Kali- Barbie: A figure to be worshipped or played with?

Kali- Barbie: A figure to be worshipped or played with?
http://bit.ly/1rnD6zU

Recollecting memories from my childhood, I always remember the Barbie doll as being an action figure associated with simple daily entertainment. Barbie is popular for her many roles in departments of education, medicine, military, public service, politics, science, engineering, arts, transportation, business and miscellaneous. However, two Argentinian artists have been inspired to put forth a collection of Barbie dolls in a religious role, they call their series, “Barbie-The Plastic Religion.” Marianela Perelli and Pool Paolini have attracted quite the attention to their names and doll series by releasing figures of Barbie and Ken as Virgin Mary and a crucified Jesus Christ. This articles prime focus is on the Kali doll that Barbie is depicted to be. Kali also known as Ma Kali is a powerful and symbolic religious figure in the Hindu religion, as she is the goddess of Shakti (divine energy).

Traditionally, Ma Kali’s physical depiction is created on the belief that she has multiple arms, one of which is holding onto a severed head, which also matches the garland of decapitated heads worn around her neck. In other arms she hold various forms of weaponry such as a trident and a sword. Often her tongue is out which is associated with her rejection of feminine grace. Her overall image looks very powerful and portrays destruction. Perelli and Paolini’s Kali-Barbie is seen to have her tongue withdrawn which is a representation of the implication of the feminine grace, foreign to traditional Ma Kali. Barbie dolls are always smiling and in relgion this is not the case. Followers take religious figures very seriously because they reflect a serious nature. This diluted portrayal has sparked controversy in the Hindu community and Rajan Zed, a Hindu cleric has expressed his dislike in the collection as being “simply improper, wrong and out of place.”

The Hindu religion welcomes artists to forsake inspiration from the Hindu tradition and apply it in their artwork. Perelli and Paolini’s Kali-Barbie is not meant to offend Hinduism but unintentionally has. A Barbie doll is something a child or anyone can play with and by portraying her in religious form, it can be easy to conclude that these powerful religious figures can also be played with. As I child I constantly threw my Barbie dolls around but if a child were to throw a religious Barbie around it could be acknowledged as a sign of disrespect and could spark superstition of being punished if the figure is mistreated. In conclusion, this is not an attack on religion but can be misunderstood and flagged as inappropriate. Barbie is something to play with and religious figures are to be worshipped. In this particular case, we have combination of the two ideas’, here is where the problem arises: do you play with this figure or worship it?

K.S #200

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3 thoughts on “Kali- Barbie: A figure to be worshipped or played with?

  1. The concept of reducing religions figures to children’s play items is both interesting and certainly controversial. My initial response to this blog was that there is no place for religious items in children’s recreation but after some thought it could potentially be an educational tool. I believe that incorporating the religious figures into adolescent life could open the door for children to learn about new religions and give them a chance to explore. Though people may be upset about how the dolls might be mistreated and display disrespect, this can said for any religious item pertaining to children, coloring books, story books or figurines that get mishandled by children. I do not believe that the children playing with these dolls have any malicious intent towards the religion itself.

    Additionally if a large part of Barbies’ marketing is encompassing many facets of occupational and recreational life then perhaps adding religious icon to the list would increase the dynamic of the product. Making the icons tangible for children might increase their awareness of the diversity of religion, and who knows perhaps initiate a line of children friendly religious figures.

  2. The concept of reducing religions figures to children’s play items is both interesting and certainly controversial. My initial response to this blog was that there is no place for religious items in children’s recreation but after some thought it could potentially be an educational tool. I believe that incorporating the religious figures into adolescent life could open the door for children to learn about new religions and give them a chance to explore. Though people may be upset about how the dolls might be mistreated and display disrespect, this can said for any religious item pertaining to children, coloring books, story books or figurines that get mishandled by children. I do not believe that the children playing with these dolls have any malicious intent towards the religion itself.

    Additionally if a large part of Barbies’ marketing is encompassing many facets of occupational and recreational life then perhaps adding religious icon to the list would increase the dynamic of the product. Making the icons tangible for children might increase their awareness of the diversity of religion, and who knows perhaps initiate a line of children friendly religious figures.

  3. I liked your approach to your blog because it is true that often religion and sports aren’t heard together in the same sentence. I’m a big sports fan and the many sports I’ve watched and the news articles I’ve read about, I’ve never seen a headline so surprising then the one of this article. From experience, I used to play soccer when I was a kid and often before my games my cousin and me would do a small prayer before heading out. My mother told me it would be for good luck and I was a very superstitious kid, the days we didn’t do a prayer I’d blame the los on myself. Soccer was a big deal for me as it was the only other thing I’d known besides my family and school. Till this day, even in school before leaving for exams I still pray. It’s a belief I have had since childhood, its difficult to let go of. Therefore I sympathize with Hussain Abdullah since I wouldn’t be impressed if someone flagged my praying before a game or an exam as misconduct.

    When we all score something big, we all do a little something from impulse like a victory dance or some sort of small celebration to express our excitement. I feel like many fail to meet with Abdullah on his level of excitement. The first person he wished to thank was Allah, and this is perfectly fine. The un-sportsmen like act he could have done would be for example running around bragging about it to the other players, making violent gestures at their expense but what does he do- gets down on his knees and prays. Why is he penalized for this? I bet many will take Abdullah’s case as warning about what not to do after they score what they aim for. This should not be the case. It should be welcomed and recognized as a gesture from a religious man wishing prosperity upon himself and his team. Instead it was shamed, this lifts my belief from the sports industry as being fair and welcoming to a religious act of simply expressing thankfulness for an opportunity in a players career.

    COMMENT FOR: http://bit.ly/112Var4

    KS #RELS200
    #uwrelgions

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