Salma Hayek Calls Out The Irony & Ignorance Of The New Frida Kahlo Barbie

Photo: J. Merritt/Getty Images
In honour of International Women's Day last week, Mattel announced its plans to release its "Inspiring Women" line of Barbies, featuring trailblazers like Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, and Katherine Johnson. Many were thrilled to see Barbie celebrate some of the most influential figures from the past century; actress Salma Hayek was not one of them.
On Sunday, Hayek shared her dissatisfaction with Mattel's decision to turn noted feminist and communist Kahlo into a for-profit plastic figurine.
"#fridakahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else," she wrote in an Instagram post in both English and Spanish. "She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie?"
Hayek concluded her post with the hashtag, "body image."
Others have shared Hayek's frustrations, noting that barbie dolls represent everything Kahlo fought against during her life, namely, capitalism and the notion of physical perfection and socialised beauty standards. Yet, here she is, reimagined as a thin, unibrow-less and able-bodied figurine. It's not too hard to see why some of Kahlo's fans and family members are upset.
To top it all off, some of Kahlo's relatives are arguing that Mattel didn't consult them about using her image before making the dolls, according to The Los Angeles Times. The company claims that they got permission from the Frida Kahlo Corporation, which oversees the use of her image.
This isn't the first time Hayek has taken issue with the way in which people have tweaked Kahlo's image and legacy for profit. In December, the actress penned a harrowing op-ed for The New York Times in which she detailed her horrific experience on the set of the 2002 biopic, Frida, in which she played the titular role. According to Hayek, producer Harvey Weinstein was more interested in Kahlo's sex life — particularly her bisexuality — than he was in her art and beliefs. Hayek also reported that Weinstein pressured her into performing a full-frontal nude sex scene with another woman and made numerous unwanted advances. At one point, she claimed Weinstein had threatened to kill her because she wouldn't give him what he wanted.
Though it's unlikely Mattel will completely pull the Kahlo line, hopefully the company will seriously listen to the criticisms from Hayek and others.
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