8. Frida (Part 1)

FILM: Frida (course reserves)

READ: Molina-Guzman, Isabel. “Becoming Frida: Latinidad and the Production of Latina Authenticity.” Dangerous Curves: Latina Bodies in Media. New York: NYU Press, 2010.
DISCUSSION: Lucia Parisi & Gillianna Mendoza

FILM: Frida Naturaleza Vida (clips in class)

Frida

 

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49 Responses to 8. Frida (Part 1)

  1. briannamartone12 says:

    Besides being aware of Fridas portrait, I never have seen this film prior to this class. To comment on the film, It really showed the preserverance that Frida had within her lifetime to overcome all adversity in her life. I thought it was interesting how Frida was content with her husband saying he would be able to be loyal to her but that he would not be able to necessarily control his sexual behavior. Even after he told her this, I am suprised that she still wanted to marry him. However, even though at times I despised his character for carelessly cheating on Frida, I do think that they both had love for one another. This also would explain the reasoning for them marrying a second time.

    I was also shocked at the scene when Frida drank the most alcohol out of the men and did so to dance with the woman. I thought that this was an extremely empowering female scene that made her seen as equivalent to the men in this movie. It also introduced her interest in the opposite sex which remained a constant theme throughout the film. I loved how this film showed how her own experiences really influenced who she was as a person which was portrayed in her artwork. Her artwork was literally able to reveal about her as a person and all that she overcame within her life.

    After reading the article, “Becoming Frida: Latinidad and the Production of Latina Authenticity”, I realized that I compared and contrasted both Hayek as well as Jennifer Lopez ‘s realistic interpretations of the characters they were becoming. I first think of visuals and how Lopez looked like Selena. I also thought that Hayek looked like Frida. However, I thought the mentioning of her lingustic accent was interesting and how it limits her being casted sometimes. Just like Lopez, Hayeks role in this film really broadcasted her to a wide audience and gave her a taste of fame. Its also important to note that Latinas which are usually sexualized, was not within this movie to the extent that they normally are. Although there were sex scences, Frida’s body was usually always clothed heavily and never sexualized. I think the most representation was within her accent and appearance. The film seemed to successfully portray Fridas life and seemed to have less criticism than Lopez playing Selena.

    • Lucia Parisi says:

      The point you make in your second paragraph is specially interesting because that is how Frida made a name for herself at that party. At first, people only took her seriously because Tina mentioned that “she came with Diego.” All of the sudden, people assumed they were involved and began to socialize with her. This kind of attention is temporary because it would have been passed on to the next woman that Diego brings along. However, Frida made her presence memorable, without the help of Diego, by drinking more than the men and ultimately dancing with Tina.

      • sorariku says:

        In the movie or show, Frida shows alot of empowerement of being a women and it is really interesting that she tells her husband what to do because in the 90’s, the men or latino was supposed to be in control and be more stronger than women especially in Mexico. However, Frida shows that she can act like a man and finds sexual feelings to the same gender that was very interesting to see. Frida was thinking that she wasn’t good enough in her work but when Diego tells the reporter that Frida will surpass him, she became more confident in herself and that made her into a new woman. When Diego cheated on her, she did the same thing so he can feel how it felt to be betrayed by your partner. I wonder why would Frida married a person who will cheat on her, or probably she also wanted to explore who loving someone else feels to a married woman. She was an excellent artist, she gained a lot of fame and she became a person who will be remember in history because of her paintings.

    • charliegrab says:

      I have to agree. The scene in which Frida “outdrank” all of the men was appalling. It not only challenges ethnic stereotypes, but heavily tends ones as well. Never would we expect to see a women behave in that manner, regardless of skin color. We also would never expect her to be as interested in women as she was. In my opinion, it nearly fetishizes h in a way.

      • yininghe says:

        @Charlie, I think it’s very interesting how you feel like the film fetishizes Frida in a way. This brings us back to the discussion on Selena and how she has been dehumanized by the people around her, her fans and the producers of the biopic, because she has been placed on a pedestal to become this icon that is not human, and not real, but simply a label. I wonder if this is the same for Frida.

      • Wow I think about like that before. But its true, it strange to see a Latina in the 1920s behaving the way she did. How is it that her husband was okay with her having affairs with women, but when it came to other men it was a problem. This is almost like “lesbianism” is a type of fetish. Also when she “outdrank” the men, and kissed the woman it was still deemed acceptable. Yet if two men were together its considered crazy.

    • Katie Blake says:

      I also agree with you about how Hayek was not oversexualized in this movie. I think it is important to note, as someone else in the class said, that unlike the film Selena, the directors were interested in more than just creating revenue when they were making this movie. Often directors want to play into the sexy Latina actress stereotype as a revenue generator, but it’s clear that in this movie the director had a different intent.

  2. morgan radin says:

    Isabel Guzman-Molina states in “Becoming Frida: Latinidad and the Production of Latina Authenticity,” that, “The decision to background Kahlo’s political identity and complicated sexuality shifts the art-house movie story to more popular and familiar Latina narratives of ethnic femininity, sexuality, and domesticity.” (p.100) Throughout the semester we have been examining the stereotypes surrounding Latinas in the media, this sentence alone sums up how our study relates to the film Frida.

