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PRINT February 1992

Jo Anna Isaak

FOR THEIR STARS, the very successful Ken and Barbie dolls, the people at Mattel toys have invented a whole young-adult romance: Ken and Barbie go on a date, Ken and Barbie go to the beach, Ken and Barbie go to the movies, Ken and Barbie go dancing, and, eventually, Ken and Barbie get married—all of these activities involving the purchase of new costumes, which is why they were devised in the first place. So far as I know, however, the couple’s progress after the wedding has been left to a satiric ditty I heard on the radio once. There, a marital therapist explained why “the marriage was a failya”: “They have no genitalia!” Indeed: Mattel had failed to endow its dolls adequately or even at all, though it did give Barbie a set of conical ’50s tits.

The first generation to grow up with these toys is now adult, and Jeff Koons, with a mass-marketer’s sense of opportunity, has overcompensated

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