the new frida kahlo barbie doll is problematic
The internet was quick to point out its flaws on IWD 2018.
Image via Twitter
It’s only been 24 hours since International Women’s Day and already there’s a scandal over Mattel’s Frida Kahlo Barbie -- one of a series created in honour of the day. And it’s not even over the fact that it looks nothing like Frida Kahlo whatsoever.
Before the doll has even been released the artist’s estate has spoken out, saying that it was not approved by them. Mara Romeo, Frida’s great-niece, currently owns the rights to her estate, and posted about the shady situation on Twitter.
“We trust that if the company Mattel was the victim of a deception and/or its improper acting derives from previous ignorance about ownership of the aforementioned rights, it will immediately regulate the situation with the understanding that, if not, we will see ourselves in the imperative need to take the necessary measures to safeguard the intellectual property rights that assist us on the image of Frida Kahlo”, they wrote.
Which is basically a very long-winded way of saying they are not very happy at all. Considering the doll was intended to honour Frida’s work and legacy, it hasn’t gotten off to a terrific start. Intellectual property rights aside, it’s also been criticised for westernising Frida’s appearance iconic by removing her facial hair, lightening her skin and erasing her disability. That’s not to mention the fact that Frida -- a staunch Communist who’s had to posthumously endure her likeness being plastered across everything from tote bags to oven gloves -- probably wouldn’t be very into a massive corporation mass producing, selling, and profiting off her.
Frida’s doll is part of Barbie’s new Inspiring Women range, a batch of new toys based on real-life inspirational figures, including Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, and Katherine Johnson, a maths pioneer honoured in the critically acclaimed film Hidden Figures. Let’s just hope they got permission to use those likenesses too…
This article originally appeared on i-D UK.