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Frida Kahlo’s Family Is Upset That The Company Behind Barbie Erased Her Wheelchair And Monobrow

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.


Read: Frida Kahlo’s Most Trusted Makeup Items And Lingerie Will Be On Full Display At A London Museum Soon

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I Replaced Accounts That Made Me Aspire to Look a Certain Way I Couldn’t Naturally With Ones That Inspired Me To Flaunt My Body

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I Replaced Accounts That Made Me Aspire to Look a Certain Way I Couldn’t Naturally With Ones That Inspired Me To Flaunt My Body

Lately, I’ve been fielding direct messages and comments on my Instagram insinuating that I’m a curve model. “You’re my favorite curvy influencer,” read one DM. “You should really have a bigger following for your work,” commented another, “my work” being the photos my friends take of me and not the public writing I do for a living. This kind, though misguided, commentary started taking place as I began increasingly posting photos of myself that revealed skin, shots in bathing suits, crop tops and shorts, over the last few months. Before then, my pictures showed me in t-shirts, long-sleeve tops and jeans, clothes that covered up all my jiggly body parts. There are a lot of reasons behind my recent interest in switching up my wardrobe and showing more carne — I moved to a city with a warmer climate, my income has increased and I wanted to glow up after a bad breakup — but the biggest motivation might actually be the very platform where I’m receiving all these messages: Instagram, or rather my community on the social network that has inspired me to embrace my figure as it is.

Social media, especially image-driven platforms like Instagram, aren’t always safe for women like me, those who are in recovery from an eating disorder. In the seven years that I’ve been using the app, I’ve noticed myself participating in some unhealthy behaviors, from following women I wish I looked like and obsessively comparing all of my flaws with their assets to perusing through fitness hashtags that I know could lead me back down a scary path of over-exercising. Because of this, over the years, I’ve taken a few breaks from social media and have done a whole lot of unfollowing accounts that make me feel bad about myself and my appearance. Not too long ago, I began replacing those accounts that made me aspire to look a certain way I couldn’t naturally with ones that inspired me to accept and flaunt my body as it is.

From body liberation pages like Nalgona Positive Pride, to fat acceptance writers like Virgie Tovar and Yesika Salgado to conscious curve models like Denise Bidot and Vanessa Romo, my Instagram feed was sending me messages that reified my morning affirmations and midday mantras: my body, in its natural state, is whole, is good, is beautiful. These digital notes were particularly helpful on days when I was already feeling good or indifferent about myself. But during the times when I was so deep in my body image funk, feeling like complete shit to the point that ignoring my ED’s begs to return to bad habits felt impossible, they weren’t as useful. If my parents telling me my entire life how beautiful I am didn’t prevent, or stop, me from harming myself into a figure I thought was acceptable, then messages, however nice the typography is, directed to a mass audience and created by someone who doesn’t know me, what I look like or what I’m struggling with definitely aren’t going to deter me from self-hate.

In those moments, I needed community — people who knew me, folks who understood what it’s like to fall asleep every night with tears of self-loath, friends who were honest with me, loved ones who cared about my best interests and well-being, femmes who saw me, all of me, and still genuinely thought that I was bomb af. You don’t get that with a meme floating around on Instagram, but I learned about two years ago that you can achieve that when you use the digital platform to build a real network of supportive and empowering girlfriends.

That’s my Instagram community: my mamis who celebrate my wins, whether they’re related to economics, career, relationships, mental health or miscellaneous goals like learning how to ignite a lighter, hold me when I’m broken and big me up just for being me on any given day. With their constant reminders to “fuck it up,” “get it” and “werk” or feel-good jokes that they are “dead,” having “palpitations” or don’t know how they’re going to “put out the fire” from my photos, they inspire me to buy more clothes that accentuate, not disguise, my figure, to pose for a camera with confidence, to believe, even if just for a few days, hours or minutes, that I, too, am beautiful, to embrace this body, this face, this struggle always — because it’s mine.

I’m not a curve model, but I am a curvy woman who has modeled her Instagram off of the love, affirmations and boldness of a beautiful community that holds me down day in and day out.

