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Perform a feminist reading of Frida Kahlo's 'The Two Fridas'

The two Frida’s are linked by a shared heart that has been pierced and is bleeding. I read this painting as speaking to the effects that patriarchal institutions have on the way women lead their lives. Kahlo’s tumultuous relationship with Rivera was a productive influence on her art, but here, Frida seems to be mourning for the identity that she possessed before Rivera entered her life. That the Frida on the left, the ‘original’ Frida so to speak that is cutting the artery not only shows that she is physically and emotionally severing herself from her ex-husband, but also from the parts of her identity that she assumed as a result of being with him. It must be stressed that this identity also involved the adoption of some of the traditional signifiers of ‘La Mexicana’, the culturally approved way of functioning for a married, Mexican women of that era. The fact that the blood falls on the Frida on the left demonstrates how Frida’s own personal identity had been shaped by the influence of men. The blood then acts as a metaphor for Frida’s mourning for the ‘original’ signifiers of her identity. Nonetheless, the severing is hopeful. Kahlo is signalling a return to herself, and to speak in Judith Butler’s language, aims to perform her own conception of feminine behaviour.

 

Nessa H. 11 Plus English tutor, A Level English tutor, 13 plus  Engli...

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Degree: English Language and Literature (Bachelors) - Kings, London University

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