Why You Should Watch The Marilyn Monroe Movie “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” 

Ash Klann, Writer

   It’s hard to think of a more iconic phrase than “diamonds are a girl’s best friend”. You’ve heard it everywhere; Beyonce and Ariana Grande have done covers of the song. It’s repeated in popular shows like RuPaul’s Drag Race, Saturday Night Live, and Glee, but where do we get this saying from? I didn’t know until I stumbled upon the movie Gentleman Prefer Blondes. I’m sitting in bed scrolling through YouTube and this thumbnail captivates me- it’s a picture of Marilyn Monroe performing a song in a red dress with the words “Gentleman Prefer Blondes” scrawled across it in big yellow letters, and when I saw it was free to watch I thought I’d give it a go.

   To be honest, I didn’t expect much from a 70-year-old movie, however, to my surprise I found myself captivated by the stunning outfits and witty humor the movie had to offer. Most of all I found it pleasantly surprising that the movie was hilarious and not at the expense of the female leads. In fact, the movie had incredibly feminist undertones. If you look at the main character Lorelei (Marilyn Monroe) from face value you might be under the impression she is a just another dumb blonde written by sexist old white men, and I wouldn’t blame you, however this film debunks that. Lorelei even says in the film, “I can be smart when it’s important, but most men don’t like it.” Blatantly stating that she is smart, and this is an act she puts on to fool men.

   Another impressive feat for the time is passing the Wallace-Bechdel test. The Wallace-Bechdel test is a test you can do on pieces of media as a baseline to see if it might be sexist. A piece of media passes the test if it has two women who are having a conversation about something other than a man. Almost every single scene in Gentleman Prefer Blondes passes this test, which is almost unheard of for 1953- the year the movie was released. Passing the Wallace-Bechdel test is a very low standard today, but it meant a lot back then. Gentleman Prefer Blondes is not perfect, but I find the movie exceptional, and I loved watching it. If you have an hour to spare, I will recommend this delightful film.