The squabbles surrounding the Frida Kahlo Barbie doll that had you feeling all kinds of conflicted last month have resurfaced this week after a Mexican judge issued an injunction stopping the sales of the icon.
Last week, a judge from Mexico City blocked a company that is associated with Mattel Inc from using Frida Kahlo’s image for sales.
Se informa al público en general: / To whom it may concern: pic.twitter.com/DljBNX2H9q
— Frida Kahlo (@FridaKahlo) April 19, 2018
Last month, Mattel, the toy manufacturing brand which produces the Barbie doll, set off a legion of disputes across and off the internet when it announced that it had launched a line of Barbie dolls inspired by historical women that included Kahlo. In the weeks following the announcement, fans of the artist’s work proved themselves to be divided on the doll. While some celebrated the company’s decision to introduce the iconic feminist to young girls and bring color and diversity to its lineup, others lambasted the company for misrepresenting the artist’s image for the sake of capatilism, a system the Mexican-painter had vehemently opposed throughout her lifetime. Noticeably absent from the Kahlo doll were features of the artist regularly depicted in her self-portraits including her bold eyebrow and wheelchair.
Vocal critics of the doll included actress Salma Hayek who portrayed the artist in a 2002 biopic depiction of her life as well as some members of Kahlo’s family.
Kahlo’s family, who have wrangled over the ownership of the artist’s estate for years, demanded the company stop production on the doll or issue a redesign.
In an interview about the doll and the family’s legal dispute over who owns the rights to Kahlo’s estate, Mara Romeo Pinedo— the great-niece of Kahlo who claims to have rights over the artist’s image— explained “You don’t turn a doll into Frida Kahlo by putting flowers in its hair and giving it a colorful dress… It doesn’t have a real Mexican costume. It doesn’t have a unibrow.”
Romeo furthered her complaint by explaining that Mattel never received her permission to use her image for their product.
After Romeo took legal action against the company for using Kahlo’s image and name to make the doll, the family’s official Twitter account, @FridaKahlo, announced that a Mexico City -based judge had ordered the Frida Kahlo Corporation to stop using the “brand, image and work of the illustrious painter Frida Kahlo” without the permission of Romeo. The Frida Kahlo Corporation is a business separately owned from Romeo by another niece of Frida’s, Isolda Pineda. According to a statement made by Mattel the company received permission to create the doll from Pineda’s company over a decade ago.