"I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida's, not this doll with light-colored eyes..."
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.
Featuring renowned figures such as Chloe Kim, Patty Jenkins and Frida Kahlo, the company aims to show girls that they can be anything.
Critics complain the doll doesn't reflect Kahlo's heavy, almost conjoined eyebrows, and they say its costume doesn't accurately portray the elaborate Tehuana-style dresses that the artist wore.
Romeo's lawyer Pablo Sangri said the family established the Frida Kahlo Corporation in partnership with another company called Casablanca Distributors in 2005. Kahlo's family and corporation, which possess the rights to her estate and creations, allege the Mexican icon's image was stolen and distorted.
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Certainly one family member took exception to Mattel's depiction of the artist, which eliminated her signature unibrow, a long single eyebrow that one commentator found emblematic of "her striking and attractive refusal to give in to certain sexist societal pressures". Now, actor Salma Hayek, who portrayed Kahlo on silver screen too came out to slam the company.
The statement says that Kahlo's great-niece Mara Romeo is the sole owner of the rights to her image.
Frida Kahlo was one of the many notable women to have their likeness immortalized in a Barbie Doll in honor of International Women's Day, but Mattel's rendering of the famed artist has drawn more backlash than inspiration.
Released just ahead of International Women's Day, the "Inspiring Women" collection includes dolls based on Kahlo, aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson and other historic figures.
"We will talk to them about regularizing this situation, and by regularizing I mean talking about the appearance of the doll, its characteristics, the history the doll should have to match what the artist really was", Sangri told the Associated Press. Kahlo was a life-long communist who died in 1954, long before the doll was introduced.