This Sexist 1930s Article About Frida Kahlo is Going to Piss You Off


Crack your knuckles and bring out the Vaseline, ‘cause you’re going to want to punch something after reading this: More than 80 years ago, when Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's career was really taking off, a journalist reduced the revolutionary artist, activist and ultimate badass to simply the wife of painter Diego Rivera.

MORE: The First Painting Frida Kahlo Ever Sold is on Display

While Kahlo was indeed married to Rivera, the mujer – like every other woman – was much more than her relationship to a man and, thus, shouldn’t have had her major accomplishments and varied identities diminished because hombre Rivera decided to put a ring on it. 

The mexicana was a powerful artist, a political activist, a feminista, a bisexual mujer, a person living with a disability, a fashion icon, a gender-bender and a muchacha who deserved to be treated and celebrated for all that she was, not profiled in 1933 as the "wife of the master mural painter" who "gleefully dabbles" in making art. TF?

If this wasn’t bad enough, writer Florence Davies had the nerve to make fun of Kahlo’s outfit. “While her husband paints with large brushes on a huge wall surface,” Davies reports, his wife is “herself a miniature-like little person with her long black braids wound demurely about her head and a foolish little ruffled apron over her black silk dress ... "

If steam isn’t rushing out of your ears from anger, you’re probably wondering, “what’s the big deal? This happened more than eight decades ago.” I’ll tell you. While this specific article exemplifies the sexism women painters experienced in the last century, this treatment isn’t exclusive to the 1900s. Mujeres who are artists, politicians, business leaders, lawyers, doctors, entertainers or any other career that’s in the spotlight are still sometimes written about as wives and mothers first and foremost. We are still ridiculed for the garbs we wear, whether it be “too divulging” or “too frumpy.”  We are still the subjects of sexist journalism.

PLUS: Why This Artist Designed a Frida Kahlo-Inspired Dress Made of Condoms

For that, we can also take a page from Kahlo’s book of clapbacks, as the feminista, whether she realized it or not, did respond to Davies’ sexism. In the article, the mexicana herself is quoted as saying, Rivera “does pretty well for a little boy, but I’m the big artist.” Let ‘em know!

(H/T: Huffington Post


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About this author

Raquel Reichard, Politics & Culture Editor

Raquel is the Politics & Culture Editor and Latina magazine, writing on all things policy, social justice, cultura and health. Formerly at millennial news site Mic, Raquel's work can also be found at the New York TimesCosmo for Latinas, the Washington Post, the Independent and more. A proud NuyoFloRican chonga, when Raquel's not talking Latina feminism, racial justice, the "x" in Latinx or the prison industrial complex, she's going on and on about the Puerto Rican diaspora in Orlando, Fla. Follow her on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat at @RaquelReichard.


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