Despite multiple protests, a huge Marilyn Monroe sculpture has been installed on a public site near Palm Springs Art Museum in California.
The ‘Forever Marilyn’ statue by late artist Seward Johnson received flak for being ‘hyper-sexualised’ — it displays the actor with her white dress flying above her waist, exposing her underwear. Protestors have dubbed the sculpture #MeTooMarilyn.
The placement was opposed by the museum’s directors as well as activist groups like CReMa (the Committee to Relocate Marilyn) and the Women’s March LA, reports CNN. A petition was also reportedly started by an activist group who said Monroe “wanted to be taken seriously as an artist and not just a sexual icon”.
The statue was brought to Palm Springs by a city-funded tourism agency under the pretext that it boosted tourism immensely, as per reports.
Netizens also reacted against the statue for showcasing ‘misogyny in the centre of the town’ with the hashtag #metoomarilyn. Here’s what they said:
#WMF founder @EmilianaGuereca quoted ON SITE: “When you exit the museum, the statue is designed to look at her crotch… and take photos…It may have been acceptable in the 1950s, but we are in 2021 fighting the same thing and…saying ENOUGH is ENOUGH” @MyDesert #MeTooMarilyn pic.twitter.com/wZUWJKp8aK
— Women’s March Foundation (@wmnsfoundation) June 23, 2021
“Let’s call it what it is. It is misogyny on display in Palm Springs. It is also the way that it is up-skirting. The way that it is built is intentionally built to look up her shirt and take crotch shots.”
WMF’s Executive Director Emiliana Guereca on #MeTooMarilyn.
— Women’s March Action™️ (@WMarchAction) June 22, 2021
— (((anti-antisemite))) (@Tristanshouts) June 20, 2021
Other times Forever Marilyn invited controversy
The Forever Marilyn statue had been put on display in the past at various other locations across the US as well as Australia. It sparked controversy in 2018 when it was displayed at Latham Park in Stamford, Connecticut. The 26 ft-statue was criticised for flashing underwear at a location across the street from a church.
Earlier, the statue was vandalised thrice in August and September 2011. Red paint was also splashed down her right leg in the same year. “In our society, we have little room for sexually expressive images,” Jon Pounds, executive director of the Chicago Public Arts Group, was quoted as saying by Chicago Tribune that year.