This Sexist 1930s Article About Frida Kahlo, AKA 'Senora Rivera,' Is Too Much

Big mistake, Florence Davies. Big mistake. Huge!

Her holiness Frida Kahlo is many things.

A revolutionary painter who forever altered the course of contemporary art. A fashion icon. A political activist, a passionate gardener, a proud Latina feminist and a bisexual person. And, yes, the wife of painter Diego Rivera.

Unfortunately, that last detail is pretty much all that's mentioned in this cringeworthy 1933 article about the "wife of the master mural painter," who "gleefully dabbles" in making art on her own.

Cue the ghosts of feminist artists past rising from the great beyond to roll their eyes in unison.

At the time of publication in 1933, Kahlo was 26 years old. At 18, she was in a crippling bus accident that left her right leg crushed and her uterus pierced. Although she'd relearn to walk, she would never bear children and would endure severe pain for the rest of her life. It was during recovery following her accident that Kahlo took up painting, interweaving elements of Mexican mythology and her own dreams into self portraits that depicted her pain in striking intensity.

None of these stirring details, however, were included in the article. But then again, the author clearly needed space to diss Kahlo's outfit. "While her husband paints with large brushes on a huge wall surface," the article reads, 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 ... "

This sad glimpse back in time shows the struggles women artists have long faced along the path to being taken seriously. The only redeemable part of the article, not too surprisingly, is a quote from Kahlo herself, in which she says Diego "does pretty well for a little boy, but I'm the big artist."

And that, ladies and adorable husbands of ladies, is how it's done.

For more on the topic of Frida Kahlo being a badass, check out this photo of her donning a menswear suit at 17 years old for her family portrait.

Before You Go

Frida Kahlo

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