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"Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair" by Frida Kahlo, 1940 | MoMA Education

Video transcript
- My name is Jackie Delamatre. I'm a School Programs Educator here at the Museum of Modern Art. And this piece is by Frida Kahlo. It's called Self-Portrait with Cropped Hair. I really like to teach from this object because to me, the conversations here really unfold like a story, a series of observations that lead into further interpretations until at the end, we're delving into this whole area of feminism, what is beauty, of a question of a woman's place in the world. What usually happens is they're noticing who is this person. They're starting to think about the clothing. They're thinking about the hair. They're thinking about the facial structure. They're thinking about the earring they can see. And their main questions to themselves are, "Is this a woman or is this a man?" And then we start to see and notice the hair on the ground. And then they start to see the scissors and they say, "Actually, maybe this is a woman who cut-off her hair." But not only is it a woman who cut-off her hair, it's a woman who's wearing a suit, so then it brings up another question: "Why is she wanting to look like a man?" That's usually how they phrase it. Then, what it comes to is the top. There are musical notes there and they're in Spanish. And it says, "Look, "if I loved you, it was because of your hair. "But now that you are without hair, "I don't love you anymore." One reason that I think this piece is really relevant, really exciting to students, is the fact that this is something that they're dealing with in their social lives all the time. People are not necessarily just going to like them for what's on the inside and feeling the unfairness of that, the injustice of it. So, in this case, not only the injustice of somebody having said, "I only loved you for your hair," but also the injustice of what it was like to be a woman artist at that time, to be married to somebody who had so much fame and so much success as a male artist, and really having to wait posthumously to get the fame and the love and the respect that Frida Kahlo now has and I think really deserves.