Frida Kahlo Barbie
There’s a Frida Kahlo Barbie out now—also an Amelia Earhart Barbie and a Katherine Johnson Barbie. The Frida Kahlo Barbie has two eyebrows, which some people are objecting to. I can see their point. I can also see the point of the people who decided that it would be a good thing for girls to have dolls of daring, famous women.
Speaking as the former owner of a set of Famous Women paper dolls, this whole campaign seems well intentioned, but pointless to me. Why? Because it didn’t matter what the short bio said the paper doll was, I used them all for whatever parts the play they fit in the play my brain came up with.
Maybe I played with toys differently than other kids, but the whole point of a doll (or a set of Legos) was that it was a toy you could make into whatever you decided it should be. To my mind, that’s part of the point of play. If you give a kid a toy and tell them “This is Frida Kahlo” then you are telling them what to do with the toy—are they playing with it wrong if Frida is cast in the part of Morgan Le Fay for the afternoon?
Similarly, (to my mind) if you give a kid a Lego kit and tell them that the kit only makes one thing, then the toy is done (and no longer fun) once they have made the X-Wing Fighter, or the Moon Landing Unit.
I admit I am biased, but if you want girls to know and be inspired by women like Frida Kahlo, buy them books—not just the boring, wholesome/virtuous, scholastic library books (although you may have to start there), but books of her art. Tell them why you think she’s important (don’t wait until your daughter has to do a report for women’s history month—that defeats the purpose.) If you do this, girls will not need a Frida Kahlo doll—if they want a doll to be Frida, they will make her so.
 Mathematician and Physicist. She’s in Hidden Figures, and yes I had to look this up.
 Yes, I get why Frida Kahlo Barbie should violate the rules of the Universe—making a Communist into a Barbie is probably a sign of the appocolypse.
 They probably came from the Smithsonian. They were to be colored in. Each doll came with one other “outfit” (Amelia’s Earhart’s outfit was her plane.) Each doll had a bio, explaining why this woman was cool.a
 I’m sorry to say that My Amelia Earhart paper doll often had to play a dude, because she had short hair and wore pants and a baggy coat and some of my plotlines as a kid called for dudes, but there were (obviously) no male paper dolls in my set of Famous Women paper dolls.
 When I first saw these kits, I was horrified. I see them differently now—more like puzzles or model-building kits, but they still don’t encourage creativity the way a giant box of random Legos does.