A 26-foot statue portraying Marilyn Monroe in the iconic scene from the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch has sparked controversy in California. The statue, which shows Monroe holding down her skirt after a gust of wind blows up her white dress, was approved by the city to be installed outside the Palm Springs Art Museum.
However, Louis Grachos, the institution’s director, is against the public display.
“You come out of the museum and the first thing you’re going to see is a 26-foot-tall Marilyn Monroe with her entire backside and underwear exposed,” he said last week at a council meeting. “We serve over 100,000 school-age children that come to our museum every single year. What message does that send to our young people, our visitors, and community to present a statue that objectifies women, is sexually charged and disrespectful?”
Many locals have expressed the same sentiments, sending letters to local newspapers saying that they are concerned that the statue is degrading women. The controversy has made its way into the art world, with Steven Maloney, chair of the facility’s board of directors, stating that the location of the statue implied that the facility had given its approval – which it had not. He stated that the statue suggests “an unhealthy encouragement of risqué behavior of women.”
Critics also stated that Monroe had despised the scene and that it had a detrimental impact on her life and career. In 2014, The Guardian reported that the scene had led Monroe’s husband at the time, Joe DiMaggio, to walk off the set in anger. Monroe filed for divorce following a violent fight at their hotel after she had filmed the scene.
“Can you imagine when #MeToo gets a hold of this?” Grachos asked. “It’s not just going to hurt the museum, but it’s going to hurt our whole community.”
The city council agreed to host the statue for three years, and Palm Springs Resorts had offered to purchase it for $1 million, but the group is now looking into leasing options.
Sources: America Now