Icons and Eyebrows
In the early 1900’s the ideal westernwoman was well mannered, maternal, an excellent housekeeper and of course cut a slim figure. With the sudden marketing of razors to women, they added hairless to this criteria.
Frieda Kahlo took all these imposed standards and threw them in the bin. She made a name for herself that extends beyond the iconic eyebrow.
Born in 1907, New Mexico, Kahlo unfortunately contracted Polio, a disease that left her with one crippled leg that grew shorter than the other, causing her to have a limp. This disability meant that Kahlo used to refuse to go and play outside. This was because other children would bully her. So she spent a lot of time with her photographer father who taught her about artistry. This is where the bud of Kahlo’s future was planted, although at this point she was planning on studying medicine.
Unfortunately, destiny, fate, God’s will, whatever you call it, had different plans for Frieda. In 1925, she entered an elite school to study medicine. It’s on the way to the school that Frieda got on a bus that would change her life forever. A horrific collision with an electric streetcar left many passengers dead or mortally wounded. Although Frieda survived, she sustained severe injuries to her pelvis, uterus and spine. This incident meant that Frieda had to recuperate for a long time, where she found healing in painting.
Frieda often painted herself with some sort of constraint to show how she felt during this time, stuck between specially made medical corsets and hospital beds. She was plagued with constant pain but this didn’t stop Kahlo from being her authentic self as the people around her described her as small but mighty.
Kahlo’s work is like the most personal diary that she shared with the world and in it you can see how she felt in all the major moments in her life falling for Diego (Depicted in “Diego OnMy Mind”) or how proud she was of her mixed heritage (Depicted in “My Grandparents, My Parents and Me”). Even at her most ill, Friedadid not pass silently. A few days before she passed she spoke at a demonstration against the CIA invasion of Guatemala. After this her health rapidly declined. She wrote “I hopethe exit is joyful. And I hope never to return” Frieda was complex, flawed, and proud. This is only a small portion of her life. Ifyou don’t know her history already, I urge you to do more research on her. She has anamazing story to tell.
Take pride in your craft and keep scrawling, like Frieda did, because you never know, you might just inspire a whole generation.