Is it Back to the Drawing Board for Frida Kahlo?

By Dolline Mukui.

Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, are under fire from the relatives of Frida Kahlo. Mattel recently released dolls to their inspiring women series. Alongside Frida Kahlo is Amelia Earhart, an aviation pioneer and Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician.

Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist who painted self-portraits. She was also known for being a feminist, her iconic long dark monobrow and her pride in donning a light mustache.

Kahlo’s great niece, Mara de Anda Romeo states that the toy company do not have the rights to use her images. However, that is disputed by Mettel, as they express, ‘The Frida Kahlo Corporation actively participated in the process of designing the doll, Mattel has its permission and a legal contract that grants it the rights to make a doll of the great Frida Kahlo’.

De Anda Romeo is requesting for the doll to be redesigned. The statement by her lawyer, Pablo Sangri, says ‘We will talk to them about regularising this situation, and by regularising I mean talking about the appearance of the doll, its characteristics, the history the doll should have to match what the artist really was’.

As Frida was a communist and feminist, those who knew what she stood for would have never seen her associated with a product, let alone a Barbie doll. This has left some people irritated because what she worked so hard for is now linked with toy that has been criticised for producing unrealistic body expectations.

Photo: Mattel

We have to understand that this release was intended to coincide with International women’s day on March 8th, a time where women show their strength both individually and in unison.

Although their use of Frida’s image is up for debate, I think that it shouldn’t be overlooked that Mattel’s intentions were for the greater good; to create modern and historical role models for present children and generations to come. It’s to inspire them so that they can say ‘I can do it too’ regardless of societal pressures.


Dolline recently graduated with an MA in Broadcast Journalism. She is an ITV Breaking into News finalist whereby she reported on the Manchester Arena attack. Currently she is a voluntary co-host/contributor on a show called a ‘Chat with Elle Celeste’. She also has a blog, where she talks about her life and travels.

Twitter: @ceraz_x

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