Kim Kardashian is selling veladora candles with herself as the Virgin Mary

Kim Kardashian, Cher and Kourtney Kardashian at The Promise Premiere in LA

From what I remember, Kim Kardashian was the first – ?? – major celebrity to offer personalized emojis. When I say “offer,” I mean buy. You could buy Kim’s Kimojis for a reasonable price, and that’s what millions of people did. Kim literally made millions of dollars off her Kimojis, and not only that, she started a trend. Many celebrities offer personalized emoji packages now. Some of the Kimojis are actually really cute and funny – I especially enjoy the Cryface Kimoji, which is a spectacular piece of self-aware branding. The Kimojis took off, and now Kim offers actual products branded with the Kimojis on her online store.

So, Kim offered some special Kimoji products in honor of 4/20 yesterday. The idea was supposed to be pot-themed Kimojis and products, but then something happened. Kim posted this:

You can see the product being sold here. It’s an $18 veladora, a candle used for spiritual purposes amongst Catholics, specifically Mexican and Latin-American Catholics. The candles usually have the images of the Virgin Mary, Jesus or various saints on the side. You light the candles to pray. So… is Kim making fun of Catholics? Is she making fun of Mexican Catholics? Is she comparing herself to the Virgin Mary? Is she about to get hammered by a bunch of Catholic groups? Probably.

I’m honestly trying to figure out how offensive some people will find this. I come from a long line of Hindus and I honestly don’t think we would get offended about our iconography being co-opted and appropriated by Kim Kardashian. Like, if Kim wanted to sell products where she was representing Shiva, I think most Hindus would just shrug?

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet.

 

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108 Responses to “Kim Kardashian is selling veladora candles with herself as the Virgin Mary”

  1. STRIPE says:

    I’ve seen these candles everywhere using almost any celebrity you can think of. I think they’re fun. You may not be offended as a Hindu, Kaiser, but Katy Perry just get slammed by Hindus for using a picture of Kali on her Instagram.

  2. Lucytunes says:

    There are so many parodies of these out there. I am not catholic, so I cannot presume To understand the level of offense. Just saying this isn’t an original idea/controversy.

  3. Jazzie30 says:

    What is interesting is the number of people who buy these and other equally worthless products…..

  4. Runcmc says:

    I’m not currently catholic but I was raised as one (in the Dominican Republic – we’re a pretty religious country!), and the candle makes me laugh. I think it’s aimed at people like me- raised Catholic not religious folks!

    I always joke about lighting candles. I wouldn’t buy a Kim Kardashian one but I’ve bought them as a joke before.

  5. detritus says:

    I thought, meh, madonna did it better, my catholic parents haven’t even noticed Kim’s existence so definitely don’t care.

    Jez had an article by a Latina about it last night , and she seemed pretty upset, due to the intermix of religion and cultural importance the candle holds.

    So I probably do not get the significance of these candles?

    On the other hand, Kim’s gonna Kim, and this outcry just feeds her. It not her fan base, so it’s just extra publicity.

    • swak says:

      Was trying to look up a picture of the candle Madonna sold but could not find it. My first reaction to this (and I was brought up Catholic but no loner practicing) was that she took an actual picture of Mary and superimposed her face on it. That’s what bothers me. Others may have done the same thing, I don’t know and it would also bother me. Selling candles with her image on it – meh but I do think it is offensive to religions where Mary is considered sacred to put herself in a picture like that and not just be dressed like Mary. Not sure if I have explained this very well.

  6. Liberty says:

    I find it interesting in light of (ha!) the intervening fact that her mother runs her own “church” 🤑 (They solemnly seem to be shown wearing white entering and exiting which is a form of ritual) and pays for everyone to like and approve of the family antics. What will happen when they try to sell Kylie American Indian headdresses, I wonder, Khloe Hanukkah items… and then, she is married to a man called Yeezus…. :-) . I could go on all day.

  7. Babs says:

    A melting face is a good call for a candle.

  8. CeeCee says:

    It’s pretty offensive. Jesus’s mother isn’t something you mess with.

  9. Beth says:

    OMG! Is there anything this family won’t do for money? I’m sticking to Yankee Candles

  10. Squiggisbig says:

    All part of her plot to distract the public from whatever is going on with her face lately.

