This self-portrait shows Kahlo as an androgynous figure. Scholars have seen this gesture as a confrontational response to Rivera's demand for a divorce, revealing the artist's injured sense of female pride and her self-punishment for the failures of her marriage. Her masculine attire also reminds the viewer of early family photographs in which Kahlo chose to wear a suit. The cropped hair also presents a nuanced expression of the artist's identity. She holds one cut braid in her left hand while many strands of hair lie scattered on the floor. The act of cutting a braid symbolizes a rejection of girlhood and innocence, but equally can be seen as the severance of a connective cord (maybe umbilical) that binds two people or two ways of life. Either way, braids were a central element in Kahlo's identity as the traditional La Mexicana, and in the act of cutting off her braids, she rejects some aspect of her former identity.
The hair strewn about the floor echoes an earlier self-portrait painted as the Mexican folkloric figure La Llorana, here ridding herself of these female attributes. Kahlo clutches a pair of scissors, as the discarded strands of hair become animated around her feet; the tresses appear to have a life of their own as they curl across the floor and around the legs of her chair. Above her sorrowful scene, Kahlo inscribed the lyrics and music of a song that declares cruelly, "Look, if I loved you it was for your hair, now that you are hairless, I don't love you anymore," confirming Kahlo's own denunciation and rejection of her female roles.
In likely homage to Kahlo's painting, Finnish photographer Elina Brotherus photographed Wedding Portraits in 1997. On the occasion of her marriage, Brotherus cuts her hair, the remains of which her new husband holds in his hands. The act of cutting one's hair symbolic of a moment of change happens in the work of other female artists too, including that of Francesca Woodman and Rebecca Horn.