Critics complain the doll doesn't reflect Kahlo's heavy, almost conjoined eyebrows, and they say its costume doesn't accurately portray the elaborate Tehuana-style dresses that the artist wore.
Frida Kahlo's family released a statement through Instagram claiming that Mattel does not have proper authorization to produce a Barbie doll in Kahlo's likeness. The corporation, which now operates separately from the Kahlo family, said Mattel received rights from the painter's niece, Isolda Pinedo Kahlo, who died in 2007.
As a part of Barbie's "Inspiring Women" collection, Frida Kahlo was one of three women to be commemorated.
Romeo's lawyer Pablo Sangri said the family established the Frida Kahlo Corporation in partnership with another company called Casablanca Distributors in 2005. Salma Hayek also had something to say about the doll.
As the latest addition to Barbie's Iconic Women series created to inspire young girls, she joins aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart and NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson as the latest BFFs in Barbie's phonebook.
Hayek, who played Kahlo in 2002 and earned an Oscar nomination for her role, took to Instagram on Sunday to share her upset for the creation that she believes misses the point of the late artist's life efforts. She celebrated her uniqueness. "How could they turn her into a Barbie", Hayek wrote, with two thumbs down and a "body image" hashtag.
"Mrs Mara Romeo, great-niece of Frida Kahlo, is the sole owner of the rights of the image of the illustrious Mexican painter Frida Kahlo", the family said in a statement.
The image of Kahlo and her instantly recognizable eyebrows - which she let grow into a single strip of dark brow in defiance of convention - has been stamped onto an explosion of consumer products in recent years: nail polish, bags, shoes, notebooks and much, much more.
The corporation said in a statement that it "celebrates the ideological contributions of Frida Kahlo which have transcended the borders of art and which will influence new generations as a world icon through the Frida Kahlo Barbie, which conserves the essence of Barbie and the legacy of Frida Kahlo".