  11. Lafawnda says:

    Kim is not making fun of Catholics. There are so many celebrities on candles just like these. The whole cast of Orange is the New Black have a line of them. It’s a pretty common thing for celebrities to be on these candles. From my understanding, they are quite popular. I don’t see a problem with them but I’m not Catholic either.

  12. Millenial says:

    I am a semi-practicing (white) Catholic and I do find these candles in poor taste. White Catholics generally don’t do much with these candles though, so I’d have to hear more opinions from Hispanic and Latino Catholics.

    I’m also just eye-rolling at Kim’s desperation to be relevant and drum up some controversy.

    • jwoolman says:

      I only remember Catholic churches having rows of small votive candles set up in an area of the church for people to light if desired. Churches were open all day back then so people might slip in and light one now and then privately. It was a nice little ritual. There was always a box for donations, mostly to pay for the candles. But I was always in areas with small or non-existent Hispanic populations at that point in my life, so I never saw the religious candles on which these celebrity ones are based.

      • outoftheshadows says:

        These particular candles are for home use. They usually wouldn’t be seen in the church because representations of the saints are there. The image of the saint on the candle is part of the home altar in case you don’t have an image of that saint.

        And you can find a bunch of these types of candles on ETSY, including ones of Carrie Fisher, which, even though I’m Catholic, I can fully endorse. (Kim, not so much. No matter how much surgery she has to look like her 18-year-old self.)

  13. Lexie says:

    The worst thing we could do, in Kim’s world, is ignore this. So that’s my plan…

  14. Bee says:

    She looks completely like a different person in that photo with Kanye West. If this wasn’t a Kim post, I would have been “who dat?”.

  15. Alix says:

    Because Christianity is an open target. Other faiths, not so much.

    • Lyka says:

      Riiiiiiiight. Christianity is positively UNDER SIEGE, I tell you.

      • rawan says:

        To be fair to Alix, it depends where you are. Pretty unlikely in Europe or the Americas, but where I’m from originally (I’m from Egypt, but now studying in London) they are persecuted terribly. At home I shut down any anti-Christian slurs/sentiment that I come across: they respect our beliefs (I’m Muslim), so it’s only right to respect theirs, although many in my country seem to have different ideas, unfortunately. However, I would say that Christians in the US have nothing to worry about compared to their counterparts in the MENA and Asia.

      • Annetommy says:

        There are some parts of the world where Christians are having a pretty terrible time.

      • Franny says:

        Lyka – To echo other comments, in some parts of the world it is. It’s a religion, susceptible to persecution, just like any other.

    • Bridget says:

      Good grief. That’s not even close to true.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Right? Christians are a privileged group in this Judeo-Christian nation, but to some, equality- as in Christianity being open to criticism, parody, or mockery just like everything else- feels like oppression.

      • Lec0891 says:

        Yes, actually, Christians face persecution in many parts of the world. Sad that so many people do not realize this.

      • jwoolman says:

        ???? Haven’t you been reading the news from Egypt??!?

        Christians are not persecuted here in the United States. Some of them just think they are. They are the majority religion and some want to be the state religion (we will be battling President Pence on this point). We have other religions at risk here, although at times some Christian denominations have indeed been at risk in certain areas (the Ku Klux Klan originally targeted Catholics and Jews and immigrants in addition to blacks, for example).

        But there are indeed areas of the world where Christians really are currently at risk and where they are a minority. Sometimes all Christians are included, other times only certain denominations. This includes Christians who have been there since the earliest days in some areas (back when Europeans were not yet Christian), such as in Egypt I think. Some governments put serious restrictions on them because of their religion. In some cases it’s because of obnoxious proselytizing by foreign missionaries. But in other cases, it’s often because some particular religion (or some other Christian denomination, such as Russian Orthodox in Russia) is trying to push out other denominations even if they aren’t being obnoxious. Communist China and the USSR made life difficult for native Christians, but I think that counts as a competing religion thing. Communist Poland still had crucifixes in the public schools…… (Such contradictions!)

        Anyway, don’t assume that because some American Christians scream about fake persecution here, it can’t happen elsewhere. Every country has its own history in such matters.

