Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Culture | By Stewart Greene

Salma Hayek doesn't approve of Frida Kahlo's Barbie doll

Salma Hayek doesn't approve of Frida Kahlo's Barbie doll

"Mattel has worked in close partnership with the Frida Kahlo Corporation, the owner of all rights related to the name and identity of Frida Kahlo, on the creation of this doll", it said in a statement. On Sunday, Salma Hayek-who won an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of the iconic artist in 2002-took to Instagram with some brief but cutting words of disappointment.

A dispute has erupted over toy company Mattel's new Frida Kahlo Barbie doll, with the late Mexican artist's family and a Miami-based corporation arguing over who holds the rights to her image.

"I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida's, not this doll with light-colored eyes..."

Mattel celebrated International Women's Day by announcing the release of several new Barbie dolls modeled after real-life figures. She celebrated her uniqueness.

It was perhaps an unlikely choice for the maker of the famously buxom blonde doll, given that Kahlo was known for upending gender norms and traditional ideas about how women should look and act.

Indeed, the doll in question is very far from the complex artist Hayek portrayed 16 years ago. Kahlo's great-niece Mara de Anda Romeo said, "You don't turn a doll into Frida Kahlo by putting flowers in its hair and giving it a colorful dress", in an interview with Telegraph.

She may not have approved of being cast as a variety of Barbie, the best-selling doll whose image Mattel has updated so as to address criticism that in body type and lifestyle it had perpetuated damaging stereotypes about women. "And by regularizing I mean talking about the appearance of the doll, its characteristics, the history the doll should have to match what the artist really was".

Released just ahead of International Women's Day, the "Inspiring Women" collection includes dolls based on Kahlo, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson and other historic figures.

Hayek was not the only one who raised her concern about Kahlo's image being used by a big corporate house.

In a statement, the Frida Kahlo Corporation said it, "celebrates the ideological contributions of Frida Kahlo which have transcended the borders of art and which will influence new generations as a world icon through the Frida Kahlo Barbie, which conserves the essence of Barbie and the legacy of Frida Kahlo".

Like this: