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Author Topic: GODDESS KALI AS A BARBIE DOLL?  (Read 8652 times)
Posts: 99

« on: December 17, 2014, 09:14:58 PM »

What's notable in the article is that the writer sees a western depiction as
"Indianising Barbie" when to me it appears that an Indian religious figure is being superimposed with aryan characteristics.  Full article and link below.

Jyothi Prabhakar,TNN | Sep 30, 2014, 12.00 AM IST

Indian gods, Goddess Kali particularly, are in the news again. And no, we don't mean Navaratri and all that festivities and worshipping, and neither has Heidi Klum decided upon her Halloween theme.

This time, Argentinian artist duo, Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini, is all set to show Barbie and Ken dolls that they've designed after 'religious icons' (read gods) next month, and have zeroed in on Goddess Kali, from Hinduism among other religious figures, to feature in the exhibition, too. So, as if Indianising Barbie by getting her to wear saris weren't enough, now there's a very Heidi Klum-like, blue, blonde, six-armed dancing Barbie out there, readying to battle it out in popularity stakes. The designer duo posted pics of their Barbie models online — that of Kali, Virgin Mary and Ken, resembling Jesus Christ.

The argument the duo has posted on their Facebook page is, "If there's a Barbie doctor, a teacher and a police officer, why shouldn't there be a Virgin of Lujan Barbie? We respect all traditions and religions but our work is intended to pay homage to these figures. We don't intend to offend any religion." While the duo is awaiting to hear from the Barbie makers, the news of their exhibition, which is titled Barbie, The Plastic Religion, has already ruffled the feathers of a South American community.

This could be one of those 'oops, they did it again' moments as far as the west and their perception or imagery of Indian gods and goddess is concerned. We've had the west repeatedly try to up the mystique of their products by giving them that 'India touch', which invariably is an image of one the Hindu gods, or an 'Om' emblazoned all across it.

Remember all those instances — when Converse had to pull off what they thought were cool shoes which showed Jimi Hendrix as a Hindu god in 2010, or when Roberto Cavalli quickly apologized ("I wanted to celebrate Hindu culture, and not denigrate it") for putting Hindu gods on bikini sets? Then, there was the French shoe company Minelli, that came up with the idea of selling shoes with Lord Rama's image on them... Oh, well, we've seen Indian gods' pics on everything from ginger beer to tissue papers, have read news of Tina Turner intending to play Kali in a film, and have seen Heidi Klum make waves for dressing up as Kali for Halloween. What follows that is a routine that's become predictably blase — the spot-the-product, Indians protest, remove the product from the shelves, apologize routine.

So, will this Kali as Barbie work? "So long as they are not making a mockery about us and our beliefs, it should be OK. I believe the idea of religion and god is very personal, and so, we all get very protective. I don't know where the lines blend, but there is another, positive way of looking at it. More people are going to learn about Kali, and anyway, the west is pretty involved with everything Indian — our food, our clothes, yoga, the Indian way of life, and it is a natural progression to move to our beliefs and religion too. The west seems to be looking to India to move forward in their lives, and we should be happy about it," opines theatre person Aysha Rau.

Veteran actor Y Gee Mahendra has a totally different view. "The west now knows that India is a billion dollar market. They are not bothered by the philosophy behind Kali, her being shakti and all. Anything that sells, anything for commercial gains, is their mantra. They must have realized that when the doll makers hear of it, they will grab this idea and it will sell in India, which is known as the top-class consumer market these days. Commerce is the driving factor behind the west hankering after all things Indian, and experimenting with the Indian way of life," he says.

Link -  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/people/Goddess-Kali-as-a-Barbie-doll/articleshow/43815163.cms
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