Do you hate Barbie?
A strong question about a woman? Or is she a toy?
Barbie is a lightening rod for commentary on body image, definitions of beauty and style.
But does Barbie represent Reality or Fantasy?
Mattel recently announced that they were making Barbie dolls bearing the likeness of Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson and other female trailblazers.
Since then, the company’s rendering of Kahlo—which finds her dark brown gaze lightened, her unibrow noticeably absent, and her body distinctively downsized—has been courting controversy.
Some of Kahlo’s relatives have been vocal about their outrage, not only because her image was used without their permission, but also because the misrepresentation of her appearance is the very antithesis of the conforming beauty ideals she challenged.
So too agrees Salma Hayek, who is the latest public figure to call attention to the toy maker’s fallacy and was nominated for an Oscar for her role portraying Kahlo in 2002’s Frida, a project she passionately spearheaded as one of the film’s producers. She took to social media saying “Frida Kahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie”
The toy company does not have an exact date for when they will hit shelves, but said each will come with educational information about the woman who inspired it.
So...do you hate her, or is she just not worth toying around with?