Protests erupt over new Frida Kahlo Barbie

Joann Johnston
March 12, 2018

She celebrated her uniqueness.

According to The New York Times, the artist's great-niece, Mara de Anda Romeo, said Mattel doesn't own the rights to reproduce Kahlo's image.

Hayek played Kahlo in "Frida."

Pablo Sangri, a lawyer for the family, said his client didn't seek money, but wanted Mattel to talk about redesigning.

Mattel announced on Wednesday, March 7 that Kahlo, a painter known for her searingly intimate portraits as well as her defiantly unplucked eyebrows, would be included in its newest collection of Barbie dolls.

Frida Kahlo's family released a statement through Instagram claiming that Mattel does not have proper authorization to produce a Barbie doll in Kahlo's likeness.

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Critics took to social media about the Kahlo doll, stating that it doesn't exactly reflect Kahlo in image either, expressing that her almost conjoined eyebrows are not accurately portrayed, her figure was not truthful and that the costume worn is not similar in respects to the Tehuana-style dresses the artist wore.

'We will talk to them about regularising this situation, and by regularising I mean talking about the appearance of the doll, its characteristics, the history the doll should have to match what the artist really was, ' Mr Sangri said. "Mattel secured permission and worked in close partnership with the Frida Kahlo Corporation, the owner of all rights related to Frida Kahlo, to make this doll".

Mattel defended itself in a statement, and said it had obtained the rights.

"#FridaKahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else". After a long survey that suggested mothers were unhappy that their kids do not have dolls with real inspiring women whom they would aspire to be, the big toy corporation launched 17 new models.

Romeo says that her main concern with Mattel's doll is not just the legality of it, but also what she feels is an inaccurate representation of the late artist.

The company made a decision to highlight women such as Kahlo, a bisexual Mexican artist, Earhart, the first female aviator to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean, and Johnson, the NASA mathematician featured in the film "Hidden Figures". The "Sheros" line already boasts dolls that look like ballerina Misty Copeland, gymnast Gabby Douglas and actress Emmy Rossum.

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