    Selma Hayek’s portrayal of Frida Kahlo is heavily debated throughout this article, however the representation of this famous women is controlled less by the actress that plays her, and more by those writers, producers, and directors, who chose the direction of this work. Her political work was only as a side note to her husbands work within the movement. She was such a well known artist and activist, but throughout the film this is only through the male gaze and male figure. They chose to depict her as so fully focused on him that there is no room for any of her real work.

    • amandaawyong says:

      I totally agree with you that the representation of Kahlo was not within the control of the actress, Salma Hayek.

      From what I know of Hayek, she hated it when people reduced Latinas to their sexy body and Spanish-accent. Hence, she would definitely have wanted to show Kahlo as who she really was, and not keep just the recognizable Latina features.

      As the reading mentioned, “In the case of Frida, Kahlo’s anti-imperialist polictics, her nonconformist performance of self, and her defiance of Western notions of femininity do not fit within widely accepted cinematic representations of Latinidad.” As much as the movie showed an empowered Latina who could prove herself through her talent, it was also limited by how the society envisioned Latinas. They simply could not accept a nonconformist Latina who refused to be objectified through Wester notions.

      I also thought that the whole “shifting” identity issue that Kahlo had may be problematic to the idea of being “authentic.” An authentic identity, as I see it, would be to have a strong sense of self, and not change one’s identity according to the environment and human interactions. It is thus difficult to characterize Kahlo as a certain someone simply because she tries to take on too many identities.

      • stephaniegiannoutsos says:

        I agree completely with both of your posts above. The reading states how Latinas are so underrepresented in the media to begin with and then the roles that they do get to play in the media are of certain stereotypical categories. The author tries to explain that, in real life, Kahlo had such a multiplicity of identities and broke so many Latina norms. This film could have attempted to cover all of these different aspects of her identity, but the producers/filmmakers decided to ONLY focus on the relationship between Kahlo and her husband as the main story. They thought that they should focus on the marriage and love story because it was such a huge part of Kahlo, but they completely ignore her political views, activist practices, and other parts of her identity. This decision to ignore certain identities and only focus on her heterosexual love story goes to show what the media desires to represent for Latinas.

      • Alexis R. says:

        Yes, I think that her political views was inevitably something that both her and Diego shared so it was surprising that she was shown more as a supporter of his political opinion rather than an advocate herself, for example the part when they are rallying together. He is shown in the middle which is obviously holding the focus and she is on the side of him. In actuality I believe that she did have a strong view on socialism. It was something that even brought her and her husband back together after their marriage took a turn for the worse.

    • alexandriagarry says:

      This issue of directors, and writers controlling historical dialect brings us back to “When The Mountains Tremble”. We discussed that this documentary was made for an American audience, by American directors and does not truly capture the full life story. This is the issue with Hollywood and why these types of films are simply “based on a true story” they can be manipulated to communicate whatever message they want to portray. If five different films were to be made on Frida I’m sure they would have five different focuses and if five different people watched them they would come out with five different opinions on who she was. This however is the issue of history, it all depends on who’s writing it.

  3. Lindsey Honig says:

    One of the points made in the article “Becoming Frida” is something I picked up on while watching the film. The author states that Kahlo chose clothing deliberately to “emotionally and politically distance herself from others.” I particularly noticed this when she traveled to New York City with Diego. In one scene she is eating with an American woman, and dressed in traditional clothing from the indigenous culture of Mexico. I also found it peculiar when she would wear men’s clothing but the article cleared that up for me. I think that this habit she had, of making a statement, showed how she was not just an artist when it came to paint on a canvas. She was an artist in many aspects of her life. She saw different life events- her husband’s infidelity, her miscarriage- in a very existential way, which not all people do.

    I also think she transcended her gender and what was expected of her during that time in history. Painting was initially a job for her- she was trying to be financially independent, which was likely not the norm back then. Then, after her bus accident, it was an emotional outlet for her. Doing something for one’s own pleasure also seems like something that would not have been a priority for a woman in the 1920s and 1930s. It is true that she did desire to become a mother, but it seemed like it was more of a personal wish than an obligation to Diego to produce an heir. From my interpretation of the film, then, I disagree with Herrera’s (a Kahlo biographer) perspective, that she was more dedicated to pleasing her husband than herself.

    • rserreti says:

      While reading this comment, I agreed with many of the things that you said. I do believe that Frida was not dedicated to pleasing her husband more than herself. Throughout the movie, Frida was doing things to benefit herself. If Frida felt that she should do something, she did it solely her herself and for no one else. This shows how independant of a person Frida was.

    • Mariah Monroe says:

      Lindsey I agree with your point that Frida was an artist in all aspects of her life. She used her clothes as statements. She was not someone who followed society’s norms and she proved that she would never live that way. Frida pushed the envelope when it came to sexuality and certainly never acted like a woman living in the 1920s and 30s.

    • Caroline/a Nieto says:

      I think that another main reason why she wore male clothing was to fight against stereotypes and to push against gender roles. Kahlo was an amazing artist, yes- but she was also someone who was making statements continuously throughout her life. She used different sources in her life to do this, her wardrobe was just another one of those sources.

  4. Stacey Pecor says:

    After reading the article, “Becoming Frida: Latinidad and the Production of Latina Authenticity,” I was able to compare it to how media portrays Latinas through norms, values and beliefs. I liked how the presentation included a modern photo from Desperate Housewives of Gabrielle Solis having an affair with the yard boy. As the article states, “without Frida, Salma Hayek’s career might have been relegated to the undimentional terrain of Latina stereotypes- one more emotionally unpredictable sexually voluptuous, thickly accented Latina appearing in Hollywood”(p.92). I compared this to the debate about Selena and Jennifer Lopez and whether they were best suited for the part. I thought they both did a great job acting. I also thought it was interesting how much more sexualized Salma Hayek’s version of Frida was compared to the clip we viewed in class. I had never seen this film Frida prior to this class but I knew who she was because of her uni-brow and appearance. It is ironic that I had only heard of her and associated her “unattractive” appearance based on what I was told. Referring to our discussion today, it is based on taking a standpoint and going against societal views of real beauty. The way Frida presented herself had significance and she physically couldn’t control it. From the start of the movie, I could tell she was seeking to be different in her traditional family by wearing a suit (looking masculine) in the family portrait.

    Throughout the movie she definitely did some acts out of the ordinary. Being empowered is not being afraid to be dominant as opposed to a submissive role. Typically from the other films we have watched and how Latinas are shown in the media is being submissive. Going off of that, she was comfortable doing things despite her surroundings. For example, when she drinks a bunch of alcohol and proceeds to dance the tango with another woman. This was a bold and dominant based dance and Frida was playing the “male” role. She was a fabulous artist and from that received her fame. She was always daring and wanted to “leave her mark” and stand out and therefore, perhaps that’s why she is learned about and remembered even today.

    • morgan radin says:

      Her rebellion against both familial and societal norms is a topic of great discussion. It is interesting to see her take on both hyper-sexualized and overly masculine roles. Examples such as, her drinking, sexual relations with both sexes, and clothing choices all bend the rules of stereotypical female norms in her world. She seems to be trying to become more masculine throughout the film, which leads me to wonder if this was just because she was trying to compete in a man’s world and keep up with her husband; or if this was an identity and sexuality where she felt more comfortable.

  5. Adam Lang says:

    A method actor is someone who lives the life of the character they are playing. In a way, I think that Frida did a smilar thing. Her portraits were only small parts of her life. She made her life a work of art. Her self portraits were merely snapshots of the work of art that was her life. The reading states that Frida had a “nonconformist performance of self, and her defiance of Western notions of femininity”, which allowed her to create an experience that few have ever known. In order to share this with others, she painted self portraits. Each of her actions were carefully played out and controlled, so she could maintain her performance and get the reactions she desired.

    Frida is similar to Ana from “Real Women Have Curves” in that she broke from conforming to cultural norms and the wishes of others. Both women took control of their lives, rather than letting others do so for them. Frida expressed herself in a way that was free of the limitations that our binary system of gender provides. Ana also expressed herself by going to a prestigious university, which challenged her mother’s view of what women should do. By challenging the idea of what a woman should be, they enabled themselves to accomplish so much more than a woman who followed the role of being weak and submissive.

    • Lindsey Honig says:

      I like that you linked Ana Garcia and Frida Kahlo. This is a connection that I had not previously thought of myself but I do agree with what you have said. Their lives were so vastly different yet they both serve as examples of women who were not afraid to go against the grain, so to speak.

      I believe it is also important to consider the different families each woman grew up in. Frida appeared to come from a supportive and loving family. As we discussed at length in class, though, her overcoming of obstacles and identity as a survivor in many ways undoubtedly contributed to her strong will. For Ana, I think she faced more hardships in an emotional way rather than physically. Again, their circumstances were very different, but as heroines we see both controlling their own destinies, regardless of time, place, or social structure.

    • alexandriagarry says:

      You make some interesting points about how Frida lived her life, I agree that much like Ana she broke out of social norms to control her own path. However, you write, “Each of her actions were carefully played out and controlled, so she could maintain her performance and get the reactions she desired.” I have to disagree with this statement. From my interpretation Frida was anything but controlled. She seemed to be very impulsive, and passionate. She allowed her emotions and desires control her actions and though she definitely had agendas and was looking for a certain reaction, I would not consider her to be calculated in her actions.

  6. Hailey Rosa says:

    During class a large amount of time was dedicated to defining Frida’s role/character. Dominant? Masculine? In a place of power? All of these traits contrast everything we have read concerning Latina roles in the media. The Frida reading cites “emotionally unpredictable, sexually voluptuous, thickly accented (pg 92) bikini girl, spitfires, hot, spicy, exotic (pg 93) as the typical Latina characteristics.

    This movie was a way to not only redefine traditional Latina stereotypes but also Selma Hayek’s career. “The movie provided the actor with an opportunity to establish her credentials as a serious actor and producer (pg 95).”

    Frida came across as a woman of confidence, power, talent, sexually open, and in control. A mix of traditional Hollywood stereotypes and the influence of new feminist agency.

    • Lindsey Honig says:

      I think something we failed to discuss in class is the difference between femininity/masculinity and being male/female. In society we are beginning to recognize gender and sex as two different things. So, though Frida exhibited “masculine” qualities- dominance, focus on achievement, individualization- she was not acting like a man. It is just that for so long masculine qualities were essentially only seen in men and feminine qualities only seen in women.

      To explain this a little more clearly, I would use the example of Chris, Selena’s husband. In that film he exhibits feminine qualities of nurture/support and puts his wife’s feelings before his own. But this does not mean that he is acting like a woman.

      Is this something any of you guys have discussed in women’s studies, sociology, psych, etc.?