Read: Latinas Opened Up About Their Complicated Relationships With Their Thighs And Here’s What Happened

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After His Wife’s Death, Diego Rivera Tried To Hide The Fact That Frida Kahlo Had Other Sexual Partners But It Didn’t Work

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After His Wife’s Death, Diego Rivera Tried To Hide The Fact That Frida Kahlo Had Other Sexual Partners But It Didn’t Work

During her lifetime, acclaimed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo was not only renowned for her breathtaking surrealist paintings. She was also known for being a passionate lover with an insatiable appetite. An unabashed bisexual, Kahlo was notorious for her extramarital affairs with partners of both genders during her lifetime. Allegedly, Kahlo’s motto regarding sex was: “make love, take a bath, make love again”. In celebration of Kahlo’s liberated love life, we’ve compiled the definitive list of Frida Kahlo’s sexual conquests (that we know of). Take a peek below!

1. Diego Rivera

@fridaintima/Instagram

Of course, we must start this list off with Kahlo’s primary partner and the self-professed love of her life, Diego Rivera. When Kahlo and Rivera married in 1929, many regarded him as an unusual choice of a husband. Not only was he 20 years her senior, but he was a notorious womanizer and grossly overweight, to boot. In fact, Kahlo’s parents dubbed the couple “the elephant and the dove” due to their size contrast. Despite their differences, Kahlo and Rivera were married for 25 years (not including a one-year period of divorce) and considered each other soulmates. She even wrote a poem about him, describing their all-consuming relationship: “Diego in my urine—Diego in my mouth—in my heart. In my madness. In my dreams”.

2. Chavela Vargas

@chavelavargas/Instagram

As we mentioned before, Kahlo was bisexual and enjoyed experiencing the carnal pleasures both men and women had to offer. One of these women was famous lesbian singer Chavela Vargas. According to reports, Vargas and Kahlo began a passionate affair sometime in the 1940s when they met at a party. Later in life, Vargas would refer to Kahlo as her “great love” and wrote about her extensively in her autobiography. As for Frida, she was evidently smitten with Vargas as well. In a letter to a friend, she wrote: “Today I met Chavela Vargas. An extraordinary woman, a lesbian, and what’s more, I desire her…Was she a gift sent to me from heaven?”.

3. Leon Trotsky

@mx.city_/Instagram

Leon Trostky was a Marxist philosopher and politician who, with the help of Diego Rivera, fled the USSR to Mexico to escape Stalin. Because of Rivera’s deep commitment to the Communist cause, he insisted Trotsky and his wife Natalia stay with him and Frida for safety reasons. They ended up staying for two years. It was at Rivera and Kahlo’s residence, the famous “Casa Azul”, that Trostky and Kahlo began an affair. Upon hearing of the infidelity, Rivera became enraged. Rivera was tolerant of Kahlo’s same-sex dalliances, but her heterosexual conquests made him insanely jealous. Trostky and his wife left La Casa Azul in 1939. A year later, Trotsky was murdered in Mexico by Stalinists who were threatened by Trotsky’s controversial views.

4. Georgia O’Keeffe

@leeds_david/Instagram.

Kahlo had a complicated relationship with successful American artist Georgia O’Keefe that was a mixture of both awe and jealousy. In a letter to a friend about a trip she took to New York in 1939, Kahlo reveals that she and O’Keefe engaged in at least a sexual relationship, stating: “O’Keeffe was in the hospital for three months, she went to Bermuda for a rest. She didn’t make love to me that time, I think on account of her weakness. Too bad.”

5. Nickolas Muray

@feministsrising/Instagram

Hungarian-born photographer Nickolas Muray was one of the men that Kahlo engaged in the longest affair with, their relationship lasting, on and off, for over 10 years. Their affair began in 1931 when Muray was working in Mexico. According to love letters between them unearthed in the 1990s, their relationship was incredibly passionate. At one point, Kahlo wrote: “I miss every movement of your being, your voice, your eyes, your hands, your beautiful mouth, your laugh so clear and honest. YOU. I love you my Nick. I am so happy to think I love you –to think you wait for me– you love me”. According to reports, Muray wanted to marry Kahlo, but she was intent on keeping him as a lover, not a husband. Although they ended their affair in 1941, they remained good friends until her death in 1954.

6. Paulette Goddard

@tijana_digs_classics/Instagram

Paulette Goddard was an American actress most famous for starring in Charlie Chaplin films and later marrying him. Goddard is primarily known for having an affair with Diego Rivera, but many historians agree that she likely had a physical relationship with Frida as well. Although Kahlo was no doubt jealous of the affair between Rivera and Goddard, she also regarded Goddard as a friend and was sexually attracted to her. Many biographers of Frida Kahlo conjecture that Kahlo’s affairs with Rivera’s mistresses were a means for her to reclaim some authority within their relationship. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, Kahlo’s relationship with Goddard was deep enough for her to paint a still life in her honor. The 1941 painting was entitled “The flower basket”.

