Home Indian Culture Meet Kavi Sharma, Mattel’s American Lady Doll of the Yr

Meet Kavi Sharma, Mattel’s American Lady Doll of the Yr

Meet Kavi Sharma, Mattel’s American Lady Doll of the Yr

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By Sanjeevani Dedge and Mugdha Shinde, California

Every year, a protracted, considerate course of takes place to create the American Lady of the Yr doll. These limited-edition wonders are supposed to be extra than simply easy dolls. They’ve complicated again tales, goals and passions, and are created to replicate the lifetime of a typical American lady within the given yr. In January, American Lady introduced their 2023 Lady of the Yr: Kavi Sharma.

Lady of the Yr focuses on cultural range. Final yr’s was Corinne Tan, the first-ever Asian American Lady of the Yr. The corporate’s press launch said, “Kavi joins the corporate’s lengthy line of latest characters, launched greater than 20 years in the past, that characterize a variety of backgrounds to replicate what it means to be an American lady as we speak.”

On the American Lady web site, we see that Kavi is an Indian-American Hindu residing in New Jersey. Her description says, “Kavi loves performing, however can she discover a strategy to keep on prime of her schoolwork and get her dance strikes down earlier than the curtain goes up?” At Hinduism As we speak’s request, the 2 of us studied the brand new doll and consulted with family and friends to create this evaluation.

Overview

Kavi, identical to different American Lady dolls, is dear. The doll itself with a journal telling her story prices $155, plus there are lots of outfits and equipment that buyers should buy. These embody her canine ($34), songwriting equipment ($115), yoga equipment ($30), and a backstage trunk ($125). There are additionally a number of costumes, resembling Kavi’s efficiency outfit, pajamas, and her yoga apparel, every costing $30-45. Her Bollywood dance costume ($45) is the accent we expect is most important. That is the costume she wears on the finish of the journal whereas performing along with her associates. It is usually worn by dancers in a video efficiency through the American Lady Reveal for Doll of the Yr. What we actually appreciated about this outfit is that it comes with not solely Indian jewellery for Kavi, but additionally a mini packet of bindis—a pleasant addition.

Because the bindis present, it’s important to acknowledge how American Lady doesn’t draw back from expressing Kavi’s Hindu identification as a part of her story. They boldly depict Kavi as Hindu by together with Hindu festivals, dances and bindis in her accompanying journal.

The journal, written from Kavi’s perspective, revolves round an enormous dance efficiency that she and her associates are working to arrange by the tip of the month. Nonetheless, they can’t agree on what sort of dance they wish to do. Kavi has to determine the best way to steadiness her schoolwork whereas developing with a dance they will all agree on.

Talking of dance—that artwork kind is an enormous a part of Kavi’s backstory. The entire advertising and marketing marketing campaign for Kavi relies on her love of performing, and a number of other forms of Indian and Western dance types are included within the journal. These embody Kathak, Hip-Hop, and eventually Bollywood dance, which is proven to be a method for Kavi to mix her Indian roots and American upbringing.

The Consideration to Element

American Lady labored with Arusha, a 12-year-old Indian-American dancer, and Rina Shah, proprietor of Aum Dance Creations. This clearly exhibits their effort to not solely appropriately characterize Indian dance however to get a full understanding of what Kavi’s life would possibly appear like as an Indian American tween.

Kavi’s Journal

American Lady continues to indicate this consideration to particulars all through the journal. There are various references to Indian/Hindu issues which are part of Kavi’s life, for instance, her good-luck elephant attraction that she named Haathi. Haathi is the phrase for elephant in Hindi, and the journal mentions that elephants symbolize knowledge in Hindu tradition (a delicate nod to Lord Ganesha). Additional, Kavi’s grandma is proven sporting a sari and bindi to attend a efficiency of Broadway’s “Depraved.”

One other nice side of the doll is the identify: Kavi. It’s a uniquely Indian identify, and likewise fairly intelligent and well-thought out, as kavi means “poet” in Sanskrit, and writing is certainly one of her hobbies.

American Lady does an ideal job not solely by that includes Diwali within the journal, but additionally by noting the precise 5 days of the pageant. Typically, the media’s illustration of Diwali solely focuses on sooner or later or explains what the pageant is as an entire. It’s clear that American Lady did their analysis. They included an outline of what Kavi did every day: a day for cleansing, adorning the home with diya lamps, a day to eat vegetarian meals, a present alternate day, and eventually a day to go to household and watch fireworks.