    • Katie Blake says:

      I don’t think that we should even use the terms “masculine” or “feminine” to describe people. I think that that just leads people to judge others and group them into a category when really people should be analyzed on an individual basis. A female with a strong, assertive personality and ambition should not be compared against men, but with other individuals, whether they be male or female.

      • Kiara Morales says:

        You bring up such a powerful point. Describing people according to gender terms puts them into categories to which makes it very difficult for us to truly asses them wholeheartedly. In the article, it was suggested that our notions of Frida are very romanticized, and in many aspects, I think I would attribute our ideas of who Frida was to the way that we judge her. I think we try to make sense of her actions by trying to define them, and by labeling them as masculine or feminine we try to find a sense of who she was in relation to what we are familiar with, but these shortcuts only drive us further away from realizing that Frida was more than what we think she was.

  7. amandaawyong says:

    I think that despite all the sex with other people other than with each other, Frida and Diego still love each other.

    I’m thinking of the scene where Frida had a miscarriage and Diego takes charge and picks her up. Also, when Diego had his art work torn down, Frida was there for him. Despite the open marriage that they have, I think that they ultimately share something special, which is why they re-married in the end.

    So perhaps this open relationship marriage arrangement does work after all?

    What do you guys think?

    • Gillianna Mendoza says:

      I agree with the fact that there was always something between Diego and Frida, whether it was mere attraction, chemistry, respect for one another, etc., however I genuinely think there was no reason for them to be married. In a way, if you genuinely love someone enough to marry them or decide you want to spend the rest of your life with them without a marriage, that means you love them enough to give up all the other women or men in the world (or what it is supposed to mean). Most of the situations in their “marriage” portrayed in the movie, such as bringing him lunch at work, traveling together, being there for someone during a miscarriage, or being supportive of each other’s careers are all things that are not specific to only husbands or wives. This can be easily done by a friend, relative, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. The only thing that seemed solely unique to marriage was their sex life and the want to have a child together. I believe you can have open relationships where if both parties agree to the terms, it is in fact more functional than being monogamous. However, I don’t think marriage is necessary if you’re not going to be monogamous since marriage is usually defined through religion or legalities. And personally, I believe you don’t need a piece of paper to “prove your love” to someone.

  8. yininghe says:

    During the presentation, a question was asked on why we thought so many people saw potential in Frida. I feel like this is because she was hope for representation for so many disenfranchised or minority groups, and that her strength of character made her very suitable to be a representative or role model for the communities she relates to – Mexican, female, bisexual, etc. And in a sense this was very progressive for representation of latinas in cinema. Frida cannot be reduced to stereotypes or caricature. She’s not reduced to her role as a woman or ethnic minority tokenism. She’s many things, and the movie very much celebrated her personality, as much as they celebrated her womanhood and ethnicity. I like that about the movie very much.

    However, I feel that it is dangerous to place Frida on a pedestal, the way people have for the character and icon of Selena. Using Frida as an icon for feminism or whichever cause people deem fit is actually going to dehumanize her.

    Someone mentioned earlier in this thread that people seem to fetishize Frida, especially in a sexual way. The entire idea of a bisexual woman who takes charge can just be another projection of a male fantasy, another subjection to the male gaze. Just because Frida doesn’t exhibit all the traditional/overused stereotypical traits of latinas in media does not mean she has escaped exoticization and objectification. In fact, as pointed out earlier as well, many of the things she does seem to be in relation or reaction to what the dominant man in her life does/says. She believes in herself only after Diego complimented her art, she decided to have an affair in retaliation (although not entirely) to Diego’s repeated transgressions, etc. In a sense, this might not exhibit as much agency on her part as we might think.

    • Gillianna Mendoza says:

      I completely agree with the majority of what you’ve said. The movie did a great job interpreting the “fireball” and “loose cannon” Frida Kahlo was and all that she represented. But regardless of how much the movie attempted to portray her as an independent woman “ahead of her time”, there were so many small details that portrayed a much more relevant and contradicting dependence on her surroundings. A lot of her rebellion, whether it was her way of dressing, her behavior and some personality traits, marriage to Diego, and like you said, retaliation of cheating whenever he cheated was all influenced by other factors, and seems almost childish to me at how much attention she craves from all of those around her. However, for the right reasons, I do admire her, and understand why some people put her on a pedestal, but for strictly art related purposes. She redefined art, with her style, while also breaking through as one of the only well known female fine artists. How many other female artists can you think of worth mentioning along side Picasso and Van Gogh? If any, you can count them on one hand, which is why in that sense, I can see why her name and paintings are known in several million households to this day. But in accordance to what you said, the praise of who she was as a person sometimes to me seems very under analyzed.

    • Adam Lang says:

      I agree that Frieda was definitely fetishized in this movie. The movie seemed to be shot from a male gaze. The showing of her sexuality was shown in such a way that it seemed to me like certain parts of the movie were more focused on Selma Hayek looking good, rather than portraying Frieda.

  9. In the article “Becoming Frida” it was stated that Frida would purposely outcast herself from people just by the type of clothes that she chose to wear. This was also evident in her paintings. I have never actually known anything about Frida aside from the fact that she was a Mexican with a unibrow. During the movie I learned that she was woman who challenged the standards of beauty by defying societal norms. She would often dress as a man, even during her family photos. I found this very shocking and innovative considering it was the early 1920s. Frida’s view on marriage were also very modern and did not match traditional Mexican views. Frida was also very original in her painting style. Most of her work was self-portraits ausing surrealism. Surrealism aims to express thoughts of the subconscious. Its abstract nature makes people feel that they are looking at “made up” figures when in fact they depicted Frida’s pain as she realistically perceived. Her paintings also helped her cope.