7. Isamu Noguchi

@noguchimuseum/Instagram

Isamu Noguchi was a Japanese-American sculptor who was both popular in the Mexican art scene when they started their affair in the mid-1930s. They had a short-lived, passionate physical relationship that drove Diego Rivera mad with jealousy. In Hayden Herrera’s seminal biographical work of Kahlo, “Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo”, Herrera recounts a story of Noguchi escaping a tryst between him and Kahlo by climbing down a tree outside the patio. The next time Rivera saw him, he threatened Noguchi with a gun. Although their affair was brief, Kahlo and Noguchi remained friends until her death

8. Tina Modotti

@graziagrace18/Instagram

Tina Modotti was an Italian model, actress, photographer, and political activist that was good friends with Frida throughout her life. Like many of Frida’s same-sex relationships, she was introduced to Modotti through her husband Diego as one of his mistresses. However, Kahlo and Modotti quickly became the closer of the husband and wife couple and became lovers and good friends. Modotti was portrayed by Ashely Judd in the Salma Hayek-starring biopic “Frida” in 2002, one of the only female lovers of Frida’s depicted in the movie.

9. Alejandro Gomez Arias

@agnezus/Instagram

Alejandro Gomez Arias was Kahlo’s first love and arguably the catalyst for Kahlo’s initial burst of artistic creativity. After getting in a violent bus accident in 1925 with Arias–an accident that mangled her body and left her with lifelong chronic pain–Frida was left bedridden and immobile for months. During this time, Kahlo was so frightened that Arias would lose interest in her that she created her first painting entitled “Self-Portrait in a Velvet Dress” as a gift to him and an attempt to keep him interested. Unfortunately, the painting didn’t work, and she and Arias ended their relationship shortly after.

10. Jacqueline Lamba

@repaint.history/Instagram

Jacqueline Lamba was a French painter and the wife of famous writer and poet, André Breton. Kahlo met Lamba through her husband’s friendship with Breton. Although Kahlo found Breton “insufferable”, she became close to his wife and was “intimate” with her according to contemporary friends’ accounts. In fact, the relationship between Lamba and Kahlo was another of Frida’s same-sex relationships that inspired her creatively. Kahlo created the iconic  “The Bride Frightened at Seeing Life Opened” painting after being inspired by Lamba’s recount of her traumatic wedding night.

11. Heinz Berggruen

@dagmar_v_taube/Instagram

Heinz Berggruen was an art collector, art dealer, and a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany when he met Frida Kahlo in 1940. Before he was introduced to her, he was told by Diego Rivera: “You will meet my wife and you will fall in love with her”. He had a short love affair with Frida in New York in 1940 when he was only 25 years old and she was 32.  Berggruen, who lived to be 93 and died in 2007, said of his 6-week relationship with Kahlo, that she considered it “very freeing”, as she had just divorced her husband, Diego Rivera. Although he was a famous art collect and critique, Berggruen claims he never saw any of Frida’s work or talked to her about it while they were together. Of Frida, Berggruen said: “I met Frida Kahlo the woman, and that was enough for me”.

12. Josephine Baker

@costumeinspiration/Instagram

Josephine Baker was an African-American singer and dancer who moved to Paris to escape discrimination. Baker and Kahlo met in 1939, right after Frida had separated from Diego. She traveled to Paris for an exhibition of her paintings where photographic evidence documents at least one of her meetings with Baker. While Frida was openly bisexual and proud of her relationships, Josephine was much more secretive about her affairs with women and denied them publically. However, her son, Jean-Claude Baker, later confirmed his mother’s affairs with women, referring to them as her “lady lovers”.

13. Jose Bartoli

@fridaintima/Instagram

Jose Bartoli was a Spanish painter whom Frida met on one of her many trips to New York City. They had a secret three-year affair from 1946 to 1949 that was primarily conducted through letter-writing. Their relationship developed an iconic, public status when their letters were put up for auction in 2015 by his family. In one of her letters addressed to Bartloi, Kahlo wrote: “Last night I felt as if many wings caressed me all over as if your fingertips had mouths that kissed my skin”. According to Kahlo’s primary biographer, Hayden Herrera, she believes Kahlo “would have left [Diego Rivera] in order to live with Bartoli” and her love for Bartoli was “passionate, carnal, tender and maternal”


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