  16. Chingona says:

    I am a Mexican who grew up in the Catholic Church but am no longer a practicing Catholic. I do not know about other Hispanic countries but in Mexico these candles are very important. There were diffident saints that were lit at different parts of the year or if there was a sickness, death, or other other problem in ones life. I am no longer a practicing Catholic so I am not offended but I think that even if you do not believe in God or do not agree how certain churches operate( like the Catholic Church, which is horrible in my opinion) you have to try to be respectful of others beliefs.

  17. msw says:

    The place I live is very, very Catholic and I see people using these prayer candles all the time in their own homes, especially older people ( go into about 20 homes a week for work). I had no idea celebrity veladoras were a thing. I’ve never seen one in anyone’s house before, or even a store, where they sell them at the grocery store for $1 a piece. I mean, obviously (or hopefully) people aren’t using those for prayer. Makes me wonder if that is something people do in places where people don’t use them for religious purposes so often.

  18. SleepyJane says:

    I have a set featuring each of The Golden Girls. My husband is Catholic as well as his family, and they aren’t offended in the least. I know they don’t speak for all Catholics.

  19. Chaine says:

    To me, this is one of those things where, if you are offended, then don’t buy the candle. Problem solved. If everyone person in the world avoided doing anything that was “disrespectful” to all the religions, we would be sitting motionless in our darkened houses all day wearing plastic wrap and subsisting on water and dandelion roots, and the human race would quickly die out due to celibacy.

  20. Bumfry says:

    Not keen ,but I really think offence is personal and it’s possible to be offended by anything. Notions of blasphemy and religious offense is a slippery slope leading to a whole heap of craziness, oppression and abuse

  21. JeanGrey says:

    I’m Puerto Rican and a practicing Catholic. I see stuff like this (with people being insensitive or disrespectful with others beliefs/traditions) but I’ve never been the type to give it too much of my energy, so all this gets from me is an eye roll and I move on. But people like my aunt and my parents would be totally offended by this. And a lot of these candles are used by Santeros and Yoruba in my culture so it’s not only Catholics that may be offended. Kim craves attention and is also a copycat. Beyonce recently did a performance where she dressed as an Orisha goddess. So I guess Kim needs to make herself out to be some deity/goddess too. Girl, bye…

    • jwoolman says:

      I think at least part of the offense really comes from realizing that the offenders think so little of you that they don’t mind hurting you by mocking something of importance to you. Religious practice is quite personal for some people and is part of their identity. .

      People who dismiss the legitimacy of that hurt feeling just haven’t yet had someone hit the right buttons to make them personally react that way. It doesn’t have to be about religion, we all have other buttons to push. (As anybody who has not blacked out the painful memories of school and dysfunctional family life certainly has experienced…. .)

      It’s impossible to avoid inadvertently hurting other people because we don’t know many people well enough to know what buttons are critical. But it’s important to listen when people say something like this hurts them and why. In the end, everybody really just wants to feel listened to and taken seriously and respected.

      People who have rejected their parents’ religion have to be especially careful not to assume that everybody with deeply held religious beliefs is a hypocritical xxxxx … Some are, some aren’t. Same outside of organized religion.

  22. Rose says:

    The way Mary is represented in any form in the catholic faith is very overdone and martialistic. Catholicism is very glamorous and all about image look at the Vatican. Its all about art, that’s how they sold the faith to people. It’s art, those images of Mary on the holy card with gold edging I was given a child are art. I don’t think it’s offensive. Lana del rey and many people that used the imagery of Mary for years.

    • MoreSalt says:

      “Catholicism is very glamorous and all about image”

      This is… slightly offensive? More offensive than Kim’s candles, that’s for sure.

      • Rose says:

        IT is I was in a super strict sect catholic school and trust me it is. I’m not saying the spiritual side is because that personal. I talking about the Catholic Church it self. The about of money and art that’s put in a Catholic Church for century’s is massive. Some of the best artists have worked for the church. Why do you think the new pope is loved so much, because he refuses to wear the highly decorated robeds. The Catholic Church and art have a very close connection and a lot of that art is very ornate. That’s just factual.

      • Bridget says:

        Rose, I’m not trying to be rude by making this assumption, but is English not your usual language and you’re just not making your argument clearly?

