The Self-Portrait Of A Symbol

Words: Faith Thurnwald
Photos: Faith Thurnwald
Model: Lara De Koster

Frida Kahlo has become a symbol, a hipster icon. Her face is immortalized, as she stares back at you from whatever miscellaneous merchandise you purchased. We hang her on our walls, wear her on our ears and display her on our over-priced coffee table hardcovers. We glamorize her life, but do we ever stop and realise what Frida Kahlo truly represents? Here, I use ‘we’ as the collective consumer capitalists who buy into products with Frida’s face stamped on them. But evidently we don’t realise what we’re buying into, or do we just not give a shit?


Surely the modern consumer doesn’t want to convey to the world that they support, and in doing so, represent Frida Kahlo’s ideals. She was a disabled alcoholic commie who fucked Trotsky. Disabled. Alcoholic. Commie. That’s a trifecta that you don’t want to bring home to meet the parents. Not to mention the whole Trotsky thing…


The absolute ridiculousness of peddling a symbol that doesn’t align with your belief system is like walking around with a swastika on your forehead – a slightly hyperbolic antidote, but I digress.


It seems wrong to reduce such a woman. She was indefinable. Now known as ‘the chick with the mono-brow’, or someone who mastered selfies before the iPhone.

Unless you’re thinking about joining your local communist party any time soon; a temptation I find myself flirting with now and then or you just can’t be fucked to wax your mustache, then perhaps think over which symbols you wish to convey to the world. But these are simply the doors of perception, so do whatever the hell you want.