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"A Few Small Nips" by Frida Khalo

Some situations and feelings are often indescribable in words, and some people use their canvas and paints to bring their stories and emotions into life. Frida Kahlo was a Mexican artist and was famous for her self-portraits. She often shared her life experiences through her paintings. In 1935, there was a murder case that she found exciting and horrible at the same time. She painted "a few small nips" in order to capture the essence of this story. In the painting, a naked woman is lying in her bed covered in her blood while her husband, who stabbed her several times, is standing beside her with the knife in his hand. There is a debate that the man stabbed his wife because he suspected her unfaithfulness. There is a white and a black dove in the painting that might suggest the good and ugly parts of love. The painting represents this murder case alone and every other case where women are tortured by their spouses or male family members in the name of honor.

The fascinating thing about this painting is that it is also assumed the depiction of Kahlo's husband's unfaithfulness. Kahlo found out that her husband was cheating on her with her sister, and it is assumed that she represents herself by the stabbed naked woman. The woman's nakedness shows her vulnerability, and all the blood and stabs depict her emotional torture. Interestingly, in both scenarios, when a woman is unfaithful or a victim of unfaithfulness, she is the one who is stabbed. Women are often victim blamed when their men are not loyal. And Kahlo portrayed this issue in such fineness.

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3 commentaires

I must say you have written an excellent blog. The analysis is beautifully put up with such finesse that it actually makes you think about such an issue. It is a complex issue to be very honest but sadly this is happening frequently nowadays. I myself have witnessed such cases in which women are tortured emotionally to such an extent that they become extremely vulnerable.


I agree with what the women has to face in both the conditions. If a woman is unfaithful, she is going to be stabbed in the name of honour because she brought shame to the entire family. On the contrary if her husband ditches her, again women are taken to be responsible. People speculate about her laziness, about she being not beautiful enough and about how she was not obedient to her spouse which resulted in eventually getting ditched. There can be times where women can also be the toxic one in a relationship but that is usually one out 100. Either way in the end women gets stabbed in the back.


It is interesting that you brought up this image and presented an analysis of it; the visual bears important aspects with relation to the ideas presented by Stuart Hall in "The Work of Representation". Meaning is not fixed which allows for the process of "interpretation" as Hall puts it. This image too, as you have stated, can have multiple readings in terms of what it conveys. Another idea that can be applied here is that of the semiotic approach with the denotation (the outward depiction of a bleeding, naked woman lying on a bed, a man dressed in blood-stained clothes and bearing a dagger standing beside her and two birds holding a banner) and the connotation or deeper meaning (such…

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