Sunday, 11 March 2018

Another Mother’s Day!

Happy Mothers’ Day! There it is! Another ... Day!

When I was a child it was called Mothering Sunday, or at least that was the case where I was brought up. You went to Sunday School in the morning and you went home with a card for your mum. Card shops, which in any case didn’t exist in their current huge card-emporia form, didn’t sell special cards. And in primary school you didn’t make a special card to take home. So teachers didn’t have to worry about the possibility of children who for one reason or another didn’t live with mum. I don’t think it occurred to our Sunday School that such a thing might be possible.

Neither was so much fuss made about it that childless women felt the need to avoid any mention of it. Here is a link to an article about older mums and those who opt to be childless, or often nowadays don’t opt but find it happening anyway.

When I was a child, back when I brought my Mothering Sunday card home from Sunday School (Good grief! She must have received four identical cards before the older two of us moved on to other things!) we were given an explanation for Mothering Sunday. Girls who were in service, maids and cooks and cleaners for the gentry, had that one Sunday free - free to go home and visit their mothers. So on their day off they cleaned and cooked and generally helped out at home instead of in the “big house”. If that is true, then Mothers’s Day is not quite the celebration of motherhood that it has become today.

As far as I know Frida Kahlo, subject of yesterday’s post, had no children. It is unlikely, I suppose, that after childhood polio and her horrible accident in her late teens that she was actually able to have children. But the Barbie Doll people have made her part of their “Inspiring women” series of dolls. Here is a link to a picture of the doll, which you can acquire for $29.99.

However the doll has become the subject of a dispute. Frida Kahlo’s great niece claims the the toymaker Mattel does not have the rights to use the artist’s image. She doesn’t want money or any sort of compensation but she wants them to redesign the doll. Apparently it doesn’t reflect Kahlo’s heavy, nearly conjoined eyebrows, and its costume doesn’t accurately portray the elaborate Tehuana-style dresses the artist wore.

But the Mattel company said in a statement that it worked with the Panama-based Frida Kahlo Corp, “which owns all the rights”. “The Frida Kahlo Corporation actively participated in the process of designing the doll, Mattel has its permission and a legal contract that grants it the rights to make a doll of the great Frida Kahlo,” the company’s statement said.

Oh, dear! A bit of a legal wrangle going on! It’s rather ironic that Frida Kahlo, a communist, should be portrayed by a company from the consumer society! So it goes.

Now, just recently I came across a series of books for children, each one based on the lives strong women - suffragettes, adventurers, artists. One of these was Frida Kahlo. I wonder if her great niece has seen these and if she approves of the image of her great aunt!

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