No one likes to hear “I told you so,” but boy does the internet ( / me) sure love to say it. And it looks like this week, we’re getting another chance to do so.
For those of you who don’t remember, Mattel, the toy manufacturing brand behind, Barbie made an announcement last week that they’d be distributing a doll inspired by Frida Kahlo. A good portion of the internet (including me) was unimpressed, to say the least. Particularly when pics of the doll were released. Images of the Frida Kahlo Barbie doll revealed that the new doll did little in the way to accurately match up with Kahlo’s appearance and likeness. “It doesn’t even look like her!” we said! “Where’s her wheelchair?!” we cried. “Why is Barbie doing this to us!?!” we asked pleading for an answer.
Turns out, the Mexicana’s family was also nonplussed and upset to see the toy company’s rendition of the artist.
Members of Kahlo’s family are coming for Mattel and claiming that it has sanitized Kahlo’s story, body, and message.
Kahlo’s great-niece, Mara Romeo Pinedo, is the current holder of the Frida Kahlo brand rights and has pointed out how the doll falters in its attempt to highlight the power and significance of Kahlo’s role in furthering women. Mattel announced the launch of the Frida doll as part of an “Inspiring Women” campaign which also included mathematician Katherine Johnson and the pilot Amelia Earhart.
“You don’t turn a doll into Frida Kahlo by putting flowers in its hair and giving it a colorful dress,” Romeo told the Telegraph in an interview about the doll. “It doesn’t have a real Mexican costume. It doesn’t have a unibrow.”
Since Mattel’s announcement, Romeo has threatened to proceed with legal action. “They do not have authorization to use her image,” Romeo said in the interview while underlining that the company had never received her permission to use her image for their product.
Kahlo’s family has reportedly only demanded a redesign from Mattel, not money. In a statement about the doll, the family’s attorney explained that “The doll should have to match what the artist really was.”
The Kahlo family aren’t the only ones upset with the design.
Salma Hayek, who portrayed the beloved painter in the film “Frida,” recently shared her opinions of the doll on Instagram. In a post to her account, the Mexican actress wrote, “She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie.”
Here! Here! Fingers crossed the Frida Kahlo brand will be able to rectify the situation and provide girls with a doll that is as close to bad ass as a Barbie of the artist can possibly get.