        Art and houses of worship are interconnected in many religions, not just Catholicism. To discuss that, you also need to discuss the historical context – the Catholic Church as a political power, the role of art in worship when the masses are illiterate, and of course the ability of the Church to commission the great masters. But what you’re saying literally goes against deeply held Catholic beliefs – the worship of the art as an idol. It may be a part of the house of worship, and from an era of leaders that were less than worshipful, but that doesn’t mean that it’s what Catholicism is all about.

      • Chaucer says:

        I see what Rose is saying. Historically, the Catholic Church (not faith, the Church and leadership itself) have been very monetarily oriented. It takes a lot of money to run and fund a Church that large. In the past, the Church funded large portions of famous renaissance art, and used said art to help promote their faith.

        And yes, most cathedrals, parishes, and other Catholic instutions or “trinkets” for lack of a better word, are very ornate. It seems like a lot but we truly try to build and decorate in the most beautiful fashion we can to celebrate our faith. No expense is too great when we’re worshipping God, so I’m sure comparatively we do spend far more on houses of worship than other religions might.
        Now there are many of us who would like to see the Church tone down the spending and push that money elsewhere. We just try to get our parish on board and hope it trickles up. Pope Francis has been wonderful in making strides as far as spending goes.

      • Bridget says:

        I disagree, because that supposes that parishes and normal worshippers hold the same values as those that built the cathedrals. Personally, I thought that was why people have responded so well to Pope Francis, because he hews much closer to how regular parishioners worship and hold values.

      • Chaucer says:

        Bridget, I think we’re saying the same thing. Parishioners are not the ones building or manufcturing the Catholic materials, we would worship in the open if necessary. But the money is there and that’s what is decided it’s used for. And of course if a statue of the blessed virgin Mary is old and tarnished, we’d ask tto replace it out of respect. However we don’t have much say in how the churches are built and what adornments are added. hence when I said many of us would like that money to go elsewhere and that Pope Francis has done a wonderful job in making strides towards that.

      • rose says:

        Thanks Bridget.
        Just because you don’t agree with my comments does not mean that you need to comment on my writing, grammar.That was unnecessary and unkind. Not everyone is as fortunate as you.

        PS if your ever have to write “I’m not being rude, but. “ , then you are being rude and maybe just don’t write it.

      • artistsnow says:

        Rose – you wrote very clearly and I understand what you are saying. I felt that way about the Jewish religion. In suburban America when I was a kid, it was about the new suit you wore to shul on the High Holy Days. I nervously confronted my Rabbi when I was in High School. He completely shut me down. It was awful because my cynicism only grew.

        Right now in 2017 celebrities are ‘using’ religion all over the place. Like Madonna and the red string. I still don’t completely understand her relationship with the Jewish religion, BUT, I do know that Judaism allows everyone to pray, and follow the ‘laws’ a little or alot. It is all sizes fit all.

        Those gold trimmed cards are beautiful art but also held a spiritual significance for someone. Or maybe not. Either way it’s all good.

    • jwoolman says:

      That art was created when the Church was part of the political scene and a major part of the culture. Of course they used their resources for art – they were a major patron of artists, nobility also did the same. Nobility and church hierarchy were actually often one and the same. I figure that the money would have just been used for war otherwise…. Times really haven’t really changed in that respect.

      But the ornate buildings and such are not typically modern. In the United States, you
      might find an old Cathedral constructed in the ornate style but modern Catholic churches are generally simple buildings. I’ve never seen ornate vestments on priests either here. Different colors for the different liturgical seasons, but that’s all. Gold was used for certain things used in the Mass and other rituals (chalices, or something to hold the large Host in some cases), but nothing else. The American Catholic Church actually has a long history of charity and support for social justice, it was the church of immigrants.

    • Franny says:

      Wow, Rose. Way to shit on an incredibly important belief system for millions of people.

  23. Bridget says:

    I want to meet the person that had to keep a straight face when Kim proposed herself as the Virgin Mary.

  24. Tan says:

    K, as most indian dance form have people dancing as the Gods. There is always people doing diff signature pose of Gods and Goddesses and Hindus have prevailed on thr face of a lot of appropriation and criticism and being made fun of.

    However if a religious Item was being marketed the way Kim tries to market this candlr, I think Hindus will be offended too.

