‘Crucified Jesus’ Ken And ‘Virgin Mary’ Barbie Sparks Outrage: Argentina’s proposed release of religious Barbie dolls, branded “Barbie Virgin Mary” and “Jesus Ken,” has sparked international outrage. The outcry is especially among Catholic groups in Buenos Aires, following Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movie success.
The artists’ 2014 “Barbie: The Plastic Religion” exhibit faced death threats for depicting religious figures as dolls. Despite threats, a toy shop in Argentina agreed to stock models. Also, the artists plan to showcase them in an art show in December.
Barbie exhibit drew global ire, with priest Adrian Santarelli questioning dolls’ appropriateness, claiming sacred images might damage children’s understanding.
The collection included Barbies dressed as Joan of Arc and the Virgin of Guadalupe, as well as Ken dressed as Buddha and Moses. It specifically avoided dolls depicting Muslim individuals due to Islamic restrictions on such depictions.
In reaction to the outcry, the artists say that the exhibition is solely for artistic purposes and is not intended to offend anyone. Paolini maintains that the works were “simply the union of the two most popular elements of history: the Barbie doll and religion.”
“Frankly, we don’t understand why we’re being attacked,” the New York Post quoted Paolini as saying. “Religion has always depicted virgins as the most beautiful women,” he added. “Today, the most beautiful woman is Barbie.”
According to the organizers, the December exhibit is expected to draw 400 guests, with police on hand to assure security.
“The reception to the revived collection is going well,” Paolini said. “We will take part in an art show with a stand dedicated to Plastic Religion where we will present 33 Barbie dolls, among other artwork.”
Perelli and Paolini were inspired by the Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico. They say that since there are Barbies representing different professions, why not one representing religion?
Hindus have previously expressed their displeasure with the artwork
Rajan Zed, a Hindu priest residing in Nevada, called the “Barbie-fication of Kali” disrespectful and unsuitable. However, Elina Aguilar, a retiree, and Hugo Fryszberg, a government employee in Buenos Aires, defended the show, pointing out that figurines of other holy figures have been sold without incident.