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In 1993, Mattel released a new doll named 'Earring Magic Ken' featuring Barbie's square-jawed all-American boyfriend in a more '90s outfit: lavender mesh top and vest, two-tone frosted blond hair -- and a small silver ring on a choker.

Alas, Mattel apparently failed to realize that the aforementioned ring was in fact a 1:1 scale 'cock ring' which many groups of gay ravers and club-goers had taken to wearing around their necks as a highly sexual fashion statement.

[Although Mattel spokespersons denied that the company had intended to signal Ken's coming out, in the summer of 1993 Earring Magic Ken (aka "Queer Ken") became an instant artifact of gay kitsch -- and the best-selling Ken doll ever produced.]

[Many male Barbie doll collectors are gay. Sociologist Steven Dubin once described their two-step coming out: "First they disclose their sexuality. They later profess their love for Barbie."]

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