The “Forever Marilyn” statue is relocating back to Palm Springs, California on Sunday after a seven-year hiatus. Leftist protesters are furious, calling the monument to actress Marilyn Monroe “sexist” and “misogynist” for her billowing dress that shows her backside.
The 26-foot-tall statue depicts Monroe in the classic 1955 film, “The Seven Year Itch,” as she stands over a subway grate and her dress is blown up. The artwork resided in Palm Springs from 2012 to 2014 and it was one of downtown’s hottest attractions. Residents and businesses are hoping for that again as they start to recover from the pandemic shutdown.
But the Women’s March LA Foundation and other protesters are expected to make an appearance at the statue’s unveiling to voice their displeasure with Monroe’s showcased attributes. Women’s March Inland Empire Executive Director Jenn Carson said in a statement that the statue is “designed for viewers to walk in between the legs, look up her dress and snap a picture of her crotch or buttocks for fun.”
“It is sexist, exploitive, and misogynistic,” Carson’s statement added. “Even in death, Marilyn has no peace. We are demanding the statue be moved. #metoomarilyn has no place in Palm Springs.”
Those calls for Monroe’s removal are likely not to be heeded regardless of how upset protesters are.
(Video Credit: NBC Palm Springs)
“She’s literally going to be mooning the museum,” said Elizabeth Armstrong, a spokesperson for a Change.org petition that objects to Monroe’s alleged objectification and has over 40,000 signatures.
“It’s blatantly sexist,” decried Armstrong, a former director of the Palm Springs Art Museum. “It forces people almost to upskirt.” Upskirting is the practice of taking a photo up someone’s skirt. That’s a misdemeanor in California.
The co-leader of the Committee to Relocate Marilyn, Trina Turk, remarked that plans to erect the statue on Museum Way in Palm Springs are moving ahead despite opposition. She claims that protesters will show up on Sunday to “voice our dissent to the statue being installed on Museum Way.”
“Since they went ahead and did it despite community opposition, we decided we wanted to bring in opponents, regardless of why they were opposed to the statue,” Turk commented according to the Desert Sun newspaper.
🚩Sunday June 20th. Palm Springs at 6pm. We will protest against this 26 foot tall "Forever Marilyn" statue that promotes sexist, exploitive, and misogynistic values.
📍 WHERE: Museum Way between Museum Drive and Belardo, Downtown Palm Springs#metoomarilyn pic.twitter.com/krNxwNZBZj
— Women's March Inland Empire (@WomensMarchIE) June 17, 2021
Louis Grachos, who is the director of the Palm Springs Art Museum, also disapproves of the statue.
“Forever Marilyn” will be baring her backside to visitors as they exit the museum. When the city council was discussing the placement of the sculpture in November, Grachos expressed concerns over the statue’s unmentionables awaiting thousands of students who pass through annually.
“The thought of those kids leaving our museum and having the first thing they see is the undergarments and underwear of this enormous Marilyn sculpture would be highly offensive,” Grachos told the council.
The statue has had a number of homes in the U.S. and has also been displayed in Australia. It was created in 2011 by New Jersey-born artist Seward Johnson, who died in 2020 at age 89.
The statue was bought for $1 million by Aftab Dada, chairman of PS Resorts, which is a hotels association organization. He made plans to return the iconic statue to Palm Springs as a tourist attraction. Dada noted that the previous installation of the statue in the city generated “millions and millions of dollars in publicity” and “immensely helped all the businesses in downtown Palm Springs.”
Dada hopes the protests remain “peaceful.” A court ruling in June nixed an effort by the Committee to Relocate Marilyn to block Sunday’s planned unveiling. Another hearing is scheduled for July 20 but that legal move will pretty much be moot by that time.
“Knowing that a court made a favorable decision for the city of Palm Springs and PS Resorts, I’m hoping people will respect it,” Dada remarked. “It’s time for the community to be united rather than divided.” Most residents of Palm Springs appear to be delighted with the return of the statue.
“The photos taken, and being transmitted all over the world, will do nothing but benefit the city of Palm Springs,” Dada proclaimed. The scene depicted by the statue has lived on in pop culture for generations and is part of the reason why Dada has spent years working to return it to the city.
(Video Credit: Movieclips)
The unveiling is set to commence at 4 p.m. Sunday. It will feature DJ music, speeches from local officials, and a flyover from the Palm Springs Air Museum. The statue will be formally unveiled at approximately 8 p.m.
Marilyn Monroe is one of the most famous actresses of all time. She died of a drug overdose in Los Angeles in 1962 when she was 36-years-old.
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