Genuine Ken—The Great American Boyfriend?

October 1, 2010

If we were to hold a competition for the most ridiculous competition ever, Genuine Ken would take the gold. In a contest hosted by, men can nominate themselves, or women can nominate a man they know, to be voted “The Great American Boyfriend,” based on how similar the man is to a Ken doll of Barbie-and-Ken fame.

There are oh-so many things I can say about this. The first that comes to mind is that it would take approximately 3.4 seconds for someone to call this competition misogynistic if they were looking for Genuine Barbie, The Great American Girlfriend. But nobody seems to be making a fuss. And the guys nominated apparently do have to be something akin to perfect—at least on the surface. They are judged on “date-ability,” personal style, personality, general hotness and overall KEN-ability.”

At the Genuine Ken Web site, visitors can vote simply (thumbs up or thumbs down) based only on a man’s picture or by rating him on a one-to-five scale in five categories: hotness, personality, style, “date-ability” and hair. Which means, yes, three of the five criteria are based entirely on looks. So does that mean that three-fifths of what it takes to be “The Great American Boyfriend” is just being attractive? Call me old-fashioned, but maybe other qualities, like intelligence, honesty or kindness should come into play?

And maybe it’s just innocent fun—a guilty pleasure, like watching reality TV. But judging men based on the ideal of a doll seems like we may be getting a little shallower than we ought to be.

—Taylor McCabe, 18, Contributor

Posted In: Your Body
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