Deconstructing Sita's Blues: Questions of Mis/representation, Cultural Property, and Feminist Critique in Nina Paley's Ramayana

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Feminist Studies Inc.


Hinduism has long maintained a presence in US popular culture. Yoga, self-realization, and meditation have been appropriated for decades by those seeking the enlightenment promises of the East. I had grown numb to the seamless entry of Hindu artifacts and iconography into the US marketplace until recently, when I began to notice disconcerting patterns of pop-culture-ized images of Hindu gods and goddesses emblazoned on socks, shoes, T-shirts, swimwear, lunchboxes, and novelty toys. Where and how these dislocated deities manifested themselves troubled me, not only because they were almost always fragmented and displaced, but also because such acts of commodity fetishism foreclose dialogue about the complex issues arising out of globalization, cultural exchange, and transnational identity that are deeply embedded in the production and enduring desirability of these objects.