearby! You should go see the photos. These are very expensive collector’s items. Marina is an artist, not a toy maker.

  4. Miracle says:

    Miracle, these are not children’s toys, lol. These are art dolls and they are beautiful, show pieces. You’d keep them under lock and key if you had kids nearby! You should go see the photos. These are very expensive collector’s items. Marina is an artist, not a toy maker.

    Oh, I realize that. I actually looked at her gallery for a long time and I admire her work. I was responding to the notion that Barbie and Ken should be anatomically correct.

  5. duane says:

    i believe that the dolls shouldld be anatomically correct. genitals are nothing to be ashamed of, we all have them. and no one said that ken had to have an erect penis. if a penis is added, it can be flacid, and melted on to the crotch.

  6. Barbie says:

    ok yes my name is really barbie and i think that its an awsome idea because the human body is nothing to be ashamed of and your kids are gonna learn about it one way or another

  7. TheTruth says:

    Great idea! You’re right, the human body is nothing to be ashamed of. Kids need to know this stuff, so go ahead and modify Barbie and Ken’s genitals so they can have sex too! This is exactly what our kids need to learn about at an early age! No more Tea parties for dolls anymore, NOW they can have… (must I continue?)

    Good grief people… grow up.

  8. ken says:

    Yes – it would be nice if Ken had a penis. I know I like mine mighty well. However, that kind of detail is expensive to manufacture in a children’s toy.

  9. Joann says:

    I still don’t understand what all the hoopla is all about concerning anatomically correct dolls for children. Okay, I get that Barbie and Ken shouldn’t have genitals considering they are adult dolls that children play with and would look a bit pornographic. But why should we fuss so much over children playing with anatomically correct baby dolls, especially since the children see these parts all the time on their newborn siblings? Having an anatomically correct baby doll teaches children about gender identity and body identification, which allows them to appreciate and feel good about their bodies. If you left the genitals out, the child will only see them as a source of shame and evil and believe that their genitals are somehow not a part of them (it’s bad enough children can’t explore their own genitals without being slapped, punished, or made to feel dirty). Also, if your child is an only and has no newborn sibling to speak of, and he or she doesn’t have a whole lot of contact with real babies, an anatomically correct newborn baby doll can fill that gap for them by teaching the child everything they want to know about babies and why boy babies and girl babies look different. Sometimes books, videos, stories and library visits, and television programs about how babies are born aren’t enough to satisfy a child’s curiosity. Some children need more than that to really help them learn, so an anatomically correct newborn baby doll, with all of its lifelike wrinkles and newborn baby features, is a perfect way to encourage a child to explore through hands-on learning. And lastly, if your child is about to become a big brother or big sister to a set of twins, especially if they are one boy and one girl, anatomically correct newborn baby dolls will not only help your child learn the differences between male genitals and female genitals, but might also help him or her ease their feelings of jealousy over having a new sibling in the house by allowing them to imitate the way they see Mommy and Daddy care for the new little one(s). In other words, children learn to value male and female differences while exploring and learning about what newborn babies look like after they are born. After all, no real, live newborn baby is born without his or her genitals, so why should we be prudes and leave a lifelike newborn baby doll, which has a butt by the way, without its own genitals and deprive our children of a valuable lesson on how God formed the human body? The way I look at it is, if God was ashamed of our genitals, He wouldn’t have given us any and would therefore have to create a different way for us to make babies. So, why pass this shame onto our own children? We cannot shield them from everything!

  10. Delfie says:

    Listen, when I was a little girl (like, 5 or 6), my mother brought me to art museums and tried to culture me early on. When I saw all of the naked statues and art I asked her “Mommy, why is everyone naked here?” and she replied “Because bodies are beautiful”
    I believed her, and I still do. Thinking that way got me through what would be akward outfit changes at theater shows, and gym classes.

    Barbies should be the same way.
    Maybe not super anatomically correct, but at least a little bit more. Maybe indents, not holes” for Barbie, and some more….”junk” for Ken.
    Bodies are beautiful, and we might as well begin to teach our kids that early on.

  11. Joann says:

    I totally agree with Delfie. Bodies are beautiful simply because God created them, and in my own personal opinion, there is nothing sexual about little children playing with anatomically correct dolls. So, should Barbie have a vagina and Ken a penis? I don’t know. It might look pornographic on adult dolls that children play with. But then again, as Delfie explained, sometimes children are exposed to anatomically correct adult statues in museums and other places, which is no different. I mean, look at the statue of David, for instance. How many children see that on a daily bases, and do their parents try to shield them from it just because it has a penis? Some might, some might not. But the point is, as I’ve mentioned in my above Post, if you shield your children from genitals, no matter whether they be on a Barbie and Ken doll or a baby doll, your children will see genitals as a source of shame, disgust, and embarrassment, and might also believe that their own genitals and those of others are somehow not a part of them. Remember, if God was ashamed of our bodies and our genitals, He wouldn’t have made us the way we are. Having genitals would have been a sin, and God would probably punish us just for being born with them. By the way, how come no one says anything about dolls having butts?

  12. EZ says:

    Since they built a “Growing Up Skipper” doll with boobs that grew, think what they could do for Ken. Then there could be a Mommy Barbie. The collectors would love it.

  13. Karla says:

    Hi, All,

    This discussion started a very long time ago, but there still has not been anyone I noticed (Did I oversee somebody? Sorry.) who mentioned what always – from the time of my childhood in the 1960s – bothered me about Ken, and that was that he had nothing. At least in the mid-60s, this was the case: A little nether bulge suggestive of nothing. So in order not to be slightly traumatized, I just ignored Ken. Who needs a boyfriend who is not normally equipped? Not my Barbie!

    I don’t want to insult real people who might be born without genitalia (maybe that happens, too) or lose body parts in wars or to sickness, but I found Ken looked like am amputee, and that scared me as a child. So the organs could be arbitrarily cut off?

    That was not a nice thought for me as a child! A harmless penis would have caused much less upset in my little girl world.

  14. Mimi says:

    The hypersexualization of children today can be attributed to some degree to Barbie herself. While she does not have an explicit vagina, anus or nipples, her secondary sex characteristics are completely fetishized: huge breasts, tiny hips and skinny legs ending with feet on tiptoe. Furthermore, she was originally a ripoff of a German ‘adult’ toy. Read the story of Mattel in a book called “Toy Monster”.

    What causes children to feel shame, and for that shame to be manipulated by unscrupulous adults, is not the genitals. The conflict comes from being taught that they are ‘dirty’ and simultaneously that sexuality is social power. Kids want to grow up quickly because they lack control and feel dismissed; like those who neglect their studies in favor of sports, many find themselves in unhealthy sexual situations because our culture reveres the Lady Gagas and Britney Spears far more than the Jessica Watsons and Amy Chyaos.

    In Scandinavia there are nude pictures and sexual articles in the daily paper, yet the age of first sexual activity is much older than the US and the rates of molestation are much lower. Unintended pregnancy is far rarer than it is here. Some things they don’t have there are children’s ‘beauty’ contests, skanky clothing for little girls and abstinence-only education. Families tend to be closer, especially during adolescence. A large part of this can be traced to kids not feeling conflicted and deceived by the people they should be able to trust most: Mom and Dad.

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