Quit Appropriating Frida Kahlo

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A “prettier” adaptation of Frida Kahlo’s self-portrait has been circulating the internet. machine and it’s not pretty.

Frida’s iconic look has been appropriated ever since her death in 1954 and her “costume” has actually found a place in novel Hallaween choices (No, seriously).

At the heart of the Frida Phenomenon is the complete omission of her embrace of indigenous features and deliberate rejection of westernised ideals of beauty. Frida lived for art. Yes. But, she also lived for resistance.

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As well as embracing communism and rejecting greedy, capitalist ideals, Frida resisted the “gringo” version of beauty that was so prevalent at the time of life. She groomed and darkened her “non-conventional” facial features and took pride in her natural look. Frida did not have any disdain for her monobrow or moustache, and I’m sure she wouldn’t give a flying fuck if anyone else did either. So, quit the appropriation of her beautiful face.

Frida is my Queen and I won’t stand for anyone denigrating her look. If you find her look “ugly“, it is most likely due to your homogenised, euro-centric and universalistic way of looking at beauty- something that Frida did not care to oblige to. So again, quit your shit and accept Frida for who she was. A glorious anomaly. Long live the memory of Frida the Fighter, Queen of my heart.

If you have the time, read up about her life. It is truly a fascinating and inspiring tale that I hold very dear to my heart. Even better, if you ever find yourself in Mexico, visit her home turned museum nicknamed the “Blue House”. (If you’re just lazy and want watch a cinematic adaptation of her life, here’s the film made about her)

Now I will use this post as an excuse to grace my blog with my own personal collection of her glistening radiance: (YES IT’S A LOT OF PHOTOS OK)

enjoy. ImageImageImage ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

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27 29 3031 32 33 3437 38 394043 44 4647 49 50 Frida Kahlo Holding Her Pet Monkey Leon Trotsky with Frida Kahlo Muray & Kahlo 51 52 53tumblr_mry8w9VNS81ror4lgo1_50054 55 5658 63 64 65 67 68 69 70 71 72 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 8185 87 89 90 91

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44 Comments Add yours

  1. RigoHC says:

    I was just thinking about this today! as I had recently come across an old acquaintances fb post using a picture of frida for something completely unrelated I know that this person would be embarrassed if people associated her with communism in some way for having a picture of one of the most famous communist artist of the last century but of course there is an unfortunately long tradition of Radical heroes being appropriated after death and white washed of what was actually most important to them their principles, Radical political commitment so then very un radical totally conformist individuals can flatter themselves with ‘appreciating’ someone like frida after actively playing a role in the cultural obscuring of what was most important to her, I do believe She would have hated them as petite Bourgeois phonies

  2. Quinn says:

    I was going to present this to you the moment I saw it to hear your response, passingly I had noticed your affinity for her, but was I deterred. However your response is what I imagined it would be. Emphatic and supportive Mohadesa. Thank you for this.

    Them photos!!!!!!

  3. Sv says:

    This made my day, I absolutely love Frida …. And these photos are just absolutely breathtaking !
    Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  4. Ivonne says:

    GRACIAS.

  5. betty adorno says:

    Ever since an art teacher introduced me to her work (I was heavy into self portraits at the time) I have been in love with. She was beautiful and I hate that “pretty” photoshopped painting. Why would you take a unique beauty and turn her into a run of mill “pretty girl” all becuase she doesn’t meet your standards of beauty. *sigh* and where did you find some of these picture. I havent seen a lot of them before.

  6. Laurie Allen says:

    Diego was such an ugly troll of a man, why did she ever go for him? ugh!

    1. laurie says:

      Because love is blind and the heart wants what it wants

  7. Reblogged this on ONE HEART and commented:
    I wish I gave as little of a fuck about my appearance like Frida anther of my heroes….here is a poem I wrote last night in a similar vein
    I am suitably ashamed….
    I am suitably ashamed of my womanhood
    I keep my tampons and sanitary towels in a pretty purple purse in the bathroom
    I am suitably ashamed of my womanhood
    so much that my armpits get dark and stubblyevery 2 days after I’ve shaved them raw
    I am suitably ashamed of my natural ageing
    turning around my anti wrinkle cream in a jar
    suitably ashamed of my womanhood
    shaving down there in to pretty palatable shapes
    so suitably ashamed am I
    that i feel more comfortable with a light dusting of make up
    light dusting being
    concealor (to hide the bags caused by motherhood and worrying about people i love)
    foundation (to hide the scars from spots before my period, freckles and weird different browns on my mixed race skin)
    lipstick (to hide my brown lips)
    mascara (so i look more awake and flirtatious even when i do not feel it)
    hair cream (to make my rough frizzy hair soft and shiny and more ‘suitable’)
    suitably ashamed for my own and public eyes
    that i may be fit to look upon
    ready to mould and look ‘nice’ further,
    How glad I am my hair rebels and refuses to lie flat.
    Amrita Bhattacharjee

    1. Beautiful; I believe that is an accurate reflection of most of us women. As I have gotten older, and single (widowed), I do not hide my tampons; it is my home. Thank you for the poem!

  8. verakasi says:

    LOL! You are fantastic! And so is Frida! Hurray and cheers to you, Frida, me, and all the others who don’t need to give a flying rat’s ass! 🙂

  9. michael says:

    Wow she’s ugly as fuck.

    1. El Jefe says:

      She was ugly and her art was objectively bad.

  10. Gabriella says:

    This was such a fantastic article. Beautiful selection of photos, as well.

  11. Big boy says:

    Such an ugly bitch

  12. jack mahoney says:

    i think she is not a very talented painter.. she got only that weird look working for him.. so ugly *yack* worst kinda woman communist and feminazi

  13. jack mahoney says:

    people seems to romantize her.. nobody remembers that she was i hard line communist! but thats hollywood for you

  14. what a fantastic collection, thank you!

