“Find your favourite Frida!” -A sociological study of the commodified faces of Frida Kahlo
Sammanfattning: Frida Kahlo has become increasingly popular as a commodity to signify female empowerment or an exotic femininity, and her face has inspired numerous images by modern day artists and graphic designers. The market for posters and decorative objects which use new portraits of Kahlo is booming and often target young women as consumers.This study critically explores the ethnical, cultural and gender constructions of Frida Kahlo as a symbolic as well as literal feminist poster girl on the western market. Furthermore, it examines how these constructions function as postcolonial discursive practices. The study finds that as Kahlo is accepted as a western symbol, her embodied ethnicity and cultural belonging are erased and replaced by easily identified symbols of “strategic essentialism”, such as accessories and Mexican plants. The sexuality, frailty, and disabilities of her body are erased, and her features are westernised to make her more feminine and acceptable as a commodity. This in combination with reoccurring passivity mean that empowerment is portrayed as an act of being rather than doing and that the femininity is played up as an aspect of female empowerment.
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