Throughout my life being a woman has been a teaching process of what to expect from society and family based on your gender. Many women have suffered throughout the years from the oppression and marginalization that occurs in their country. For some women being free and liberated is still something they have not been able to experience. However, history has shown that many women advocated and fought for future generations to be able to express themselves. A woman that played a role in creating political and social change and inspiration was Frida Kahlo.
Through her artwork, her relationships, and her security to deliver herself to the world brought new beginnings. From her radical political views for a woman to have and her tremendous personal life/marriage. Therefore with her inspirations and change, she has created an impact in the Hispanic communities.
I learned about Frida Kahlo when I was in middle school, but in high school was when I learned more about her and what her legacy left in our particular community.
The Mexican heritage is accustomed to being preserved, some can say old school and even machista. The ways that certain households still teach their children through gendered-work and language used towards describing males and females. In Frida’s household, it was a very similar mindset of women being feminine and delicate, not strong as a man. However, Kahlo often dressed like a man and even said that she was born the day that Emilio Zapata began his revolution to liberate Mexico from Porfirio Diaz (Parkhomenko, 2016).
Representing since a young age what it meant to take a stance and recognize the political problems in her country.
Essentially, most people would know Frida Kahlo from Diego Rivera, her husband. Demonstrating how gender plays a role in how women are presented in media and inner relationships. Showing the capacity of a woman’s worth is nothing without a man by her side. Inducing in women the social standards that women have in order to succeed in life, but Frida Kahlo succeeded with and without Diego Rivera. She was not a woman for only her man, the typical Mexican stereotype of machismo. In a political and social world, Frida came to be what most people wanted freedom for themselves based on sexuality and beliefs. On a website called Portside, they describe “Kahlo’s radical politics built on her experiences as a mixed-race, disabled, bisexual, polyamorous, Jewish feminist” (Gurley, 2019). Describing the different ways that made Kahlo a bit more presumptuous and how her integrity was radical in its own way. Her sexuality was a major part of what she was known for and the female relationships that she had. Frida was one of the first female figures in society to express her sexuality and break societal norms.
At a young age, Frida was already involved in the political movement and expressing her rights in the Mexican government. Her father was primarily one of her influences in the political movement based on their race and ethnic background. She was a communist, as a precocious teenager, she joined the Communist Party of Mexico and in her twenties (Gurley, 2019). Before being a well-known painter Frida was already involved in politics and agreed with Karl Marx, Lenin, and Engles. Kahlo and her husband Rivera were highly involved in politics and one of their close political relationships was Leon Trotsky, a radical Marxist. The art organization Bad Art states “Rivera’s intervention had helped Trotsky obtain asylum” (Parkhomenko, 2016). Introducing political personnel into their own homes, disregarding the backlash that they would receive. This was a major political change as many people did not see a relation between art and politics in any sort.
The artworld is an expressive scene and for many years Frida’s was about her tragic accident and how it changed her. When she started to be more involved in politics, as well as seeing society in different worlds her artwork represented the struggles, negativity, and her feelings towards politics. In her artwork, Frida Goes to the U.S.A. we can see how industrialization is shown with all the gas infiltrated in the air. DailyArt Magazine explains how “she viewed the embodiment of exploitative industrialization and capitalism” (Grass, 2018). Seeing how negatively the United States was impacting nature for economical reasons made her sick, compared to the style of life that she had in Mexico. During her last days of life, Frida painted Marxism Will Give Health to the Sick, a painting of herself in her leather corset enforcing her body to be together before giving up. Surrounding her Marx is depicted as God and a hand holding Uncle Sams from his neck choking him. Not giving up on her beliefs, in her painting Kahlo holds a little red book—the Communist Manifesto (Grass, 2018). True heroin until her last moments representing her true identity and advocating political and social change.
Frida Kahlo is an inspiration and will continue her legacy as a leader and representation of radical movement. Her story and her life events shaped her into the person that changed the future for many other women and non-binary folks. From her sexuality and disability acceptance, generations of these communities are represented. By the way, she managed to liberate herself from the oppressed gendered stereotypes. Her artwork is still relevant and so many people connect with it. Politically speaking, she exposes what many others, besides her husband Diego Rivera, could not stand up against the unjust government and dictatorship during those times.