The Media Has Failed Marilyn Monroe

Either portray her correctly or simply let her rest in peace.


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Ashlyn Miller, Staff Writer

The media has always portrayed Marilyn Monroe in a bad light since her rise to fame. Usually, this came in the form of a promiscuous sex symbol. The naive “dumb blonde” character she portrayed in her work was a separate persona from the intelligent woman that she truly was. Even after her death, she is plagued by the entertainment industry and is even still constantly exploited.

Biopics directed by men only seeking to fetishize Monroe are only further harming her image. Misinformation about her life spreads easily when framed as truth in these films.

The film “Blonde” is a perfect example of this pattern that continues to plague Monroe’s name. The film is not only largely fiction but is unnecessarily graphic with several sexual assault scenes that didn’t even match real events in Monroe’s life. The director also uses her painful abortion as an opportunity to push a “pro-life” agenda. The directors of these bio-pics films much like this one will take real tragedies that Monroe suffered through and find a way to make them sexy to fit their narrative or their fantasy.  They see a woman’s hardships not as struggles, but as moments when a woman is fragile and easy for them to manipulate.

There is a reason we as a population have such a fascination with this woman and her life so much so that we fill the need to make bad biopics about her. Her photos are plastered on essentially everything. This is because she left 75% of her intellectual properties to her acting coach, Lee Strasburg. Strasburg then passed, and the rights were then passed down to his wife. This woman then sold the rights to corporate-chain heads who are still profiting from selling rights to still images from her films.

This continues even 60 years after her death. The way I and many other people my age were introduced to her was through these stills taken from her films. An example of this is the photo where Monroe is standing over a grate and her white dress is being blown up. Most people don’t even know the title of the movie this is taken from, “The 7-Year Itch”. Monroe had enough trouble establishing herself as a legitimate actress in her day in age, that I think she would hate that her face and body are still being discussed and applauded more than her actual work.

Monroe was a good actress, but nobody wants to talk about that. She trained under the aforementioned Lee Strasburg in method acting and comedic acting. She was very funny and played comedic roles very well. Critics tend to be dismissive towards the comedic genre as a whole because they fail to realize how hard it is to be intentionally funny and have good comedic timing on camera. This is something that Monroe does extremely well in several of her movies throughout her career.

She was not just a good actress, but also an activist. Monroe fought for a better world for women in show business and even started her own production company. “Marilyn Monroe Productions” was a company that paid women just as much as men. It is under her name that Marilyn thrived the most as an actress, as she was able to show her range and talent in roles that were more than skin deep.

Monroe should be allowed to just rest peacefully. She deserves to be treated as more than a cash cow for anyone looking to make a quick buck off of her. We as a humanity need to stop trying to bring dead celebrities “back to life” in the form of fictional biopics and exploitative advertising.