The other day my husband asked me about Frida Kahlo’s paintings, what they really represented, and why I liked them; my daughter, who is six, also asked me the same thing. It made me a bit challenging to find a middle ground where I could explain concepts like feminism and surrealism so that my husband and daughter understood the concept behind the paintings and what they wanted to convey.
The words I used to explain to my daughter who Frida Kahlo was and why she painted like that were not at all the same as the ones I used to explain to my husband, since he did know who Kahlo was and also considering that my husband has more vocabulary that my six-year-old daughter.
The explanation I gave my husband was that Kahlo expressed her emotions through her paintings, and one of the most characteristic things she did was that she masculinized her appearance, allowed and accepted facial hair, and forgot about gender stereotypes, which were so popular at the time. Frida is a symbol of feminism for more than her paintings, she was a free woman, and this was reflected in her works, in which she spoke openly about sexuality, abortion, breastfeeding, and motherhood. She gave voice to women.
However, the explanation to my daughter was more difficult for me since I had to use a vocabulary that was understandable for her age. I began by saying that Frida Kahlo was a Mexican woman who did not care what people thought of her physical appearance; she dedicated herself to painting her feelings her emotions. She was a woman who, through her art, sought to find equality between men and women.