Frida Kahlo's Family Tries to Block Frida-Themed Barbie Doll

By Molly Zilli, Esq. on April 24, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

If you don't know her work, you at least know her unibrow. Frida Kahlo's popularity has grown over the years, thanks to both her art and her outspoken views on politics and the like. And while one company wants to honor her with a Frida-themed Barbie doll (and make a few bucks in the process), her family is not happy with those efforts and is trying to block the doll in court.

Fights Over Rights

As part of an "inspiring women" series of dolls, a company associated with toymaker Mattel has been working to manufacture a Barbie doll modeled after Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. However, Kahlo's grandniece, Mara Romeo is not happy with the company's use of her great aunt's image. She says that she and her family own the rights to Kahlo's image.

Mattel has said that they had reached an agreement with Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corporation who also claims to own the trademark rights to Kahlo's image. The corporation claims that it obtained the rights more than a decade ago through Kahlo's niece, Isolda Pineda Kahlo, and that it "will continue its activities within the framework of respect for the law and in the exercise of its constitutional rights."

Frida Barbie Not Mexican Enough

Romeo also dislikes the way the company portrays the well-known artist. While Kahlo had darker skin and her famous unibrow, Frida Barbie appears to have lighter skin and two distinct eyebrows. Romeo says it should be a "much more Mexican doll," with "darker skin, a unibrow, not so thin because Frida was not that thin ... dressed in more Mexican clothing, with Mexican jewelry."

Blocked by Mexican Judge

According to The Guardian, Kahlo's family has scored at least a temporary victory against Frida Barbie as a judge in Mexico granted a temporary injunction forcing the toymaker and department stores in Mexico to stop commercializing the doll until the issue of trademark rights is resolved. The court's ruling only applies in Mexico, but the artist's family told AFP News that they plan to file a similar lawsuit in the U.S.

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