Throughout much of her life, and even now, 69 years after her death, Marilyn Monroe is considered a larger-than-life Hollywood icon. And now, thanks to a new 26-foot-tall, 34,000 pound-memorial statue of the actress recently unveiled in Palm Springs, the actress is literally larger than life — but not everyone is pleased with the city council’s decision to memorialize the actress, with many calling the massive statue “sexist,” “scandalous” (due to her exposed underwear and classic yet racy pose), “hyper-sexualized” and “demeaning to women.”
CNN’s Jori Finkel has reported that on Sunday, June 20, “city council members presided over a dedication ceremony for the sculpture by late artist Seward Johnson known as “Forever Marilyn” — or #metoomarilyn by those who find it exploitative — that shows the actress with her white dress flying up above her waist.”
@CityofPS plans to put a 26 ft tall statue of Marilyn Monroe with her underwear exposed in the middle of downtown. Why are they encouraging upskirting for Instagram pics in 2021?
— Women’s March Foundation (@wmnsfoundation) June 19, 2021
Many activist groups are unhappy with Monroe’s presence in the desert city, including the newly formed CReMa (the Committee to Relocate Marilyn) and the Women’s March LA. Officials from the nearby Palm Springs Air Museum located directly behind the statue are also outraged, saying visitors — including children — are immediately greeted with the sight of Monroe’s exposed underwear and billowing skirt, which many critics say encourage “upskirting.”
“The last four directors of the museum have publicly opposed its placement [near the museum],” Finkel reported.
Both CReMa and Women’s March LA sent protestors to disrupt the statue’s dedication ceremony, and their chants and shouts did indeed drown out a number of the event’s speakers.
Multiple protests, a popular petition, a legal action and a small fire have not been enough to stop a supersized and hyper-sexualised Marilyn Monroe sculpture being installed on a public site next to the @PSArtMuseum #metoomarilyn https://t.co/Bj3jDoruly
— The Art Newspaper (@TheArtNewspaper) June 21, 2021
“It was nonstop chanting, both pro and con — you couldn’t really hear the speakers,” said realtor and co-founder of CReMa, Chris Menrad. “The goal of us being there was basically to disrupt the event and communicate our displeasure.”
The city council has argued that the Marilyn Monroe statue will help bring tourists and visitors into the city, which has struggled following COVID-19. However, fashion designer Trina Turk, CReMa’s other co-founder, told CNN that Instagram pictures and tags alone wouldn’t be enough to save the city, saying, “social media posts don’t pay the bills.”
Turk says CreMa plans to continue pursuing its lawsuit against the city and the statue’s owner, P.S. Resorts, demanding its relocation and movement to what they consider a more appropriate area.
“We’re going to see the legal thing through to the very end, even if that means appealing and appealing and appealing. I don’t think the protests will be over either,” Turk said.