Mexican painter Frida Kahlo died a feminist, anti-capitalist, queer, disabled, gender fluid, revolutionary. Today, Kahlo continues to captivate the public through her art, her life, and—her Barbie. Released in 2018, Mattel’s Frida Kahlo Barbie faced its harshest criticisms from none other than Kahlo’s family. Turning to social media, the family showered Mattel with questions on its audacity to release a Barbie in Kahlo’s likeness. Enraged over the Barbie’s features, complexation, and design, Kahlo’s family rushed to a court in Mexico where a judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the Barbie’s sale in Mexico. The resulting media coverage pit Kahlo’s family against a Panamanian corporation bearing Frida Kahlo’s name in a public confrontation regarding whether the family or the Frida Kahlo Corporation held the rights to license Kahlo’s trademark. Drawing upon critical race theory insights, this Comment offers the first legal examination of Kahlo’s trademarks. Through comparative law, this Comment argues that neither party should hold rights to Kahlo’s trademark. Rather, in honoring her life and legacy, her politics and beliefs, Kahlo’s name and likeness should enter the public domain.
Owning Frida Kahlo,
Emory Int'l L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.emory.edu/eilr/vol35/iss4/3