OK, so here’s my problem with the soon-to-be-infamous Trans Ken Doll Cake Blow-Up.
No, make that two problems. And there may be more.
First, why is it assumed that this was a trans Ken doll? Maybe ze’s a cross-dressing Ken doll. Maybe xe’s genderqueer. Maybe the royal they are none-of-the-above. Isn’t it gender policing, to eyeball a Ken doll in a prom dress and make assumptions about xyr gender?
The other problem is the ectonormative bias clearly on display with the choice of this unrealistically proportioned doll. I mean, this cake was made for a birthday party. (In Sacramento, California, which may explain some things about what our state government is doing up there most of the time.)
It seems a tad insensitive, however you slice it (the puns just come pouring out, don’t they?), to inflict a depressingly unrealistic doll body on either an impressionable child, or an adult turning a year older and possibly quite vulnerable to melancholy reflections and self-denigration.
After all, there’s a more realistic alternative available now: Dad-bod Ken. Apparently, there may even be more than one version. It looks awfully physiogno-fascist from here, for a bakery (or its patrons, for that matter) to choose a pretty-faced boy-toy-looking Ken, instead of, like, Chrome-Dome-Stubble-Stud Paunch-Gut Ken.
In light of these postgrad-level concerns, the controversy that actually erupted over the cake in question looks so…weak and tired. Yada yada. Some people thought a Ken-in-drag cake was offensive. Other people thought it was offensive to take offense. A social media meltdown happened. Whatever.
And look, we’ve gotten this far in without an Obligatory Quote. So here goes:
A Ken doll wore a pink dress made of frosting, a sash, a tiara and jewelry.
“Naively, I guess I just thought this is a really cool cake, and look at how great they did with the butter cream,” said Marlene Goetzeler, co-owner of the bakery. “What’s wrong with a Ken cake?” …
“I was shocked that somebody would be offended,” said Goetzeler.
I, personally, am offended that this Ken isn’t more inclusive of the physically challenged or transabled, or both. Why is this supreme specimen of iconography allowed to ignore marginalized members of society? Mx. Ken should have a back brace, at least, and maybe a missing hand. Some tattoos and piercings would be nice.
In fact, come to think of it, I’m offended that Ken was chosen for this mission at all. Why not Barbie in a tux? Or Barbie in a prom dress, for that matter. It’s so freaking binary to act like the most entertaining or iconic way to bend gender is to put a male body in culturally totalitarian hetero-patriarcho-sexist “female” garb.
There oughtta be a law. (If anyone’s going to make one, it’ll be our hard-working representatives up there in Sacramento.)