    Imagine an Sacred Lamp being sold with face of Rakhi Sawant ( sort of Indian Kardashian has been) on it?

  25. Asiyah says:

    I’m Latina Muslim and I don’t like this one bit. You don’t have to agree with Christianity or love the Virgin Mary but show some respect.

  26. Anilehcim says:

    I was raised Catholic but feel very disconnected from the religion these days. However, I think that a lot of people will just view this as yet another tasteless thing done by the constantly tasteless/classless Kardashian klan. I really feel like the large majority holds such a low opinion of them that anything they do won’t really outrage, but just bring on an eye roll and a head shake because they’re just expected to be so trashy and have no respect or clue for anyone else or any other culture/religion. To put it bluntly, I think they’re all pretty much regarded as “bimbos”, superficial idiots without a clue who are obsessed with how they look and don’t go any deeper than that. I don’t think their opinion on much is really valued, especially at this point when their careers seem to be waning.

  27. Dumbledork says:

    If she picked any other religion, and imitated their god, it would be a different story. If she put herself on the cover of a koran, or made a bedazzled Kim menorah, I have a feeling the outrage would be tenfold.

    • Lauren says:

      I have feeling you’re right. Well said.

    • CooCoo Catchoo says:

      Katy Perry was called out just a few days ago for posting a illustration of Kali and Shiva on her social media account. Several of her Hindu fans took an offense to it.
      I was raised Catholic, and grew up surrounded by iconography of the Holy Family and saints. Fascinated me and spooked me out at the same time. Now I make and sell retablos and blinged-out art created with upcycled vintage Catholic iconography on Etsy. I love what these images represent, and hope that people still use them to meditate on the holy person they represent. I would never superimpose Kim K’s face over that of the Madonna, though. That to me is disrespectful. I would never attempt to alter a Hindu image, either. I’m not Hindu, and that would be cultural appropriation (and disrespectful).

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Christians and Catholics are not a marginalized minority group of people in the West, they’re historically privileged group here. Hindu and Muslim people, depending on race and nationality, experience discrimination not just because their religion is ‘other’ than Christianity, but because both are religions associated with non-white, non-American people- there’s the added layer of xenophobia and racism they experience here that Christians and Catholics don’t. Kim Kardashian is a Christian* American using imagery from a dominant western Christian religion. That’s not cultural appropriation because Christianity is a strong (often way too damn strong) part of the culture Kim K is actually a part of: American Culture.
      @CoocooCachoo: You talk about how disrespectful it is for people with ties to Christianity from a Christian country to put celebrity faces on Christian imagery, but upthread you felt it was perfectly respectful to refer to women as skanks. This sort of thing is kind of an example of why, as someone who’s not just agnostic, but also a feminist, bisexual, and a woman, I’m not her for the argument that taking religious beliefs and symbols seriously is something we ‘owe’ Christians. Religion has normalized the disrespect of everybody who doesn’t live by its rules about gender and sexuality, and couches different prejudices and policies in ‘religious freedom/My Right To My Beliefs’ rhetoric, but demands ‘respect’ from everyone else that’s really just special treatment. I’m gonna pass on that.

      • jwoolman says:

        Just an historical note: Catholics weren’t always well accepted here in many places in the US. They developed the parochial school system because the public schools were blatantly Protestant and so many teachers felt Catholic immigrant kids were inherently stupid and expected nothing good from them. Catholics were in many cases the servant class, and at least through my adolescence Catholic Churches still offered very early Masses on Sunday (6am) along with later ones, originally done so servants could attend Mass before they had to prepare breakfast for their Protestant employers. Nowadays it’s useful for people getting off night shift or needing to leave for the day shift.

        Catholics were targeted originally by the Ku Klux Klan along with immigrants in general. Don’t underestimate the strength of anti-Catholicism in many places, which was also connected with dislike of immigrants of the wrong ethnic groups. When John Kennedy ran for President in 1960, Protestant pastors around our town were preaching from the pulpit about the dangers of a papist in the Presidency, claiming the Pope would be running the country. They had the names of their sermons prominently placed on billboards outside their churches. We found anti-Catholic pamphlets on our lawn regularly. The same town acted downright joyful when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963.

