1993: Earring Magic Ken – aka – Gay Ken

earring magic ken gay ken

The Melbourne Age reported in 1993 that Barbie’s boyfriend: “has finally come out of the closet.” After surveys revealed girls found Ken somewhat dated, Mattel tried to make him ‘cool’. They succeeded so well that the doll officially called Earring Magic Ken was more popularly known as Gay Ken.

“The newest Ken Doll – Earring Magic Ken – is dressed in a purple nylon vest and sports an earring, necklace and two-tone hairdo.”

Yeah, OK! But really, The Age didn’t tell readers the half of it.

04 Oct 1993, Mon The Age (Melbourne, Victoria, Victoria, Australia) Newspapers.com

Earring Magic Ken

People joked about Ken being gay long before Mattel produced Earring Magic Ken. But the 1993 doll seemed determined to prove the joke right. Ken was more rave party boy-toy than your all-American macho man. He wore dance party uniform: pink mesh top, lavender vest, and blond streaks in his hair. And he sported an earring — in his LEFT EAR — believed by many to be the gay ear.

Cock Ring

But the deciding factor was the doll’s necklace. It looked 100% like a chrome cock ring.

The clamour around Gay Ken forced Mattel to issue a statement denying the doll’s same-sex attraction. A company spokesperson insisted Gay Ken was: “a fun, wholesome toy for young girls. The Ken doll was not intentionally designed for any audience other than our primary one, girls ages 3 to 10.”

‘Whatever…’ muttered customers everywhere as gay men flocked to toy stores to buy Gay Ken.

He became the best-selling Ken of all time despite only spending six months on the shelf.

Tomorrow, we’re staying in Barbie World because how could we not tell the story of Sugar Daddy Ken? No, we’re not making this up. Till tomorrow… 👋🏼

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‘Human Ken Doll’ opens up about polyamorous relationship.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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