The strange world of shaving

You know how when you were young and you wondered why your Dad had a big beard but other peoples’ Dads had no beard at all? (Ok, your Dad might not have been beardy – mine was, still is in fact.) Maybe you wondered what stopped hair growing on the chin? Maybe you were simply confused as to how men’s facial hair could vary so much? [Yes, I was a special child who wondered about a lot of things.]

It’s clear that what I needed to understand this tricky situation was none other than Shaving Fun Ken. Oh yes, I kid you not, a doll whose beard could be ‘shaved’ off and would then reappear. Confused as to how this might happen? Let this advert for Cool Shavin’ Ken from 1996 explain:

To be honest, this probably would have confused me more. There were no razors in the house until I started shaving my legs, so based on the Ken concept, I probably would have thought that shaving was a less than arduous activity. I guess I’m lucky we never owned a Ken doll. [We were a Sindy household – the only Barbie was one I was given after I’d run through someone’s front door. It now strikes me as odd that they gave me a present after I’d destroyed the entrance to their building…]

Anyway, Ken has been shave-able through the decades and now that he’s been brought back into Barbie’s life, a new version has arrived. Question is, which of the versions is the hottest?

Shaving Fun in the 21st Century:

Two versions from the 1990s – 95 & 96:

(Clearly 1995’s Ken wasn’t cool enough – I’d blame the stripes.) 

Or, Ken ready for everything the 1980s could throw at him:

That last one (from 1979) is shaving fun with an added bonus of sportiness. The blurb from the ad reads:
‘He’s athletic. He’s all man. He even “shaves”! …They [the kids playing with him] can pretend he’s a tennis star or marathon runner with or without a moustache.’
Tennis star or marathon runner, straight or gay…

Personally, I’m loving 1995 Ken (well, I’ve always had a soft spot for a guy with hair you can run your fingers through and who can wield a frisbee effectively). He comes with a matching backpack and visor – super cute! The ad for this one is also a favourite, particularly as it does absolutely nothing to remedy the confusion I might once have had about shaving:

At 0.18 the song tells us: “Only one guy’s beard grows back to shave again.” I may not have a beard and I may not have a significant other on who to test my beliefs, but I’m pretty sure most guys’ beards grow back if you shave them off. Bearded (or non-bearded) readers, can you confirm this?

Ahhh, if only life were as simple as Mattel makes it out to be.

This post was inspired by this one from the ever-wonderful The Hairpin.


  1. Happy to confirm that beards grow back. However I would love to know why my beard and head hair are different colours and (sadly) those adverts haven’t answered that.

  2. This reminds me of the rather disturbing Pregnant Barbie I once saw in a toy museum, and in trying to find an ad for it, which I couldn’t, I instead found one for Barbie’s Pooping Dog…

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