When the new male bodies were released for Fashionista Ken dolls, I quickly grabbed one of each for review and comparison
One thing that bothered me at the time though was the 'original' body. I know sculpting can be deceptive, since the DC Super Hero Girls body is essentially a bigger Ever After High body with more muscle tone in the sculpt, but the original Ken doll was a tall skinny guy in reasonably good shape but not exactly muscle bound. I mean, what 16 year old boy is? Not many of the ones I went to school with! First comes height, which is why teenagers have that stretched, skinny look even with the same amount of body fat as an adult at the same height.
So anyway, it bothered me. The new girl bodies were supposed to be more body positive, and for the most part they were, as far as doll go. I could have renamed all the barbie bodies "My mom at 16, my aunt at 16, me at 16, and my BFF when I was 16" Idealized, sure, but pretty darn close.
But the boy bodies... well, even the 'husky' guy had abs, and the 'Original' guy, woah. I've never seen THAT in nature, that's for sure! Eventually I tracked down a vintage Allan doll (Ken's friend, on the same body as Ken) and put them side by side for measurements and comparison. Definitely NOT just a little more muscle definition in the sculpt!
They are about the same height at the shoulder, though Original Original (I'll call him "OO" from now on to make things less confusing) has a skinnier neck so his shoulder muscles join a little higher than the Fashionista Original (henceforth "FO"), which can make him look taller in the body from some angles. OO has a longer torso, with shorter legs and a natural waist at the same height as FO's hips.
No skimping on FO's back muscles either, yowza!
From all angles, FO is thicker and more muscular, except the waist. Greeeeeaaaat. I imagine the conversation going something like this:
"Let's make one of the new Kens be the modern ideal with ultra broad shoulders and a tiny waist and lots of muscles!"
"What a great idea! We'll sell billions!"
"Aren't the new bodies supposed to be about realistic body shapes and not messing up kids' self image?"
"SILENCE INTERN! YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT TOYS!"
"Yeah, we'll just get it by testing by calling it 'original' since the first ken was kind of skinny. It's not like anyone will check."
(Honestly, I didn't want to go buy a vintage doll just to check, but it's been over a year and I haven't seen anyone else check so I dragged my feet to Ebay and got a doll with 'slightly darker arms, otherwise excellent' doll that arrived with stains and scrapes all over for $30. Sigh.)
But I did, because I can't let the imaginary villains be right :P
OO's arm girth is 4cm. FO's is 5.25, or 31% bigger. OO's thigh girth is 7cm. FO's is 8cm, or 14% bigger. OO's waist is 11cm, while FO's is 10.25, or 7% smaller.
Damnit. I'm the first one to come to Barbie's defense when talking about her 'unrealistic' proportions, even on the original doll (the extra tiny waist was for bulky waistbands, and once dressed her proportions didn't seem nearly as unrealistic. Tiny hands and feet were tiny to not snag sleeves/stockings. It all makes sense when you remember she was a FASHION doll aka a mannequin, and just as realistic as the mannequins in department stores to this day.) but I don't see any reason for this. Not more realistic, not more body positive, not easier to dress.
Bad Mattel. Bad.