Salma Hayek has added her name to the cacophony of voices criticizing Mattel over their new Frida Kahlo Barbie dolls.
ICYMI: Denizens of the Internet recently bristled at Mattel’s new Kahlo Barbies once it became clear that they would look less like the queer, body positive artist we all know and love, and more like, well, a Barbie. A whitewashed Barbie, that is. Many, including Kahlo’s own relatives, pointed out that the Kahlo Barbies’ lightened eyes and lack of unibrow not only misrepresented Kahlo’s appearance, but disrespected her legacy.
And now Hayek has added urgency to the uproar by commenting on Instagram: “Frida Kahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness.” Hayek, of course, knows a thing or two about Kahlo’s legacy, having earned an Oscar nomination for playing Frida Kahlo in the 2002 biopic Frida. She also served as a producer on the film.
Honestly, though, how could anyone have ever thought that Frida Kahlo would fit seamlessly into the world of Barbies? That’s like inducting Celine Dion into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, or putting Donald Trump into a Hall of Presidents. Even without Hayek’s critique amplifying the movement, this was clearly a misbegotten enterprise from the get-go.
Mattel released a statement that they have done nothing wrong since they worked with the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corp. (sounds shady), whose website claims to have “the support of the Kahlo family.”
Not so, say the descendants of Frida. A statement from the Kahlo family includes, “Mrs Mara Romeo, a great-niece of Frida Kahlo, is the sole owner of the rights of the image of the illustrious Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.” Said Romeo, “I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida’s, not this doll with light colored eyes.”
As of this writing, the doll is available for online pre-order as part of Mattel’s “Inspiring Women” series.