Newsweek: Ken Dolls(!) Are 'Too Lean, Muscular,' Damage Vulnerable Boys

My buddy David Steinberg at PJ Media sent me a link to an article on Newsweek -- I suppose he knows I don’t read Newsweek.

To my disappointment, the link worked.

Here was what I saw:

ken doll damaging body image

To save you the time Steinberg cost me (ed. note: Steinberg believes time spent exposing SJWs is never wasted), the article bemoans the fact that Barbie dolls are now culturally, ethnically, and anthropometrically diverse, but her lover Ken is still the same muscular white meathead he’s always been. This hideous inequity exposes males to unrealistically “idealized” body imagery, which then causes body dissatisfaction, with failure and disappointment hot on the heels of this potential psychological catastrophe. This is all according to Dr. Thomas Hildebrandt of the Eating and Weight Disorders Program at the Icahn School of Medicine in Manhattan.

Let’s first assume that lots of boys play with dolls, and that their entire childhood and subsequent adolescence and adulthood are colored by their experiences with dolls. If this is indeed the case, I submit that this phenomenon is localized in Manhattan, and perhaps in Southern California. This just isn’t an important part of the culture here in Texas. I realize that boys in Texas are probably considered the offspring of semi-sentient beasts by the doctors at Mount Sinai, but at least they don’t grow up with the kind of crippling psychological baggage that apparently burdens the male children of New York City.

Dr. Hildebrandt argues that these dolls are “increasingly lean and muscular,” and that boys who play with dolls are “developmentally unable” to determine that the exaggerated muscles on their dolls are unreal. He grants that unicorn dolls -- with a horn protruding from their little horsey-doll heads -- are identifiable as “unrealistic,” but that superhero dolls, like Ken, are confusing to “the vulnerable ones.”

It is difficult to express sufficient amazement here. As a newly minted 60-year-old, I find it, ah, odd that we have so much to worry about with respect to the mental health of the generation in question.

Has there been so dramatic an advancement in Doll Technology over the past few decades that dolls have transformed the minds of boys to this degree? I understand the concerns with modern electronic devices and children’s developmental processes, but we’re talking about Ken and G.I. Joe here. A psychiatrist at a prestigious medical school now thinks that muscular dolls will make our boys feel inadequate.

obama working out ken doll damaging

(pictured: non-threatening, developmentally safe male fitness model) 

And really, what does this guy have against muscle on men? He thinks a muscular, strong body is unrealistic and unattainable, and that the quest for this ideal leads to steroid use, eating disorders, and Chaos. He insists that boys suffering from the deluded goal of a muscular physique need treatment for this affliction, just as anyone clinging to traditional concepts of masculinity needs clinical help. “Muscle talk” is damaging to men, and society-at-large must address this problem.

I am ashamed of this man, and his attitude towards other men who have decided that getting stronger is neither unrealistic, unattainable, nor undesirable. Does he want estrogen added to the water supply? How does he propose to “help” men cope with the problem of wanting to be physically strong? Pilates? Yoga? Planet Fitness? Well, as he advises:

There needs to be a makeover with regard to toys and male dolls.

A makeover too?

Dr. Hildebrandt: perhaps you should go through the simple process of getting stronger yourself, so that the benefits we so often talk about can begin to accumulate. Then perhaps your befuddlement with growing up as a boy in Western society can clear, and you can begin to understand that there’s really nothing damaging -- or "unrealistic," or "unattainable" -- about masculine strength as a role model for a kid.

Dolls are seldom a problem for most boys, but guys like you in positions of authority certainly can be.