"She-ro" Barbie Frida Kahlo's head, that is—
lying in the playroom corner
beside her Mexican peasant get-up
and the slim-proportioned, headless body
of every other Barbie (our girls,
disinterested, having disappeared).
Frida's eyes glared up at me: thoughtless
dupe who'd imagined corporate interests
might somehow bottle in a Barbie
the artist's damaged body, her Communist
dislike of the capitalist rich, her flaws,
complexities, symbolic art—all subordinated
to a plastic-perfect Barbie figure.
I regret my advert-susceptible mind
helped you make bank on Frida's name.
(Had I kept the receipt, you'd see me back!)
Fortunately, books are still "in", the girls say.
We're reading one now about real Frida
and her animalitos: a vehicle truer to the artist.
As for Barbie, c'mon, that's so yesterday!
© Darrell Petska
Mattel unveiled 'role model' Barbies for International Women's Day and I've never felt less inspired
Darrell Petska has had work published in Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Chiron Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Star 82 Review, Bird's Thumb, Verse-Virtual, and elsewhere. Darrell worked for many years as communications editor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, leaving finally to focus on his own writing and his family. He lives in Middleton, Wisconsin.