Published: Tue, March 13, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

Salma Hayek doesn't approve of Frida Kahlo's Barbie doll

Salma Hayek doesn't approve of Frida Kahlo's Barbie doll

Kahlo's great-niece Mara de Anda Romeo said Mattel doesn't have the rights to use Kahlo's image.

Barbie has expanded well beyond the ill-proportioned blonde doll that was released 58 years ago-but not everyone has been thrilled with Mattel's choices to expand the Barbie ranks.

Salma Hayek expressed her displeasure with the Frida Kahlo Barbie doll.

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

She may not have approved of being cast as a variety of Barbie, the best-selling doll whose image Mattel has updated so as to address criticism that in body type and lifestyle it had perpetuated damaging stereotypes about women.

Critics have slammed Mattel for their representation of Kahlo, pointing out their decision to mostly eliminate her famous unibrow, ideal her famous look and glamorise her elaborate and traditional Tehuana-style dresses. 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.

Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and Australian wildlife conservationist - and daughter of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin - Bindi Irwin are also among the new dolls as are famed aviator Amelia Earhart and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson.

Toy-maker Mattel was in a dispute Thursday with a distant relative of the late Mexican artist Frida Kahlo over rights to a Frida Barbie doll released as part of the company's Inspiring Women series.

But Kahlo's family soon issued a statement objecting to the doll. Salma Hayek also had something to say about the doll.

Pablo Sangri, a lawyer for de Anda Romeo, said his client doesn't seek money, but wants Mattel to talk about redesigning the doll.

The image of Kahlo and her instantly recognizable eyebrows - which she let grow into a single strip of dark brow in defiance of convention - has been stamped onto an explosion of consumer products in recent years: nail polish, bags, shoes, notebooks and much, much more. Kahlo's family and corporation, which possess the rights to her estate and creations, allege the Mexican icon's image was stolen and distorted.

Mattel said in a statement that it worked with the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corp., "which owns all the rights".

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