The improbable icon of interior decoration

Graphic and vibrant, Frida Kahlo has turn out to be a favorite accent of our residence interiors. However, in several respects, the lady who turned an icon of feminism is a significantly cry from the smooth and stylised picture selling in shops or on the net for a several bucks.

Achieved artist, brazenly bisexual and married to a gentleman 20 decades her senior, Frida Kahlo represents the solid woman, a fighter irrespective of her physical incapacity, independent and breaking with social conventions. In quick, Frida bears all the values of feminism, with no any of the clichés. Apart from that, on nearer inspection, she has also, considerably ironically, become a pop icon. The subject matter of “Fridamania” is not new. Now in 2018, at the time of the launch of “Frida Barbie,” the contradiction involving the polished impression of the Mattel doll, in contrast with the everyday living of the Latina artist, induced controversy. In her recent e book Féminisme Washing, French journalist and creator Léa Lejeune throws a new spotlight on what lies at the rear of the industrial exploitation of feminist values by brand names.

A contradiction

From a painter of indigenous origin, the artist has gone on to develop into a pop icon. “It seems like an unimaginative Xmas catalog: postcards, fridge magnets, sneakers, dishes, jewelry, suitcases, planters or bathtub towels… From €5 to €200, there is anything for anyone. eBay lists 87,000 goods associated to Frida Kahlo and Amazon 50,000. She is also in vogue on the craft website Etsy with 16,500 hits,” notes the journalist.

Is the professional trend for Frida so disturbing? For Lea Lejeune, this impression that has come to be “mainstream,” in the exact way as Madonna, would not be extraordinary if it have been not in full contradiction with the values and existence of the Mexican artist: “Is it not ironic to set the experience of the artist on a bottle of tequila when she experienced complications with alcoholism? How can you promote yoga trousers with the impression of someone who had her leg amputated at the end of her lifestyle?”

Frida Kahlo Company

When she died in 1954, Frida was not nevertheless a star. She was absolutely recognised as a strong Latin inventive determine, but it was not until eventually the early 2000s with the release of the eponymous film starring Salma Hayek that she was projected into the spotlight. And while her artworks ended up still left to her spouse Diego Rivera, her name, signature and impression have been trademarked by her family.

(Image: Gabriella Clare Marino/Unsplash)

“Carlos Dorado, head of various firms in fashion, serious estate and commerce, and his niece Isolda Pinedo Kahlo developed, in 2004, the Frida Kahlo Corporation (FKC), a enterprise based in Florida that owns all the commercial rights to her graphic,” we understand in Féminisme Washing. From her modest village of Coyoacan, given that merged with Mexico Metropolis, the painter has long gone on to develop into an American multinational.

And the timing of the firm’s generation is significantly from coincidental, due to the fact it arrived just just after the release of the movie directed by Julie Taymor. The FKC performs a elementary purpose in the image of Frida Kahlo, due to the fact any organization that desires to commercialise a merchandise ought to go by this corporation.

“Never apologise for who you are”

Another challenge tackled by the creator is the altered graphic made use of in merchandise relating to the artist. It has been erased and smoothed by the brands that use it, to in good shape with a lot more present-day conditions. As a result, the unibrow and the moustache that she proudly wore have been stylised and toned down. Her pores and skin tone has also been lightened. But this aesthetic and political makeover has not escaped everyone’s notice. In 2019, the launch of an Ultra Natural beauty make-up array, with a watered-down Frida and accompanied by the slogan “Never apologise for who you are,” induced an outcry on the website. The agency vaguely justified this by stating that the pictures utilised were being unique and not retouched, which include the famed eyebrow. However, it is a justification that, at to start with glance, appears somewhat perplexing…

“Confirmation bias”

Despite the on the net protests of some fully commited shoppers, the opposition in between Frida’s watered-down image and her atypical existence – worlds aside from that of a Barbie (immediately after all, Frida was, for a time, Trotsky’s mistress) – is not so straight-ahead. Léa Lejeune sees a “confirmation bias,” where by “each of the people today who consume this reconstructed character sees a affirmation of their life style and their subaltern beliefs by unconsciously obliterating the rest.”

An belief shared by Sylvie Borau, Marketing and advertising professor at the Toulouse Enterprise Faculty, interviewed by the Inrockuptibles on the issue: “Frida had a side [that said] ‘I really don’t treatment about my appearance’ by refusing to wax for instance, but at the similar time she was very classy and wore makeup. It is contradictory! She was in this duality [and] that is a trend that is coming again in drive nowadays.”

Would the communist Frida have appreciated this consumerist trend about her picture? Possibly, possibly not. Both way, she continue to adorns several a residing place wall.

(Major and showcased image: GONZALEZ SUSANA GONZALEZ / AFP)

This tale was printed through AFP Relaxnews.