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Mattel

Diverse Ken Dolls Now Come in Different Body Types, Skin Colors

Mattel
Mattel

Ken dolls are getting a makeover for the modern era. The Huffington Post reports that Barbie’s other half will now be available in different body types, skin tones, hair colors, and styles.

The Barbie Fashionistas line—which added a more diverse range of Barbies in 2016—will now include Ken dolls that come in three body types (“slim,” “broad,” and “original”), seven skin tones, eight hair colors, and nine different hair styles (including a man-bun). Now, boys and girls can play with Barbies that look more like real people, who might sport cornrows, have a larger body, need glasses, or just be more inclined to wear flannel than the original Baywatch-bod Ken.

Four different Ken dolls advertised on the Barbie website
Barbie/Mattel

The update comes in the wake of competing toy companies debuting dolls with realistic body types and different skin colors. While Barbie is still an icon of the toy world, dolls (both male and female) like Lammily come in measurements that are based on average humans, without Barbie’s impossible proportions. Though the effect is not clear-cut, some studies have suggested that Barbie’s unrealistic looks could make girls less satisfied with their own bodies.

After years of getting flak for promoting gender stereotypes and insane beauty standards, Mattel has been trying to widen its appeal with moves like adding new skin tones and, in 2015, collaborating on an ad that showed a boy playing with Barbies for the first time.

If Barbie is getting a makeover to help her reflect how people look in real life, Ken can’t only come in one (clean-cut Caucasian beefcake) form. Even if that means we have to accept Man-Bun Ken.

[h/t The Huffington Post]

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presidents
George Washington’s Incredible Hair Routine

America's Founding Fathers had some truly defining locks, but we tend to think of those well-coiffed white curls—with their black ribbon hair ties and perfectly-managed frizz—as being wigs. Not so in the case of the main man himself, George Washington.

As Robert Krulwich reported at National Geographic, a 2010 biography on our first president—Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow—reveals that the man “never wore a wig.” In fact, his signature style was simply the result of an elaborately constructed coiffure that far surpasses most morning hair routines, and even some “fancy” hair routines.

The style Washington was sporting was actually a tough look for his day. In the late 18th century, such a hairdo would have been worn by military men.

While the hair itself was all real, the color was not. Washington’s true hue was a reddish brown color, which he powdered in a fashion that’s truly delightful to imagine. George would (likely) don a powdering robe, dip a puff made of silk strips into his powder of choice (there are a few options for what he might have used), bend his head over, and shake the puff out over his scalp in a big cloud.

To achieve the actual ‘do, Washington kept his hair long and would then pull it back into a tight braid or simply tie it at the back. This helped to showcase the forehead, which was very in vogue at the time. On occasion, he—or an attendant—would bunch the slack into a black silk bag at the nape of the neck, perhaps to help protect his clothing from the powder. Then he would fluff the hair on each side of his head to make “wings” and secure the look with pomade or good old natural oils.

To get a better sense of the play-by-play, check out the awesome illustrations by Wendy MacNaughton that accompany Krulwich’s post.

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"American Mall," Bloomberg
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fun
Unwinnable Video Game Challenges You to Keep a Shopping Mall in Business
"American Mall," Bloomberg
"American Mall," Bloomberg

Shopping malls, once the cultural hub of every suburb in America, have become a punchline in the e-commerce era. There are plenty of malls around today, but they tend to be money pits, considering the hundreds of "dead malls" haunting the landscape. Just how hard is it to keep a mall afloat in the current economy? American Mall, a new video game from Bloomberg, attempts to give an answer.

After choosing which tycoon character you want as your stand-in, you're thrown into a mall—rendered in 1980s-style graphics—already struggling to stay in business. The building is filled with rats and garbage you have to clean up if you want to keep shoppers happy. Every few seconds you're contacted by another store owner begging you to lower their rent, and you must either take the loss or risk them packing up for good. When stores are vacated, it's your job to fill them, but it turns out there aren't too many businesses interested in setting up shop in a dying mall.

You can try gimmicks like food trucks and indoor playgrounds to keep customers interested, but in the end your mall will bleed too much money to support itself. You can try playing the bleak game for yourself here—maybe it will put some of the retail casualties of the last decade into perspective.

[h/t Co.Design]

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