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Is Ryan Gosling Playing This Gay Icon Ken Doll in New Barbie Movie?

Rachel Kiley

The first look at heartthrob Ryan Gosling in the upcoming Barbie live-action film was released this week, and to those familiar with some of doll-maker Mattel’s history, he looked a little…familiar.

Back in the early 1990s, girls apparently wanted Barbie’s beau to look cooler, and the result was something called Earring Magic Ken. Considering how important earrings were to queer culture in that era, you can probably guess where this is going.

This updated “cool” Ken looked so blatantly gay that internet folklore surrounding it suggests that designers went to raves populated by queer men to figure out what, exactly, was a cool look at the time. People also claimed his necklace was straight up a cockring.

Whatever the true story about the design may be, gay men bought enough Ken dolls that it became the best-selling Ken in Barbie history, despite being taken off the shelves within weeks because Mattel was allegedly worried about it hurting their image.

Greta Gerwig’s Barbie is reportedly featuring multiple versions of both Barbie and Ken, so the idea that Earring Magic Ken would explicitly be among them isn’t far-fetched. And the idea of bringing back this short-lived but fairly iconic iteration of the doll already has people ready to see where things are going — as does this general chiseled bleach blonde denim look Gosling has going on.

Unfortunately, we’re going to have to wait a while longer to see where this world of pink plastic and perfect abs is headed — Barbie is currently scheduled for release in July 2023.

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