Frida Kahlo: Row erupts over Barbie doll based on artist


Her family is complaining about the lack of resemblance that the doll bears to the real artist and is alleging that Mattel did not have permission to use her image.

"Mattel has worked in close partnership with the Frida Kahlo Corporation, the owner of all rights related to the name and identity of Frida Kahlo, on the creation of this doll", a spokesperson said. "How could they turn her into a Barbie", Hayek wrote, with two thumbs down and a "body image" hashtag.

Mattel defended itself in a statement, and said it had obtained the rights.

"I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida's, not this doll with light-colored eyes", Romeo told AFP.

"The company Mattel does not have the proper authorization to use the image of Frida Kahlo", it added, threatening to take "necessary measures" against the California-based toymaker.

In addition to the modern-day role models included in the brand's Sheroes line (Chloe Kim, Patty Jenkins, Bindi Irwin, and others), Mattel introduced its "Inspiring Women" collection, which focuses on historical figures, and features aviator Amelia Earhart, artist Frida Kahlo, and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.

Indeed, the doll in question is very far from the complex artist Hayek portrayed 16 years ago. The corporation, which now operates separately from the Kahlo family, said Mattel received rights from the painter's niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, who died in 2007.

Mrs Romeo told AFP news agency that the problem was not confined to image rights.

Critics have complained that the doll does not reflect Kahlo's heavy, almost conjoined eyebrows or unibrow, and they say its costume does not accurately portray the elaborate Tehuana-style dresses the artist wore. "It should be a doll that represents everything my aunt represented, her strength".

'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, ' Mr Sangri said.

Critics took to social media about the Kahlo doll, stating that it doesn't exactly reflect Kahlo in image either, expressing that her almost conjoined eyebrows are not accurately portrayed, her figure was not truthful and that the costume worn is not similar in respects to the Tehuana-style dresses the artist wore.