After years of receiving backlash for promoting "unreal" body image and beauty standards among children, on International Women's Day 2018, Mattel, the creators of Barbie, finally came out with dolls to honour real icons.
"As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women's Day, because we know that you can't be what you can't see", Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, stated in a press release.
But Kahlo's family soon issued a statement objecting to the doll.
Mattel said in a statement that it worked with the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corp "which owns all the rights", and that the doll strikes a balance to "conserve the essence of Barbie and the legacy of Frida Kahlo". Beatriz Alvarado, a spokeswoman for the Frida Kahlo Corporation, said by telephone on Friday that the company had been formed by people who secured rights to market Kahlo's name and likeness after paying a fee in 2005 to Isolda Pineda Kahlo, one of the artist's nieces.
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Romeo says that her main concern with Mattel's doll is not just the legality of it, but also what she feels is an inaccurate representation of the late artist.
Salma Hayek, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Kahlo in 2002's "Frida", chimed in on Instagram Sunday, blasting the doll for going against everything Kahlo stood for.
That is, it's more Barbie-like than Frida-like. She celebrated her uniqueness. Fans of the painter have also criticized the fact that the doll doesn't appear to have any signs of polio, a disease that incapacitated her for most of her life, or the life-long injuries that were caused by a bus crash in 1925.
"The company Mattel does not have the proper authorization to use the image of Frida Kahlo", it said, threatening to take "necessary measures" against the California-based toymaker.
In its interpretation of Kahlo, the company erased the art icon's disability and famous unibrow.