    Frida was also known for taking on a lot masculine qualities, which suggest that in order for one to be empowered or dominant one must let go of any typically female traits. Not much has changed since, woman still need to take on traditionally male traits in order to get some respect. For example, Puerto Rican Regguetonera Ivy Queen is said to have succeeded in a predominantly male genre because she sounded and would often look male in the beginning of her career. She advocates for women empowerment, given that she’s one the only successful female Regguetoneras. Yet in order for her to get to where she defeminized herself. Which is a little hypocritical yet necessary to further her career. Conversely, Frida often showed an array of identities. She was promiscuous, hypersexual, competitive, drinker, flirtatious, smoker, and cook. Thus far, this has been the most unconventional Latina that we have studied, yet still managed reinforced the idea that Latinas have loose morals which is not surprising.

    • Alexis R. says:

      I really like your point about her surrealist art. Her art in the film was so vivid in that it really expressed everything that she was feeling. I identified with her art or more so her message. I find that my art, poetry is the outlet where I generally choose to talk about things that I generally don’t articulate to people. Frida’s art was so expressive. The canvas she painted after the miscarriage of her son was both disturbing for me but honest. Actually I think that honest is a great way to describe much of her art. It speaks a truth that is sometimes too real to speak about. Her painting is to canvas as word vomit is to a paper. It spoke volumes.

  10. Alexis R. says:

    Frida: Hot-headed

    Yes, Frida was a bit of a hot head which we have known that is a stereotypical descriptor of a Latina but do I think that the movie illustrated that to prove that point? No, I do not. I believe that it was included to identify with all of her struggles. To be able to empathize with the inner pain and hurt she was experiencing. I was able to feel her anger when she caught Diego and her sister.

    Frida, although had many facets throughout the film and in her life, I found that her hyper-sexuality was one that was carried out throughout the entire film. She definitely enjoyed being intimate but no matter what she always had an immense love and longing for her husband. She had several sexual encounters throughout the movie, with both men and women. Would one say this is characteristic of a Latina? It could be but then that would be ignoring the fact that no two women can truly be the same in how they handle themselves sexually and otherwise. Frida was such an energy and that is why people were drawn to her. She was not afraid to go after what she wanted. She saw an opportunity and made a goal that in many cases was achieved.

    Frida’s character and the drive that she had to survive is incredible. From the beginning when she got into the trolley accident where she damaged her back and pelvis, to the miscarriage, to the amputation of her toes, to her not being able to have children, to her not being able to walk, she was never at a point where I felt like she couldn’t get through it. She always looked on the bright side of any situation, for example when she said that for any situation that a man can’t do it, why not a cripple or something to that nature. She knew her situation and never let it get the best of her. This side of the Latina woman, the drive and motivation to be better is something that I admire. At the end when she said that every bit of Frida was leaving or had left her body. At this point she acknowledged her loss of spirit and that’s when it seemed like she was giving up. Her body and life had taken so much of a toll on her that she really did not have much more energy to get through it all.

    • sorlyz says:

      I agree with your first paragraph of Frida being a hot-head. I think the reason for showing Frida’s anger was only to show that she is human. I never thought that the director was trying to make a point of Frida being a “hot-headed” Latina. After all her struggles and trying to deal with Diego’s infidelities, she cracked.

      Frida’s hypersexuality, to me, seemed as the main focus. Hypersexual and fiery Latinas is a stereotype that we have discussed in class and it is unfortunate that this movie focused a lot on that.

  11. rserreti says:

    Throughout watching the movie Frida, I felt that Salam Hayek did a good job at being who Frida really was. I believe that she displayed many of the characteristics that the original Frida had. Although I believe that Salma Hayek did a good job at protraying Frida, other people did not think so. While reading “Becoming Frida: Latinadad and the Production of Latina Authenticity” it talks about how critics did not believe that Salma Hayek was not “authentic” enough to play the role of Frida. They believed that the person who was playing Frida should have been of Mexican descent. Like in the discussions about “Selena”, I do not agree with this. I believe that if the actress does a good job at representing the person they are acting as, they should be just worthy of the part as any other person.

    Throughout the presentation, I found the discussion about Frida being “empowered” interesting. While watching the movie, Frida did not stand back and let things come to her. Instead, she was independant and did whatever she could to get the things that she wanted in life. Becauce Frida was an empowered woman, her character was impacted greatly. Instead of doing the normal things that women would do, she would outdrink men and have many sexual partners just as men would. I believe this was Frida’s way to show that just because she was crippled by her accident when she was older, it does not mean that she will let it get in the way of her life.

    • I completely agree with you when you say that if an actor or actress does a good job of portraying the real person, it shouldn’t matter whether they are the same race as them or not. This seems to be a reoccurring theme in our class, as something we often discuss. I also mentioned Selena in my post and how people feel the same way about both of these films.

