“Blonde,” the newest addition in besmirching Monroe’s life


campus editor

15 minutes and 23 seconds into the movie, I had to turn “Blonde” off. 

The new Netflix movie starring Ana de Armas is based on the fictional biography of Marilyn Monroe. The movie depicts Monroe’s rise to fame as well as her eventual death. 

With no prior knowledge about Monroe’s legacy, the controversy surrounding this film seems completely unwarranted. Just another biopic. But in the case of Marilyn Monroe, it seems her legacy may never rest. 

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most iconic stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. Her coquettish persona paired with her revealing wardrobe made her an instant sex symbol and fascination to the public. 

Monroe’s persona was curated for the male gaze. She emphasized her hourglass figure with tailored dresses, spoke with a light cadence and played off the “dumb blonde” stereotypes . Paired with her tragic childhood, she appeared to be “attainable” as opposed to the other starlets at the time.

Her persona however, was a stark contrast to her true personality. Behind her image, Monroe struggled with depression, anxiety and insomnia. She endured several abusive relationships and her facade led to her to be exploited for overtly sexual roles.

Her unfortunate death at 36, did not stop the public’s fascination with her. Monroe’s death catapulted her fame tenfold and so came the continuous,  most overt and revolting exploitation of a person post-death.

“Blonde” is one of several works about Monroe’s life that continue to sensationalize the trauma she experienced during her life for monetary gain. The treatment of her legacy can be observed with the handling of her famed wardrobe. 

On May 19, 1962, Monroe wore a sheer, rhinestone encrusted dress to sing happy birthday to former president John F. Kennedy. 54 years later, the dress was auctioned to “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!,” a museum for odd attractions. Earlier this year, the dress was damaged after Kim Kardashian wore it at the Met Gala. 

Rather than the dress being preserved alongside many other historical dresses at the Smithsonian, the dress was improperly handled by the staff at Ripley’s. After the Met Gala, the dress is now in poor condition with seams busted and rhinestones that have fallen off the dress itself. This incident shows the lack of respect people have for Monroe’s legacy.

Besides the fact that the dress is a historical artifact, it was intended by the designer Bob Mackie to only be worn by Monroe. 

“Blonde” has received a NC-17 rating for its sexual content, including several sexual assault scenes which never occurred in Monroe’s life. To include such scenes that aren’t accurate to Monroe’s life or provide any progression to the storyline they fabricated, it reinforces the idea that Monroe was purely a sexual being and only capable of being treated as such.

The least Hollywood can do is finally let her rest and stop exploiting Monroe past her grave.