Overwatch’s Symmetra sexual depiction of the Hindu Goddess Kali distasteful

California ,Sept5:Overwatch is in the news again and this time, it’s for depicting a Hindu Goddess as an in-game hero.US-based Rajan Zed is the president of the Universal Society of Hinduism. At this moment, he’s taken exception to a skin that Blizzard introduced for Overwatch’s Symmetra. The skin transforms Symmetra into something not unlike the Hindu Goddess Kali by giving her blue skin, vaguely Indian attire and a set of poses that vaguely resemble traditional depictions of Hindu Goddesses. The skin itself is titled Devi.

Overwatch is a game where players take control of ‘heroes’ and slug it out in an arena with an assortment of weapons and special abilities. This is also not the first time that Zed has gone after a game for its depiction of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. In 2012, he launched a lengthy campaign against Hi-Rez Studios, the creators of Smite, for their depiction of, again, the Goddess Kali and for the fact that one could play as said Gods and Goddesses.

kali Smite

In the case of Smite, Hi-Rez studios took feedback from the community and based on that, simply decided to drop all artwork related to Kali on their promotional material, but kept the character in the game.

Zed’s objections are understandable, and sensitive as the subject is, I think they’re mostly without merit. Gods and Goddesses have been depicted in stories and TV series before. At times, we’ve also enacted them in school. Pretending to be a God or a Goddess is nothing new in our culture (Ramlila, anyone?).

According to Zed’s blog post, the skin for Symmetra is labeled as “inappropriate.” He goes on to add that having players control and manipulate a goddess by using a joystick or a keyboard can be considered as “denigration.” He mentions that, for Hindu devotees, the custom is to place themselves in the hands of the goddess, and that switching roles transmits a belittling message.

Zed notes that turning Devi into “just a character” creates confusion, and underlines that reinterpreting symbols or concepts from religion is “not okay.” Hindus appreciate free speech just as much as the next person, but he believes that using religious figures in games has the potential to rub devotees the wrong way.

However, Overwatch players from India do not see eye to eye with the president of Universal Society of Hinduism.

A quick glance at the Indian Facebook page of the game is enough to see that there are players who are opposing Zed’s claims.

Devi is a great goddess of Hinduism and worshipers venerate her under different forms and names since the dawn of the religion. Although Symmetra’s Devi skin (and its recolored counterpart, goddess) does not seem to depict a specific aspect of the goddess, it does pack a number of traditional visual cues. The most famous would be Kali’s skull decoration, as well as the blue skin that the faith correlates to all things infinite.

Zed is not at his first appeal against visual depictions of Hinduism in video games.

In 2012, he initiated a campaign against Hi-Rez Studios, the gaming company behind Smite, the third-person multiplayer online battle arena game. His beef with the company was the representation of Goddess Kali and the fact that players could choose to go to battle as said gods and goddesses from the Indian faith.

In February, he petitioned against the Shin Megami Tensei IV: Final’s depiction of Lord Krishna in the Japanese RPG. At the time, he pointed out that the visual depiction of the Indian god was belittling.

Blizzard is no stranger in appeasing players who ask for Overwatch’s content to be better curated. In March, Blizzard backpedaled and removed a pose from Overwatch after a slice of internet roared in anger over a debatable sexualized pose of the character Tracer.

– See more at: http://www.techtimes.com/articles/170344/20160719/overwatch-under-fire-again-symmetra-devi-skin-sexual-depiction-trivializes-hindu-goddess-kali.htm#sthash.XIz8KDjq.dpuf

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