  12. Katie Blake says:

    This article highlights the differences in how Latinas choose to represent themselves in the media. Hayek proclaims herself to be “Latin”, not “Latina”, and seems to look down upon other actresses, such as Jennifer Lopez, who call themselves Latinas yet are not fluent in the language and are US born. She claims that actresses like Lopez are not authentically Latin and only use their ethnicity when it is convenient for them in being type casted into the sexy Latina stereotype. For example, in the article she says of Lopez “it’s very convenient, because when she has to be Latin, she’s Latin.” It seems that Hayek believes she chooses to celebrate her Latin heritage by bringing “authenticity” to her roles instead of just playing into the usual sexy Latina role. Though she does play desirable characters, she places more value into being authentically Mexican.

    While Hayek may be of mixed descent, she is extremely knowledgeable of her Mexican heritage and openly celebrates it. In the past she has played into the typical Latina stereotype, “one more emotionally unpredictable, sexually voluptuous, thickly accented Latina appearing in Hollywood.” (4) However, her role in Frida showcased her commitment to her Mexican heritage. As expressed in the article, she wanted to tell the tale of a person whom she admires who she feels a closeness with since they are both from Mexico. (5)

  13. sorlyz says:

    The Salma Hayek version of Frida was definitely an interesting movie that showed a different portrayal of Latinas. The strength and attitude Frida had in the movie was enlightening and inspiring. Women in Frida’s time were never so bold as to demand a man to come to her. When she told Diego she wanted him to come down from painting his wall so she could talk to him I began to wonder if the women in the last two movies would do the same. I realize that Selena would probably have gone up to talk to Diego and Ana might have walked away. Strange how even in more recent times, women seem to be still a bit submissive.

    The most intriguing thing about Frida was her sexuality. As a woman of the 1920’s, she was proud of being herself and representing herself how she wanted to be represented. Her paintings were very clear on how Frida sees herself. In many of her portraits, you see a stern woman with eyes that hold your gaze. She is also quite intriguing with her very defined unibrow. When we began discussing about masculinity and femininity, I had to remain quiet because I do not believe Frida was either. Frida was just Frida, doing what Frida wants to do just because she wants to.

    • violettaorlowski says:

      You made a really valid point about whether or not Selena or Ana would have acted the same way to Diego. It is important to remember the time period that she was living in. Women were not usually courageous enough to act the way she did and submissiveness was to be the ideal way for a woman to act. We saw this when she did not care about the normal white picket fence image of marriage and when everyone was against the communist party, she proudly marched for them and was not afraid to show what she believed in. To see a woman do this despite what others think, to me, is very brave and noble to do. She broke so many norms and allowed more freedom into her life and did not let anyone have power over her.

    • You say that you don’t think Friday was masculine or feminine, “Frida was just Frida.” Are you saying Frida’s sense of independence and strength is not due to her being a minority? Also, what makes you say that women in Frida’s time didn’t have the attitude and demand that she had?

  14. Kiara Morales says:

    It seems a reoccurring theme with the movies we see that there seems to constantly be a battle with the media clashing with culture. Specifically with the casting of actresses receiving much arousing feedback over the ultimate decision of having them being choosing to play a role of an iconic Latina. Whether they are playing tribute to a historic figure or even playing a part of just being Latina, the mere fact of portraying a Latina opens the debate of culture – whether its body, or accent, or language. In the instance of Frida, Salma Hayek dealt with “ethnic authenticity” as addressed in the article above.

    The most interesting thing to me is that many critics choose who they think Frida Kahlo was – instead of embracing the whole identity of the artist that she became. A passage in the reading sums it up with: “Despite the lack of census about the artist’s authentic life or identity, the characterization of Kahlo as an anti-establishment, defiant, rule breaker remains romanticized, within a global popular culture – making her alluring and profitable”. While the portrayal of Friday in the film was wonderful, I prefer and helps us break so many of the stereotypes that we form about latina woman.

    We spoke in class about the pivotal role that Frida played in breaking many rigidly defined stereotypes such as those set of femininity and marriage, as well as what it meant to be latin. Conversely, the article also discussed a great deal to whole production of the movie and how Salma Hayek felt in relation to heritage. She played the role so beautifully, and in a way that helped viewers break preconceived notions.

  15. I believe one of the most underrated aspects of this film is how similar they made Salma Hayek look to the real Frida Kahlo. One thing that people argued about Selena for example is how Jennifer Lopez may have looked too different physically for whatever reason it may be. (ie not being Mexican). The fact that Hayek looks so similar to Frida definitely contributes to this being a quality and authentic film.

    According to page 100 in the article “Latinidad and the Production of Latina Authenticity,” “As discussed earlier in the chapter, Hayek’s ability to wear Kahlo’s actual clothing is touted as central to her performance of the artist and the movie’s aura of authenticity.” It contributed to the film in such an integral way, for example her indigenous clothing and jewelry portrayed her political allegiance to Mexican communities.

  16. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    Contrary to most people’s comments, there are several attributes about the film Frida and her character that I don’t believe are as “empowered” as people believe. To me, most of her actions in Frida Part 1 are more attention craving than anything. Since I did the presentation on the film, that will be the main focus of my post rather than her actual biographical life or the reading. In the beginning of the film, when she is taking the photograph with her family, she comes out wearing a man’s suit. Throughout the rest of the film, you almost always see her in traditional Mexican attire or dresses- not in suits or other men’s attire. It is not as though she felt the need to express how she truly desired to dress or saw herself, but only enjoyed getting the laughs from her sister and father, and the disapproval of her mother. It is similar to when a toddler comes dressed in their mother’s clothes after playing dress-up for the sake of gaining their mother’s attention.

