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By Prachi Mishra
Parents thank us for the education values in the world of Barbie . . . they could never get their daughters well groomed before—get them out of slacks or blue jeans and into a dress . . . that’s where Barbie comes in. The doll has clean hair and a clean face . . . dresses fashionably, and wears gloves and shoes that match. -Ruth Handler
This statement made by the founder of Barbie is quite correct. The doll does possess the power to educate. She holds the power to influence greatly the minds of young female consumers. It isn’t unlikely that whenever a young girl would be asked about a toy or a doll to be specific, the image of Barbie would immediately come to her mind.
However, many people have claimed that this role of educating has been recognized and exploited by the makers of the doll. According to them, an unrealistic and “hypersexualized” image of females is portrayed by it.
Barbie was created in the 1950s by the imagination of businesswoman and toymaker Ruth Handler. It was based on a German doll―Lilli Doll, an adult doll, which was not intended for children.
The doll was created having unrealistic and mythical features- curvaceous body, long and thin legs, luxuriously haired- symbolizing the “American girlhood.”
Barbie features in the world of multitude of young females, with her extensive wardrobe. It holds the power to infiltrate the consciousness of children and educate them about how to act, what to wear, what to buy, and more precisely, how to look.
Mattel, the producer of Barbie, claimed that the doll inspired females to take up inspiring careers, through its portrayal with many professions.
However, there is a massive disparity between the myth created by the physical appearance of the doll and the reality of the global female form. Barbie sets an impossible bar of physical appearance that no human female could possibly achieve.
In order to expand their growing empire, Mattel repackaged Barbie in a variety of ethnicities. It made ethnic and racial modifications to the doll, winning the allegiances of little girls throughout the world.
Barbie in India
In India, the standard Barbie was reproduced as wearing a saree. It allowed the parents to give their children the ‘standard’ Barbie, thus fulfilling their “American Dream”, that they wanted, but with a difference that retained their ‘traditional’ culture.
The doll was not called Indian Barbie but instead “Barbie in India” as the box was labeled as “Dressing in all seasons classic saree with exotic borders, Barbie is totally at home in India.” The term “exotic” resonates the connotations of colonialism and the eroticization of Asian female body.
However, this Barbie was dressed in Indian clothing and accessories; it still had blonde hair, standard Euro- American body- shape, teamed up with a shiny saree and a red bindi on her forehead. The doll’s pigmentation was deepened only by a slight degree, and her eyes were made hazel rather than blue.
Yet, Indian Barbie shared the same pink-lips, coy smile, shining eyes, and fictitious physique as the American Barbie. An ethnic spectacle of “Indianness” was created and was promoted through the white female body of a plastic Barbie.
Later in order to redeem themselves, the Mattel productions did start producing Barbie dolls that looked much more “Indian” in their appearance.
Despite the substantial feminist criticisms of Barbie, the doll still manages to win over the loyalty of young females all over the world. The Mattel productions tasted success in India as well. They, on their 50th anniversary launched another Indian Barbie that was modeled on the actress Katrina Kaif.
Then, there were two Argentinean artists that came up with a religious Barbie based on Goddess Kali. They don’t really have any clue about the philosophy behind goddess Kali and her being the Shakti; but just because it will sell in the commercial market, they have come up with the designs.
Despite the fact that there have been changes in the appearance of the Indian doll or that it has been even modeled upon an Indian actress; its fictitious representation of the female body has seen little change since its inception. The perception of the ideal female body symbolized by it remains unrealistic and mythical. Barbie’s clothes, accessories, location, profession, clothing, hair, and at times, her skin color, have changed in different contexts but her slender, big-chested body has remained fundamentally unchanged over the years.
As weather cleared up in Uttarakhand, Char Dham Yatra restored on Friday with more than 16,000 devotees resuming the pilgrimage from the Rishikesh camp.
According to sources, road leading to Badrinath has been repaired and helicopter service has also resumed.
Meanwhile, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited Dungi village and met families of people who were missing after the landslip incident, and consoled them.
Dhami assured them of all possible assistance. Two people from the village are still reported to be missing.
Pilgrims were seen leaving from Rishikesh Char Dham Bus terminal and Haridwar bus station for the pilgrimage since morning.
As per the state government, various departments -- Devasthanam Board, police are assisting the pilgrims.
Police Chowki Yatra Bus Terminal, Rishikesh, was announcing passenger-information via loudspeaker.
Free RT-PCR tests of pilgrims were being conducted at Rishikesh bus terminal.
Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board's media in-charge Dr Harish Gaur said pilgrimage was on in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri, while for Kedarnath, helicopter service was also available.
Though the weather was cold in all dhams, thankfully there was no rain, he added.
Portals of the temple in Badrinath will close on November 20, Gangotri on November 5, while that of Kedarnath and Yamunotri on November 6.
Uttarakhand floods, triggered by a major downpour from October 17 to 19, have claimed 65 lives so far, 3,500 people have been rescued while 16,000 evacuated to safety.
Seventeen teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), seven teams of State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), 15 companies of Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) and 5,000 police personnel have been engaged in rescue and relief operations.
The state has already been provided with Rs 250 crore Disaster Fund which is being used for relief works.
To prevent spread of the diseases, the Central and state governments have decided to send medical teams to the affected areas.
Snapped power lines will be restored at the earliest, the government assured.
The state government said that as soon as alert for heavy rainfall was issued, the Incident Response System was activated at state and district levels, and pilgrims were halted at safer places. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Uttarakhand, India, Char Dham Yatra, PushkarDhami, Rishikesh.
The Centre has continued the Naga peace talks with the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagalim (NSCN-IM) leaders, but negotiations face roadblocks as the Naga leaders are adamant in their main demands for a separate Constitution and flag.
The sources aware of these developments said that the Centre was hopeful that a successful solution of the six decades-long peace talks would arrive at a logical conclusion, but in the recent statements, Naga leaders have accused the Centre of offering post-solution options.
Sources quoting the stand of Naga leaders said that NSCN's stand was loud and clear that it would not follow the forbidden route to the Naga solution that was linked to foregoing the Naga national flag and Constitution, which is the face of the Naga political struggle and identity.
The Naga leaders have also said that the Centre has been using divisive policy and flattery in the name of finding the Naga political solution when the matters heated up.
When the Centre resumed the peace process in September this year and sent the former special director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) A.K. Mishra as the Ministry of Home Affairs' emissary to the rebel outfit's chief negotiator and general secretary T. Muivah, he assured him (Muivah) that the peace talks would be initiated under the original framework signed in 2015, a source in the Naga rebel group said.
"Here we are talking about the Naga national flag and Yehzabo (Constitution), the two issues that are holding up the Naga solution under the ongoing Indo-Naga political talks in Delhi.
"The chequered history of the Indo-Naga political issue is clear enough before us, with accords and agreements that were never meant to be implemented in letter and spirit", an important office-bearer of the rebel outfit said while criticizing the governments' stand.
Accusing the Centre, he further accused the Centre of persuading the Naga people again to accept whatever is being offered to hurry up the Naga talks.
On the invitation of the Centre, the senior leaders of the NSCN-IM including T. Muivah arrived in the national capital on October 6 this year to hold another round of talks with the Centre.
Both, the Centre and the Naga leaders had indicated their keenness on resolving this long pending issue by the end of this year in an amicable manner.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is also chairman of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), and Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had been actively involved in the resumption of the peace talks and taking it forward to a logical conclusion.
Soon after the transfer of Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi, who was appointed as the Centre's interlocutor for the Naga peace talks on August 29, 2014, to Tamil Nadu, the peace talks resumed on September 20 in Kohima when the Centre representative met the Naga leaders and invited them to visit Delhi for further rounds of peace talks.
The NSCN-IM and the other outfits entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Government of India in 1997 and over 80 rounds of negotiations with the Centre have been held in the past in successive governments. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: Nagaland, India, Constitution, Politics, Flag.
The series decider for the Test series between England and India will now be played at Edgbaston from July 1 next year, said the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) on Friday. India is currently leading the series 2-1 before the fifth Test at Old Trafford was cancelled hours before the start due to concerns over COVID-19 outbreak in the tourists' camp.
"The fifth match of the LV= Insurance Test Series between England Men and India Men has been rescheduled and will now take place in July 2022. The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the camp," said an ECB statement.
"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)," added the statement.
ECB also said that due to the rescheduled Test, the white-ball series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The T20I series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge hosting the second and third matches respectively on July 9 and 10. It will be followed by the ODI series starting on July 12 at The Oval followed by Lord's and Old Trafford hosting the second and third ODI on July 14 and 17 respectively.
"Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day," further said the statement.
"We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far. I'm very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they've shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I'd also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible," said Tom Harrison, the CEO of the ECB.
"We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance. We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players' welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game."
"I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale. The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution," said BCCI Secretary Jay Shah. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: India, Britain, BCCI, Test Match, Cricket.