Blonde Is Simply One other Technique to Exploit Marilyn Monroe

Content material warning: this essay discusses sexual assault at size, together with a visceral description of 1 incident particularly. Please proceed thoughtfully.

After I watched the film “Blonde,” I took a bathe. I pressed the palms of my fingers over my eyes and stood there till the water turned chilly. Alongside the again of my eyelids, I replayed a scene from the film — Marilyn Monroe’s face pressed in opposition to the tough carpet of a studio govt’s workplace as he pulls down her white underwear with one hand whereas putting the opposite on the again of her neck. The bile that rose in my throat was greater than only a response to the trauma of the scene; I’m repulsed by what it represents — a twisted metaphor.

Marilyn Monroe, the intercourse icon, was raped by Hollywood.

Naturally, I watched “Blonde,” which is being billed as “a fictionalized chronicle of the inner life of Marilyn Monroe,” by means of the filter of my very own experiences with abuse, sexual assault, and, merely, being a girl. After every rape scene or bodily assault, I adjusted my eyes in opposition to a clean wall to cease feeling nauseous as I heard Monroe proceed to sob on display. The New York Instances writes, “The character endures an awesome sequence of relentless torments that, removed from arousing worry and pity, mirror a particular sort of directorial sadism.” But it surely’s greater than the ache we witness. It is the aim of the ache — or, fairly, the dearth of goal.

However what does it imply to be a intercourse icon? If it is a image of embracing pleasure and giving the finger to what a “good lady” is meant to appear like, that is not what the film exhibits us.

“Blonde,” accessible on Netflix, is a horror film. It is two hours and 45 minutes of torture porn. After numerous scenes of sexual assault, rape, and bodily and emotional abuse, it looks like director Andrew Dominik is punishing Monroe for what she represented then and now: a intercourse icon. However what does it imply to be a intercourse icon? In the event that they’re symbols of embracing pleasure and giving the finger to what a “good lady” is meant to appear like, that is not what the film exhibits us.

In reality, after practically three hours of watching the biopic, I used to be clueless about who Monroe was as an individual. There is no entry level to know the thoughts of the protagonist higher. There is no hero’s journey on this tragedy. As an alternative, it feels nearer to watching the Discovery Channel when the hyenas circle their prey — Marilyn Monroe’s eyes broad like Bambi. I discovered myself questioning why it appeared as if the film focuses extra on portraying Monroe as a sufferer than it did on delving into her inside world.

After receiving criticism for the film’s portrayal of the protagonist, Dominik, in an interview with the British Film Institute (BFI), indicated that he believes Monroe is misrepresented by modern-day portrayals of her, saying: “There’s a sense that we need to reinvent her in line with immediately’s political considerations.” However I got here away from “Blonde” feeling as if the administrators and producers (who embody Brad Pitt) had deliberately used Monroe’s story to indicate how brutal the world of Hollywood — and, extra typically, the world — is for girls. For me, the depiction ended up feeling as if it is glorifying violence and sexual assault, emphasizing a miserable actuality with out doing a lot to maneuver the dialog ahead.

Girls celebrities are nonetheless usually unable to harness their sexual confidence for themselves. Only recently, Meghan Markle talked about this on her “Archetypes” podcast episode with Paris Hilton. Markle recalled her time as a briefcase mannequin on “Deal or No Deal” the place she was “diminished to a bimbo” and would line as much as get her lashes, bra padding, and hair extensions retouched earlier than filming tapings. She was additionally given weekly spray-tan vouchers and repeatedly advised to “suck it in” by a girl who ran the present. “I did not like being compelled to be all appears to be like and little substance, and that is the way it felt for me on the time — being diminished to this particular archetype.” The unlucky reality is that sexuality is thrust upon ladies, as spoken about by Scarlett Johansson and Millie Bobby Brown. Or, in the event that they attempt to declare it for themselves, they’re punished for it.

“[Monroe] was an individual who was terribly self-destructive,” Dominik added within the interview. But I nearly want we see her “self-destructive” habits as a result of it could’ve given us perception into her inner dialogue. I stared on the display watching Ana de Armas’s unimaginable efficiency fall flat as a result of it feels just like the equal of a one-way mirror. I knew she was staring out, eyes gleaming with feelings, however I had no thought what she really wished or thought. Regardless of being billed as a narrative of Monroe’s “inside life,” the one destruction on the display is exterior, not inner.

Maybe that was intentional; a approach to reinforce the truth that Monroe has turn into somebody the remainder of us are free to challenge our personal ideas, wishes, and beliefs onto. The general public is free to forged her as an empowered intercourse image, or a weak sufferer, or a crafty businesswoman. However Monroe’s attraction lies in her complexities, and “Blonde” leaves her as one-dimensional as ever whereas reinforcing again and again that sexual expression results in violence.

It may be argued that this film is a product of the male gaze — notably director Dominik’s gaze. However, in fact, so was the phantasm that’s Marilyn Monroe. As a result of what the film acquired proper was that Monroe was only a character created by Norma Jeane Mortenson, who de Armas performed — ladies inside ladies, taking over much less and fewer house. In that approach, “Blonde” represents to me the bigger drawback round how society treats ladies immediately and the way they’re “allowed” to exist. And whereas we are able to see the issue and speak about it, I am left questioning what’s actually being performed to unravel it.

For those who or a liked one are experiencing sexual assault, name the Nationwide Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673.

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