If you’ve been following my Instagram, you have probably noticed that for the past few weekends I’ve been attending Sleepytown’s local flea market, helping my Mom with her vintage clothing and jewelry business. The flea market is an interesting place full of bizarre finds and quirky, colourful characters selling their wares. One of my favourite sellers is an older lady who sells vintage toys. Thanks to her, Joe the Intern with has had new “friends” arriving at Skinny Dip headquarters on a weekly basis.
I was purchasing this guy from her last week when she said to me, “You know, I’ve always thought Ken was kind of gay.” Considering this was coming from a white haired, 70-something grandma type, I had to laugh. I agreed with her and we spent the next 10 minutes having a very frank and hilarious conversation about men, sexuality and Ken dolls…at the flea market.
When I came home, I told the story to my Mom. A few days later she called me to tell me about this article that she’d stumbled across in the Georgia Straight, our local alternative newspaper.
Vancouver based photographer extraordinaire Dina Goldstein – the artist behind 2009’s Fallen Princesses series (Snow White as weary housewife or Pocahontas as lonely cat lady, anyone?) has turned her skewed lens on iconic couple, Barbie and Ken, in a collection of 10 images titled In the Dollhouse.
Inspired by the traditional gender rolls she saw her daughters reproduce while playing with the dolls, Goldstein decided to take a closer look at the famous dolls, and became convinced that Ken was definitely not a ladies’ man. As she told the Georgia Straight, “Mattel has totally, I think, emasculated him. It’s like, come on… I started playing with dolls in my head, and started thinking that this marriage [with Barbie] has been imposed on him, and now he’s just breaking free and breaking loose, and finding his authentic self.”
Created over 30 days and shot in a purpose built set located in a former art gallery, the series follows the marital breakdown of the world’s most famous set of dolls, depicted by human models. The photos are pretty amazing, which is why I’m sharing them with you today.
Ken and Barbie reading in Bed. It’s OK Ken, those “O” relationship stories get to me too.
Barbie, I feel you. It’s never a good feeling when you’re half naked and your partner is more interested in his hair dryer than what’s under your monogrammed towel.
The subconscious is a murky place. Both Ken and Barbie dream of a moustachioed GI Joe.
Tea time is totally awkward when your beloved insists on wearing your favourite pair of bright pink pumps. The look on Barbie’s face says it all.