Hollywood’s constant misinterpretation of Marilyn Monroe

Oh, Marilyn! // Lying down to finally take a break, Marilyn Monroe sleeps after a long day of work. She’s surrounded by papers about her and a letter that reads “Dear Hollywood,”. (Photo by Talia Medina)

by Talia Medina 

Content Warning: This article discusses some triggering topics including: a brief mention of S/A, drug overdose, abuse, and miscarriages 

Marilyn Monroe was one of the most well-recognized actresses in Hollywood in the 1960s and is still incredibly influential today, but many fail to realize how tragic her life actually was because of the continuation of the media’s disgusting portrayals of Monroe. Blonde was an incredibly flawed film that captured the rise and demise of Marilyn Monroe (played by Ana De Armas) in the most unrealistic way possible.

Once the film was released, in September, many critics and viewers noticed that the film didn’t properly portray Monroe. The film itself was not about Monroe’s real life but was instead based on the novel of the same name by Joyce Carol Oates who previously confirmed that the novel was a fictionalized take on her life. Many films about celebrities tend to have some things dramatized. Blonde, however, completely erased Marilyn Monroe’s true character and instead illustrated her as who many people portrayed her to be. Monroe was known as a “blonde bombshell” or “the dumb blonde” because of the roles she would play in many films such as Some Like it Hot, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and The Seven Year Itch. 

Another thing to note is that the film uses Marilyn’s trauma as a way to add shock value to the production. Blonde has become infamous for its NC-17 rating, which is the rating for movies only appropriate for adults because of the explicit content. 

Blonde shows multiple scenes of Marilyn Monroe being taken advantage of by many of the producers and people she worked with throughout her career. In reality, it only caused the film to be uncomfortable because it would focus on scenes that caused Marilyn trauma and completely erased who she really was. The film only focused on the appeal her body had to men and how they would only consider her beauty rather than her real talents. However, the real truth about Monroe was that she was an intelligent and creative woman who did many things that at the time were seen as “controversial”. She stood up for herself multiple times and even had her own production company because she was sick and tired of not having creative freedom in her films. 

The film also included bizarre scenes of Marilyn’s unborn child speaking to her while she was pregnant, implying that Monroe instead got abortions to avoid having to deal with taking care of a child. This made it seem like Marilyn didn’t experience miscarriages throughout her life or that she didn’t even want to have children at all when in actuality one of Marilyn’s dreams was to be a mother. The film was directed by a man, Andrew Dominik, who seemed to add his personal thoughts and opinions. Marilyn Monroe’s life has been incorrectly portrayed multiple times, and it’s because each time a movie is filmed, it’s through the eyes of a man. This causes misconceptions about womanly topics because these men have never experienced them. This idea becomes evident in Blonde with Andrew Dominik stating why he believes Monroe is just an object instead of a real person. The director also portrayed Marilyn’s unfortunate death from a barbiturate overdose in a way that is not only repulsive but also disgraceful to many fans of Marilyn Monroe. 

Blonde is just another example of Hollywood continuing to exploit Marilyn Monroe’s life and portraying her not as a person but as the stereotypical showgirl she was in her films. It also shows that Marilyn’s life needs to be directed and portrayed by a woman. Since Blonde is now officially the sixteenth flawed movie about Marilyn Monroe, the exploitation of her life needs to come to an end, and it is a shame that she is not here to defend herself.