    Secondly, several people have mentioned her gain in confidence once Diego tells the reporter that she will be more successful than him For being a Mexican women in the 1920’s whose name is still referenced today, that is true, she did turn out to be more successful in my opinion. But why did she need Diego’s opinion or voice in order to further her confidence, or especially begin her career? As a young and UNDECIDED artist in the beginning of the movie, she asks Diego for his opinions about her paintings, stubbornly making him come downstairs. People often seek guidance when starting something new, but the way the movie depicts these two scenes, its almost as though she needs his approval as a crutch in order to launch her career. Most independent, empowered women have very few to no “crutches” according to what I’ve seen.

    Finally, similar to the family portrait scene, as most people have enjoyed referencing this, the party in which Diego brings Frida as his friend, personally, especially exemplifies my point. Both Frida and the woman she dances with crave to be the center of attention, especially since Frida’s love interest by slamming the bottle of tequila between the two men and proclaiming herself to be a prize of a drinking contest, and because she’s the host. Frida merely plays catch-up by intervening and swiping the bottle so everyone in the room’s jaw drops- she knew this was going to happen. And the entire dancing scene, including the kiss at the end, to me seems all like a show. I’ll never know her true intentions obviously since I wasn’t there or reading her mind, but there are plenty of other ways of showing your affection if you’re actually bi-curious, bisexual, polysexual, pansexual, all of the above or whatever/however she chose to define herself.

    Overall, to me, these “moves of empowerment” that most people believe are fantastic for a woman of her time, are only signs of attention cravings- and these are just the biggest moments that stuck out. I fully admire Frida, not so much in this movie or because of how “empowered she was” personality wise, but as an artist who broke barriers by mixing surrealism and symbolism and by making her mark in the world through that, which the movie addresses, but doesn’t fully develop. And I’m not necessarily flawing Frida’s personality- this could truly be the film director’s and writers that I disagree with and their portrayal of her life rather than her actions.

  17. Kelvin Li says:

    Frida definitely doesn’t portray any stereotypes of what we see from Latin women. The only part I do see is her sexuality. She comes off as a bisexual with her male and female lovers and she is very aggressive in doing so. You can especially see this, when she swallows the shot of alcohol and becomes very dominate. She leads the girl onto the dance floor and even then, the dance scene was very sexualized and empowerment. It felt as if she was trying to be masculine and show that to the other guys in the room. I think she could be stereotyped because most Latin women are aggressive and sexualized. It’s also important to note that she also faced adversity because she was a women. Because she was an artist, it was hard to be successful in a male dominated industry. She would always be discriminated because she was a women. So she has to come off as a strong and dominant women to get what she wants. I feel like she is very passionate and you can see that from her paintings.

    She faced so much pain in her life, whether its relationship or the accident. She has always been able to keep her goal of working hard to get her paintings in the museum. I also feel as if she was being sexualized a lot with her love life. There is a lot of lustful and cheating scenes in the movie. This is a stereotype that we have mentioned in class about Latinas. That they are portrayed as sinners and adulterers. I think this is a negative aspect of the film because of her romance outweighs her achievements. And the whole movie is more focus on her relationship with Diego. They show her as an unfaithful lover which she isn’t but they don’t really focus as much on Diego’s love affairs. Do we treat it different because it’s acceptable for men but not for women? Absolutely not and that’s another reason why society discriminates women from men. They are all not treated the same whether it comes to success or relationships.

  18. I am an art history major and have studied the modern art era that Frida was a part of to a large extent. I think the time period has an immense impact on her personality and behavior that some may conceive as liberal or un-stereoptypical. We can’t just generalize Latinas as being from one single time in history. They span across centuries, decades, and vast changes in their societies. The modern art era of the early 1920s was filled with speculation about monogamy and sexuality. Everything because a phallic symbol in the eyes of the modern artist and women aimed to blur the line between themselves and their male counterparts. The short “flapper” haircuts were the style because they were considered unconventional for a women to have short hair like a man. Men even sported hats that resembled female genitalia (look at some Dali paintings for pictures of those too).

    Another way a woman could blur gender lines was to be sexually lax. Frida was merely using her modern day obsession with all things sexual, and decided that it was only human for Diego to want to have sex, even if he couldn’t do it with her. Her ambition, although associated with Latinas, can also be associated with the “We Can Do It” attitude of the female population of the time period.

  19. joserfigueroa says:

    Before watching the movie, the most I knew about Frida was that she was an artist with a unibrow. After watching this film, I have gained a newfound respect for both Frida and actress Salma Hayek. In my opinion, Hayeks’ portrayal of the feisty artist displayed a different perspective on the Latina woman. It was a mix of sexuality and empowerment, giving a realistic view on Latinas. I found myself comparing Hayeks’ performance to the portrayal of Selena by Jennifer Lopez and was able to see many similarities between the two films and stars. The article, Becoming Frida: Latinidad and the Production of Latina Authenticity, states that “without Frida, Salma Hayek’s career might have been relegated to the undimensional terrain of Latina stereotypes- one more emotionally unpredictable sexually voluptuous, thickly accented Latina appearing in Hollywood”(p.92). Similar to how Selena helped establish Lopez’s career, Frida gave Hayek a solidified place in Hollywood. I would argue that between the two performances, Hayek delivered a realistic portrayal of the Latina compared to Lopez’s “fairy tale” portrayal of the late Tejana singer. Hayek’s performance was tough, erotic and feisty but was still delivered a vulnerability that made her seem authentic.
    In our class discussion, the terms masculinity and femininity were thrown around to categorize Frida. As I watched the film, I never was able to lock Frida in one strict gender box but was able to see her lifesyle on the gender spectrum. She was fearless in voicing her opinions and sexuality but still caring in a very maternal way. I believe this film gave a great view of a human being, and the multiple identities that exist in one person. Frida’s character was not meant to be perfect and that is why the role was so powerful.

