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Overwatch Skin Criticised by Hindu Statesman

Jake Wilson

Jake Wilson

A musician and composer who occasionally likes writing about video games...
Jake Wilson

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Overwatch has been the target of another round of criticism this week. This time, rather than accusations of sexism (or misogyny as some people incorrectly label it) Blizzard has been accused of “cultural appropriation.” Though some of the other Overwatch Skins have been labelled offensive too, the specific skin under scrutiny this time is the Devi skin for the character Symmetra.maxresdefault

 

Speaking out is Hindu Statesman Rajan Zed who has taken part in various campaigns for the censorship of media. Most famous of which was his campaign against the satirical film The Love Guru. Rajan Zed who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has asked Blizzard to remove the skin because it “trivialises religion.”

“reimagining Hindu scriptures, symbols, concepts and deities for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it creates confusion. Controlling and manipulating Devi with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse is denigration. Devi is meant to be worshipped in temples and home shrines and not to be reduced to just a ‘character’ in a video game to be used in combat in the virtual battleground.”

Perhaps Rajan Zed is the one who’s confused though, as the players using this skin are not actually playing as a Devi. (meaning Hindu goddess) They are playing as the character Symmetra who is wearing an outfit. So his claim that this is denigration of a Hindu deity is nonsense.

“Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith-related subjects, as these games leave a lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people,”

Does anyone else see the irony in his statements? Causing confusion & leaving a lasting impact on the minds of impressionable children. Well that sounds just like religion. As adults we have the right to believe in whatever we choose, but where children are concerned it is religion that has to answer for the “confusion” of children all around the world. But that’s a topic for a more politically motivated website.

Another "offensive" Overwatch Skin
Another “offensive” Overwatch Skin

While Rajan Zed believes that a character using violence in a video game & an Overwatch Skin inspired by Hindu Devi, is offensive. He needs to realise that there are people who find religion offensive, and harmful. The difference is, I wouldn’t condone anyone for calling a ban on religion or the removal of religious themes from a piece of media and I wouldn’t condemn parents for letting their kids watch it if they are adhering to the rating system of the country in question. Once again, that is calling for the elimination of free speech and freedom of artistic expression.

About Jake Wilson

A musician and composer who occasionally likes writing about video games...

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  • Arkone Axon

    The truly ironic bit is that any skin, mesh, character, or other work of art that increases exposure of, and by extension knowledge of, his religion is actually good for said religion. Understanding leads to tolerance. One of the ways that Judaism has fought against anti-semitism in the last century has been by spreading awareness of Jewish practices and customs. Today most people in the west know that Jews don’t eat christian babies on Passover, or get together and plot world domination on Saturdays. They don’t know that much about Hinduism, Islam, or other religions that suffer under a similar cloud of suspicion.

  • Farwin

    “Rajan Zed who is president of the Universal Society of Hinduism, has
    asked Blizzard to remove the skin because it ‘trivialises religion.’ ‘reimagining Hindu scriptures, symbols, concepts and
    deities for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it creates
    confusion.’ ”
    Mercy’s main skin is an angel, a Christian concept. But that’s okay, because Christianity is an “acceptable” target while he thinks his religion should be off-limits.

    “Controlling and manipulating Devi with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse
    is denigration. Devi is meant to be worshipped in temples and home
    shrines and not to be reduced to just a ‘character’ in a video game to
    be used in combat in the virtual battleground.”
    What is SMITE

    • Mr0303

      Funnily enough the same guy complained about Smite. His job is to be professionally offended.

  • Mr0303

    Not this professionally offended twit again! I hope Blizzard learned their lesson and simply ignore him.

  • Well to recycle a comment I keep making when this idiotic topic comes up…the whole notion that culture can be “appropriated” in any negative sense is one of the most absurd notions being bandied about (and that is really saying something given the carnival of absurdities that passes for critical thinking these days).

    Such ideas about culture are profoundly fascist in origin, a collectivist notion that somehow culture and identity must be preserved in a “pure” state from outside influences and somehow “belongs” to an ethno-national grouping. It is very much akin intellectually to abominating miscegenation.

    Yet strangely the same people who spout such arrant nonsense tend not to picket performances featuring oriental ballet dancers or black opera singers (as well they shouldn’t), even though these are European art forms.

    Sorry (not really) but the future is cosmopolitan and voluntary. Anyone can take whatever aspects of any culture they think is worth incorporating and there is not a damn thing anyone can do to stop them. If Rajan Zed is offended… so what? That is his problem. But guess what, here is a picture of Rajan Zed wearing a tie (from his own website)…

    http://www.rajanzed.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Rajan-Zed-1.jpg

    Now as I am sure you will all agree, a tie is an item of European clothing, originally Croatian in origin but widely worn across the Western world. Does this mean the non-Western Rajan Zed has culturally appropriated from Europe? That is of course preposterous, but then so is the entire notion of “cultural appropriation”.

    • Jake Wilson

      A very good point!

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