Essay on Marilyn Monroe

Essay on Marilyn Monroe

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Hollywood is a very powerful modern day institution, where a star's image can characterize, shape and circulate societal myths and ideologies. The construction of a star's image as a commodity of their societal myths and ideologies has the extraordinary power to exert messages so that even the smallest details become significant yet not overtly obvious. How a star's image is produced and then consumed can justify a society's relationship with that image and therefore aid in explaining the social construction of what society deems as their 'reality'. A star's image is created through a range of representations churned out by Hollywood. Capitalism from the commercialization of these images has made Hollywood the dominant force it is today.
A re-emerging image in Hollywood is that of the sex symbol, represented by Marilyn Monroe in the 1950's. Monroe is Hollywood's classic sex symbol, where the cultural phenomena she creates, instigates her immortal and legendary status. The first ever issue of Playboy magazine features Marilyn Monroe as the “cover girl”. By decoding meaning from this magazine cover, the visual and written text becomes a communicator for both obvious and subtle meaning conveyed through her image.

The slogan 'Entertainment for Men' is a signifier for the down classing of females as nothing more then sexual objects in our society. As a sign, the written text can be categorized as an icon as it directly connotes Marilyn Monroe as being 'Entertainment for Men', a playmate valued only for her body. This sign heavily draws on the inferior position that women held in the 1950's. The slogan only reinforces the 1950's discourse of a male dominated world where women were considered the 'lesser' sex. This cult...


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... of the social construction in society. Marilyn Monroe as the prototypal sex symbol of the 1950s does illustrate social construction and ideologies upheld in that period. Society was encouraged by Hollywood as an institution to approve of and accept values associated with the Marilyn Monroe persona. Monroe's image naturalizes the dominating discourse in the 1950's of females as sex objects where for a woman to be successful she had to be beautiful.
The myth that utilitarianism and Hollywood equates to success and happiness can be rejected by deconstructing Marilyn Monroe's image to justify that a star is merely a commercial package. As more people challenged ideologies and rejected a dominant discourse of females as sexual objects, an image has emerged which portrays women as more powerful and independent, thus reflecting the changing role of women in society.

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