        Times have changed quite a bit, and nobody seriously blinked at a Catholic Vice President and a Catholic VP candidate in recent times. But there is a history there that shouldn’t be forgotten too quickly. And remember that a particular denomination like the Catholic Church has some clout simply because there are a lot of Catholics in the US now. Worldwide, half of Christians are Catholic. Protestants are mainly dispersed over a lot of denominations and their congregations tend to be smaller and more self-selected, although people will still identify as a particular type of Protestant even if not actively affiliated with a particular church. But in either case, any political power really comes from the number of people (voters) identifying with them.

    • Franny says:

      Otaku Fairy, you’re politicising this. At the end of the day, Catholicism is a belief system no different from Islam or any other organised religion. If Hindus deserve respect for their beliefs, so do Christians. This stunt is inappropriate at best.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Religion has always been- and probably always will be- political. Christians, Hindus, Muslims, etc. are entitled to have their right to practice their religion respected, and are entitled to the same level of respect as anyone else, but beliefs aren’t automatically owed respect or sacred treatment from ALL PEOPLE just because they’re beliefs or viewed as sacred. And that works both ways- it’s fine for people to not treat atheism or agnosticism as something sacred or above parody too. If Kim Kardashian had done something like this with the Hindu religion, my concern wouldn’t be about her not treating something associated with religion as sacred. It would be about cultural appropriation. But if Alia Bhatt did it, neither would be a concern.

  28. Cactholic says:

    She (and others) are appropriating the Catholic culture for profit and disrespecting the intention of the candles and the image of the Immaculate Heart. That would be the specific name of the icon they are appropriating. So, no, it’s not just an image of them as the Blessed Mother, it is a very specific image representing an important devotional.

    Doing something like this implies that the culture, tradition, and spirituality surrounding it is not worthy of respect or understanding. That it is a commodity to be marketed, rather than a beautiful devotion to be studied and understood and celebrated.

  29. Littlestar says:

    I think she’s trying to pull of the diva candle like Mariah Carey did, but that’s a no from me dawg. Sorry Kim, you’re no MC.

  30. courtney says:

    well Kim isn’t a Catholic she’s an Armenian Orthodox Christian who barely even practices so she wouldn’t understand the significance of the devotion to the immaculate heart of the blessed Virgin Mary it’s the same with saints on their feast day as for example April 28th is the feast of St Gianna Baretta Molla who died on that day in 1962 after the birth of her youngest daughter Gianna Emanuela a week earlier she is the Patron of mothers Physicians and unborn children

  31. Cherrypie says:

    Her left eye looks….off

  32. Lapatita19 says:

    I grew in a Mexican Catholic household, and I find this extremely offensive. In Mexico the Virgin De Guadalupe is highly loved. She has her own day of celebration. She is appropriating Latin American culture for her own gain. I don’t understand how many of you can be outraged when people appropriate Native-American or African-American culture, but it is okay when they do it to Latinos. The Virgin Mary is the most highly regarded, and loved saint in Mexico. She messed with the wrong person.

  33. lobbit says:

    I’m agnostic and terribly wary of all organized religion…but I grew up (mostly) Catholic and I think this is in poor taste. Would totally understand if others found this offensive.

  34. Pandy says:

    I’m more interested in her new perfume: Desperation 2.0.

  35. blonde555 says:

    Holy heavy photoshop and filter. The pic with Kanye looks like he’s standing next to a blurred extra lightened alien.

  36. Paula says:

    Roman Catholic here.
    The candle is offensive, but it is even more offensive to portray yourself as Virgin Mary when you’re not Virgin Mary. It’s heresy. It’s mocking a sacred saint and mocking someone’s beliefs and religion.

    I thought Kim Kardashian was only insane and tasteless, now I realize she’s a bad person. She has no character. She learned nothing from that robbery, she’s still a vain, empty person with no soul.

  37. Paris says:

    Thisis so so so so so STUPID!

  38. teacakes says:

    I’m not Catholic but I think this is in appallingly poor taste and appropriative of Latin American culture to boot.

    I don’t have any truck with organised religion but I do think it’s an asshole move to deface a religious icon for profit, which is what she’s done here. Katy Perry’s Kali mood instagram pic was more benign than this and even she came under fire.

  39. nyc rich says:

    What’s next, selling a kanye crucifix. Actually makes more sense

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