Marilyn Monroe: The Exploitation of a Sex Symbol

If you have read The art of seduction by Robert Greene, you know that Marilyn Monroe was the purest example of a mermaid. A mermaid is essentially a feminine woman who plays on her ladylike energy to seduce. Her power lies in the fact that she makes men feel powerful, even though she is the one in power. Women, on the other hand, want to be her, but fear that their sexual energy can never be matched. Monroe fits that description perfectly, but somehow her personality has given audiences a twisted perception of how she should be treated — both before and after her death.

A strange sequence of events

Marilyn Monroe’s cause of death is a complete mystery, but as a Netflix contributor Aramid Tinubu shared, “In the end, that didn’t stop the world from trying to take ownership of her.”

After his death on August 4, 1962, his estate was distributed according to his request. Among the beneficiaries were the family of his assistant, his family, therapist and acting coach. While everyone named received a large lump sum, his acting coach and therapist shared his intellectual property, giving his coach Lee Strasberg 75 percent. Strasberg was not only his trainer but a confidant and surrogate parent with his wife Paula Strasberg.

A change of owner

Paula Strasberg died four years after Monroe and Lee Strasberg married Anna Mizrahi in 1967. This is how Monroe’s estate fell into the hands of Hollywood. After Lee Strasberg’s death in 1982, Monroe’s estate was given to Mizrahi, resulting in headlines as “How a Venezuelan-born actress ended up owning the rights to Marilyn Monroe’s estate.”

The title may sound harsh, but there was no public record of Monroe handing over his estate to Mizrahi, let alone meeting him. Yet once Mizrahi, known as Anna Strasberg after her marriage, took control of the estate, she created a whole stream of licensing revenue from the weight of Marilyn’s inheritance. She even continued to earn around US$7 million a year selling things like Monroe’s signature and images on products. In 2011, Anna Strasberg sold her share of Monroe’s estate for approximately US$20–30 million, cashing in over US$100 million from Monroe’s appeal. It was more money than Monroe had ever made in her lifetime.

A Met Gala moment

Unfortunately, that’s not the worst. This year, Kim Kardashian led fans through a three-part experiment on the exploitation of Marilyn Monroe. At the “Gilded Glamour”-themed 2022 Met Gala, Kardashian wore the dress that Marilyn Monroe dazzled in while singing the iconic “Happy Birthday Mr. President.” Fun fact, the alleged affair between former President John F. Kennedy and Marilyn turned out to be real when an engraved watch was discovered years later. The inscription read: “JACK, with love as always from MARILYN, May 29, 1962.”


The performance was a perfect example of Monroe’s appeal. From her glamorous dress that had the crowd cheering before she spoke a word to her sultry tone of voice, she was the epitome of appeal. Kardashian, a lover of the spotlight, must have known that such an iconic reference would make headlines. And his next moves turned out to be correct.

Amid mixed reviews of her wearing the iconic dress, Bob Mackie was firm in his point of view. “I thought it was a big mistake,” he said Weekly entertainment. As the public shared her opinions, Kardashian doubled down and shared a photo of herself wearing another one one of Marilyn’s iconic dresses. Throughout this three-part press tour, Kardashian shared that being able to wear such an iconic dress helped her tap into her “inner Marilyn,” but what happened next was less appreciated. and more exploitative.

While attending her fitting for the Met Gala, the Believe it or not from Ripley! The team surprised Kardashian with a lock of Monroe’s hair. Kardashian joked and said, “‘Oh my God, I’m literally going to do crazy voodoo [to] channel it. Foster the cultural exploitation of Monroe.

The obsession with wanting to exude the same essence as Marilyn Monroe has created a convoluted legacy that has only intensified over the past 60 years. It seems the world goes through a similar cycle both when she was alive and after she died: people want to be her, take advantage of her, woo her, or take advantage of all three. His impact seems invincible, but would the Hollywood sex symbol approve?

James V. Hayes