What about Frida Kahlo ?! More than six decades after her death, the radical Mexican painter is still a source of inspiration to many. From Alessandro Michele’s maximalist Gucci aesthetic to Theresa May’s bracelet with the artist’s face on it, Frida Kahlo is a name that keeps coming up in fashion, politics, culture and everything in between. While she is best remembered for her scorching self-portraits, Kahlo was a daring woman who dared to fight against sexist society and rise above her miserable life.
Today, Kahlo’s paintings may stand as proof of his exceptional artistry, but it is his tenacity in the face of hardship that stands out most in his work. She was a woman who harbored an innate desire to break away from her shell, give in to her fearless side and shatter the glass ceiling. literally. But what made her the ultimate OG feminist icon of her time? How has she shaped feminism and empowerment at a time when male domination has infiltrated the world? On her birthday, we take a look at what made her a queen!
1. The monobrow and the costumes
Defying gender stereotypes and beauty standards, Kahlo consciously constructed her appearance in a way that moved away from the general female look. She refused to change her “masculine” features like her single eyebrow and a slight mustache. The artist used his paintings to exaggerate these peculiarities, now emblematic of genderless beauty. And when it comes to her sartorial sensibility, she chose to dress like a man in the family portraits, unlike her mother and sisters, who wore dresses.
2. Real women, real experiences
Instead of portraying women in traditional settings where art focused on their beauty, Kahlo chose to use her talent to reflect her empowering personality. Highlighting the raw and honest situations women go through, she presented them through aspects of miscarriage, abortion, breastfeeding, childbirth and more. For Kahlo, these real-life experiences were “the most candid expression” of herself and a way to rebel against society that saw these situations as taboo.
3. Queer identity
In the early 1900s, when the LGBTQIA + community existed far from the public eye, Kahlo was not afraid to express his identity. Openly bisexual, she has had multiple affairs with men and women. Some of her most notable liaisons were with a Mexican singer named Chavela Vargas and Josephine Baker, a bisexual cabaret dancer who met Kahlo in Paris in 1939.
4. Challenge victimization
Whatever the unfortunate circumstances of her life, the painter fought against her destiny as a victim. She contracted polio at the age of six and later suffered a fatal accident that left her bedridden for months. But she did not victimize herself. Instead, she used the bedridden time to paint, turning her pain into passion. Even though his paintings reflect a sense of hopelessness and suffering, his gaze is fierce and provocative. Through her art, she has painted experiences that have shown that pain is an integral part of her life, but that it does not define it.
5. Kiss her real self
Kahlo loved to break the rules and fight back, both through his art and in real life. The unique point of his work is the fact that there is no uniformity. Nothing happens in a predefined order. And throughout her life, she has embraced her real self without judgment. Through her artwork and her life, she also aimed to encourage others to embrace their inner nutcase: just like me who feel weird and flawed the same way I do. I imagine her and imagine that she must be there thinking about me too. Well, I hope if you’re out there and reading this and know that, yeah, it’s true that I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you are.
Photographs: Instagram, Pinterest