The depiction of blondes in two Hollywood movies
Outlooks on blondes had changed over time. Blondes were commonly perceived as dumb yet beautiful and alluring. There were different representations of blondes in different time periods. In the movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes starred by Marilyn Monroe, Lorelie Lee is an excellent representation of a femme fatale—beautiful, unintelligent and erotic blonde. She feigned a dumb personality to obtain what she desires. In the illustration of the Astrological sign, Virgo, the blonde was depicted as young, innocent and pure. It was produced in middle ages. However, in the movie poster of The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend, the blonde is illustrated as erotic, carefree, charming and desirable. Different representations on blondes were communicated through the use of various techniques within the texts such as colour symbolism, body language and quotations.
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is written by Anita Loos in 1929 and was directed by Howard Hawks in 1953. The novel was written during the time of ‘Roaring Twenties’ where there was an enormous transformation in women’s fashion, lifestyle and behaviour. Marilyn Monroe played the role of Lorelie Lee, who was depicted as ditzy, seductive, savvy, and superficial blonde. This was shown when she asked, “Is this the way to Europe, France?” and when she tried putting the tiara around her neck. She used her charms and flirted and manipulated Lord Beekman to give her the tiara.
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She was also superficial and after for money and not love. This was shown when she stated, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and “I prefer a man who lives and gives expensive jewels!”. She plays dumb for her advantage and because men expect her to act that way. She can be smart when it’s needed. This was shown when she put sleeping pills in Mr Malone’s drink and heated up the room so that he can take his jacket off and take the film of the photo with her and Lord Beekman. Furthermore, at the end of the movie, she stated that, “I can be smart when it’s important but most men don’t like it.”
The Astrological sign, Virgo was an illustration of sun blonde- mature summer wheat blonde. It was illustrated in early middle ages. During those times, blondes were represented as young, innocent and pure. The artwork showed a miniature blonde woman holding a sheaf of wheat. Her robes are blue and her eyes are blue which symbolise tranquillity, youth and serene. Her golden hair and golden wheat symbolise wealth, prosperity and wisdom. Her height symbolised youth because she is short. Also, her hair colour symbolises her own value, her own goodness and her own innocence.
The movie poster of The Beautiful Blonde from Bashful Bend was released in 1949. It was part of the ‘Roaring Twenties’ and beyond era where perceptions of women, lifestyle and fashion had changed. The poster exhibits a blonde wearing a long red dress with a high slit and holding a gun. The high skirt slit and shown leg can be seen as symbolising being seductive. From the background, men are staring at the blonde are clearly mesmerized by her charm. Her body language symbolises being carefree and cheerful. The use of colour red on her dress symbolise love, passion, courage and desire. The poster used the adjective ‘beautiful blonde’ which symbolises that the blonde is seen as beautiful. Also, the gun she is holding symbolise power or rebellion.
To sum up, through the texts, it was shown that the perceptions on blondes had indeed changed overtime; started from being seen as innocent and intelligent to seductive and dumb. Yet, the connotation of blondes as beautiful had still been around.