The descriptions of the times are correct, however together with the names of the times would have additional elaborated the Hindu side. And it’s unusual that the rationale for celebrating Diwali was not included. Additionally they failed to say Ram’s coming dwelling to Ayodhya, which is a really important a part of the pageant for many Hindu households.

A novel to be launched describes Kavi celebrating Holi, which is a pleasant addition. Hopefully there will likely be some point out of Holika or different key components that give that means to the celebration of that pageant.

Room for Enchancment

Close to the tip of the journal Kavi goes to a yoga class along with her dad, and he or she writes about her nice expertise, “Yoga did calm my thoughts. Afterward I felt amazingly relaxed.” It is usually good how in a poster with yoga poses Kavi will get from the category it says “Yoga Asanas,” with the reason that asanas means “poses.” On the finish of the e book there are photos and directions for numerous yoga asanas for the reader to check out. We predict they need to have supplied the Sanskrit names for the asanas together with the English names. For instance “downward canine” may even have additionally been written as adho mukha svanasana. Given the eye to element in the remainder of the journal, together with the names of the asanas was anticipated.

One other alternative for enchancment can be mentioning Kavi’s apply of Hinduism. There are a number of illustrations of her sporting a bindi and her explaining how she celebrates Diwali, however she by no means talks about how the faith connects to her.

An enormous a part of any faith is its God(s), and Hinduism is well-known for having a number of Gods, each female and male. Thus, it’s a bit shocking that there isn’t any point out of Gods or particulars on how Kavi worships. This was particularly obvious within the Diwali a part of the journal, which doesn’t embody the spiritual actions that happen through the pageant. American Lady may have famous that it’s common for Hindus to wish no less than as soon as a day of their dwelling, particularly throughout festivals. A temple also needs to have been talked about within the journal, together with the yoga studio and Broadway theater, as being an necessary a part of Kavi’s life.

Various Reactions

Gargi Dedge, an Indian-American fifth grader, the target market for Kavi, instructed us, “I’m so comfortable to see that there’s an American Lady doll that’s identical to me! She is Indian American, Hindu, and he or she does Kathak—I do Bharatnatyam. I additionally favored seeing that she celebrated Diwali, as a result of I and my household do too. I feel this doll will make many women like me really feel included.”

We additionally requested a Hindu mum or dad residing within the US, Discussion board Dhulekar, how she felt about Kavi. Her ideas have been, “Introducing a distinct ethnicity does assist diversification of its buyer base. Nonetheless, I really feel the American Lady doll will not be actually representing India as an entire. When it comes to enchancment, they will introduce extra associates representing totally different components of India, and totally different festivals. Sure, Diwali is synonymous to India and Indians, however there may be extra to India.”

Aditi, a Ninth grader, stated, “I don’t suppose it’s a good illustration of Indian-Individuals within the US, as a result of it appears to observe all of the stereotypical issues that many individuals affiliate with Indians usually. It talks about her taking superior programs and struggling to get good grades to please her dad and mom, which is one thing that many college students battle with and is commonly dangerous to their psychological well being. It might do its half in encouraging younger college students to observe their goals, however it might additionally stress children to reside as much as the insane expectations which are set for them.” That is an fascinating level that’s undoubtedly necessary to deal with.

Conclusion

These reactions make us want we had a doll like Kavi after we have been youthful. Rising up, we’d solely seen and purchased principally white dolls, and in the event that they have been every other race, they have been often Black, Hispanic, not often East Asian, however by no means Indian. We’re so comfortable that different younger Indian American women are getting a possibility we by no means acquired.

Whereas we expect that whereas there may be some room for enchancment when it comes to the Hindu points of her life, the doll will certainly make younger Indian American women really feel included and represented. All in all, Kavi is undoubtedly a step in the suitable course for a extra Hindu-friendly tradition within the US.


In regards to the authors

Sanjeevani Dedge (left, with newly arrived Kavi) was born in Santa Clara, California, and lives in San Jose. Now a Ninth-grade pupil at Dartmouth Center College, she enjoys dance, swimming and wrestling. sanjeevanisdedge@gmail.com

Mugdha Shinde, (proper) 15, is an Ninth-grade pupil at Cupertino Center College in Cupertino, California. She performs the trombone in her faculty’s band and enjoys cooking and baking. mugdha.shinde29@gmail.com


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