  20. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    December 6th, 2012
    Contrary to most people’s comments, there are several attributes about the film Frida and her character that I don’t believe are as “empowered” as people believe. To me, most of her actions in Frida Part 1 are more attention craving than anything. Since I did the presentation on the film, that will be the main focus of my post rather than her actual biographical life or the reading. In the beginning of the film, when she is taking the photograph with her family, she comes out wearing a man’s suit. Throughout the rest of the film, you almost always see her in traditional Mexican attire or dresses- not in suits or other men’s attire. It is not as though she felt the need to express how she truly desired to dress or saw herself, but only enjoyed getting the laughs from her sister and father, and the disapproval of her mother. It is similar to when a toddler comes dressed in their mother’s clothes after playing dress-up for the sake of gaining their mother’s attention.
    Secondly, several people have mentioned her gain in confidence once Diego tells the reporter that she will be more successful than him For being a Mexican women in the 1920′s whose name is still referenced today, that is true, she did turn out to be more successful in my opinion. But why did she need Diego’s opinion or voice in order to further her confidence, or especially begin her career? As a young and UNDECIDED artist in the beginning of the movie, she asks Diego for his opinions about her paintings, stubbornly making him come downstairs. People often seek guidance when starting something new, but the way the movie depicts these two scenes, its almost as though she needs his approval as a crutch in order to launch her career. Most independent, empowered women have very few to no “crutches” according to what I’ve seen.
    Finally, similar to the family portrait scene, as most people have enjoyed referencing this, the party in which Diego brings Frida as his friend, personally, especially exemplifies my point. Both Frida and the woman she dances with crave to be the center of attention, especially since Frida’s love interest by slamming the bottle of tequila between the two men and proclaiming herself to be a prize of a drinking contest, and because she’s the host. Frida merely plays catch-up by intervening and swiping the bottle so everyone in the room’s jaw drops- she knew this was going to happen. And the entire dancing scene, including the kiss at the end, to me seems all like a show. I’ll never know her true intentions obviously since I wasn’t there or reading her mind, but there are plenty of other ways of showing your affection if you’re actually bi-curious, bisexual, polysexual, pansexual, all of the above or whatever/however she chose to define herself.
    Overall, to me, these “moves of empowerment” that most people believe are fantastic for a woman of her time, are only signs of attention cravings- and these are just the biggest moments that stuck out. I fully admire Frida, not so much in this movie or because of how “empowered she was” personality wise, but as an artist who broke barriers by mixing surrealism and symbolism and by making her mark in the world through that, which the movie addresses, but doesn’t fully develop. And I’m not necessarily flawing Frida’s personality- this could truly be the film director’s and writers that I disagree with and their portrayal of her life rather than her actions.

  21. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    November 6th
    I agree with the fact that there was always something between Diego and Frida, whether it was mere attraction, chemistry, respect for one another, etc., however I genuinely think there was no reason for them to be married. In a way, if you genuinely love someone enough to marry them or decide you want to spend the rest of your life with them without a marriage, that means you love them enough to give up all the other women or men in the world (or what it is supposed to mean). Most of the situations in their “marriage” portrayed in the movie, such as bringing him lunch at work, traveling together, being there for someone during a miscarriage, or being supportive of each other’s careers are all things that are not specific to only husbands or wives. This can be easily done by a friend, relative, boyfriend/girlfriend, etc. The only thing that seemed solely unique to marriage was their sex life and the want to have a child together. I believe you can have open relationships where if both parties agree to the terms, it is in fact more functional than being monogamous. However, I don’t think marriage is necessary if you’re not going to be monogamous since marriage is usually defined through religion or legalities. And personally, I believe you don’t need a piece of paper to “prove your love” to someone.

  22. Gillianna Mendoza says:

    I completely agree with the majority of what you’ve said. The movie did a great job interpreting the “fireball” and “loose cannon” Frida Kahlo was and all that she represented. But regardless of how much the movie attempted to portray her as an independent woman “ahead of her time”, there were so many small details that portrayed a much more relevant and contradicting dependence on her surroundings. A lot of her rebellion, whether it was her way of dressing, her behavior and some personality traits, marriage to Diego, and like you said, retaliation of cheating whenever he cheated was all influenced by other factors, and seems almost childish to me at how much attention she craves from all of those around her. However, for the right reasons, I do admire her, and understand why some people put her on a pedestal, but for strictly art related purposes. She redefined art, with her style, while also breaking through as one of the only well known female fine artists. How many other female artists can you think of worth mentioning along side Picasso and Van Gogh? If any, you can count them on one hand, which is why in that sense, I can see why her name and paintings are known in several million households to this day. But in accordance to what you said, the praise of who she was as a person sometimes to me seems very under analyzed.

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