  15. I’ve been seeing a quote of Frida’s on Tumblr but I can’t source it, anyone here know? ““I don’t like gringos at all. They are very boring and all have faces like unbaked rolls.” Thanks in advance.

  16. zolliespot says:

    Reblogged this on THE MASKED MUJER and commented:
    Yes!! I agree! Good blogpost. Check i t out.

  17. Clearly I’m a little late to the conversation, but while we’re at it, it would be great if people stopped photoshopping her head onto naked or scantily clad model bodies simply so they can have some spank material.

  18. Melissa says:

    I agree with you. I think of Che Guevara t-shirts made by Obey and think he would have gone nuts if he knew his image was being sold on $28 tshirts to the unaffected youth in a shopping mall.

  19. Vivienne Haze says:

    Thank you a million times for writing this!

  20. Gabriel says:

    Thank you very much for your article (I already had almost all the pictures) which I fully agree. This woman is fascinating. What’s striking about it, beyond its beauty and its political commitment is her suffering, her freedom of woman, but also the love and affection that is felt between her and Diego (whatever the difficulties of his life). Truly fascinating!

  21. Diane says:

    Anybody else notice that all the nasty comments are made by males?

    1. White Man of dubious sexual preference says:

      Anybody notice butt-hurt comments made by… wow I already forgot the post I was responding to.

  22. Aimee says:

    This makes no sense. Are you mad because people like the way she looks and wish to emulate it or mad because people don’t like the way she looks (i.e. mustache or mono brow)?
    She is an icon to many, many people for many, many reasons. You can’t walk around all butt hurt over it. It’s too late for that. The toothpaste is out of the tube and it’s not going back. Like her for your reasons and just accept that others will like her for their own.

    1. The Rebound Network says:

      She’s frustrated because people feel the need to modify Frida Kahlo’s look and project their own ideals of beauty into her. Frida created her identity based on her desire for others to accept indigenous roots, accept her the way she was and to inspire others to live their lives true to themselves. So why do people modify her and try to make her “beautiful” according to their standards? One thing is to be inspired by everything she stood for and another is to change and misshape her views and what she stood for to fit your own views of the world because you don’t quite agree with her unglamorous views.

  23. Taylor says:

    This is inspirational. I’ve always felt like I needed to look whiter in order to feel or be beautiful, but this has really changed my perspective. Thank you Frida for being unapologetic and creating a beautiful path for Hispanic girls everywhere.

  24. pnkrbt says:

    “stop appropiatin frida” “she’s MY queen”
    Frida’s thought on revolution “she’s my QUEEN”
    Either get your speech consistent or just let people be. The more her work’s seen and known , the more her ideas are spread, right? Who made you the one to decide who and how consumes her art?
    Xoxo

  25. Zuzanna says:

    God she’s unattractive. I’m sure she needed some kind of attention grabbing trademark to make her toddler level artistic talent stand out. She looks like she smelled really bad.

    1. najwalaylah says:

      “She looks like she smelled really bad.” I think that about every historical figure (i.e., Ayn Rand, Winston Churchill) and current events figure I see smoking.

      As for the photoshopped “prettified” Kahlo self-portrait parody, it (the situation) is funny: Draw a moustache on a “Mona Lisa”, it’s all in good fun. Take a moustache (and a unibrow) off a self-portrait, everyone* loses their minds.

      *By “everyone”, I hyperbolise. Obviously not everyone is affected by the outrage some seem to feel.

      What might bother _me_ is photo manipulation of documentary images of people, presented as “the real thing”; that’s an illustration of my sense of boundaries.

      P.S. If I draw a moustache on a self-portrait of Frida Kahlo and no-one’s around to see it, is it still a joke?

  26. Bonnie says:

    I find your remarks offensive,she was her own women mustache or not and she does not belong to YOU

  27. Sahara says:

    I love Frida and am very inspired by her life and work. She wasn’t perfect, but she always had dignity, strength, creativity & class. To me that makes her a wonderful role model, so if little girls want to dress like wonder woman or Frida for halloween, I say go for it!!

  28. The Rebound Network says:

    People who appropriate these figures do so out of a need to seem obsecure and undergroundish, like hey I’m so cool because I’m wearing a Frida Kahlo or Che Guevera shirt. And the truth is that they barely know anything historical facts or what these people stood up for, probably wouldn’t understand it either. There are many things about Frida I didn’t like after I read her biography, but overall I thought she was in some aspects very ahead of her time and in others very traditional. She had a completely life and it is not up to us to judge or make up our own stories about her. The fads though usually take the most superficial aspects of a person and blow them up to sell things.

  29. Sakura says:

    God, you fucking liberals. All I had to read was that this bitch was a communist and I couldn’t give a shit after that.

    You say capitalism is greedy, but I can’t think of anything greedier than wanting to take what you haven’t earned from others who had to work for it. Nobody owes you their fucking labor, you goddamn slave owner commie.

    1. Emo Fro says:

      Your comment translated: People with other ideas are scary! Fuck them because I’m a child who gets triggered by people with different opinions than me! Also I missed the entire point of the article because of this.

  30. JK says:

    I appreciated your post. Frida’s art was created from her life and is thought provoking just like that of all great artists. For that it will always be beautiful to me. Art is life, and life is not always pretty.

  31. Pingback: Frida Kahlo
  32. Tina Elliott says:

    I love all your pics. Many I had not seen before. She was revolutionary in how she painted about her life. How she chronicled the emotional life changing events happening to her. She painted for herself. She HAD TO express herself- even laying in bed, she could not resign herself to do nuthin! She HAD TO paint! A True Artist! An icon. Thankyou for sharing the photographs. 💋

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