Was Marilyn Monroe Comfortable With Her Blowing Dress Scene?

One of the most famous images in Hollywood history is of Marilyn Monroe holding down her blowing white dress. The image comes from the movie titled The Seven Year Itch, directed by Billy Wilder. In the scene, Monroe is on a date when a breeze from the subway grate below causes her dress to come flying up.

But now, decades later, the image of Monroe holding down her blowing white dress is sparking controversy. Many people are deeming the image of Monroe as misogynistic. But what did Monroe think about the scene? Was she comfortable filming it?

Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe in a scene from the movie The Seven Year Itch
Tom Ewell and Marilyn Monroe in a scene from the movie The Seven Year Itch | Bettmann/ Contributor

Marilyn Monroe embraced her exhibitionist side

According to Marilyn Monroe’s biography, The Private Life of a Public Icon, Monroe has always felt very comfortable with her sexuality. In fact, even at a young age, she would have dreams of being naked in front of a church. Coming from a highly religious foster home, she was taught to believe that female sexuality was sinful.

As her biography reports, “In response to the guilt she was forced to feel, Norma Jeane developed an overpowering fantasy while attending church. She wanted desperately to stand up naked for God and everyone else to see.”

“I had to clench my teeth and sit on my hands to keep myself from undressing,” said Monroe. “Sometimes I had to pray hard and beg God to stop me from taking my clothes off.”

This was especially revolutionary in the 1950s, during the height of her stardom.

How did Marilyn Monroe feel about her flying white skirt scene?

Actress Marilyn Monroe tries to hold down her dress as wind from a subway grate blows it upward
Actress Marilyn Monroe tries to hold down her dress as wind from a subway grate blows it upward | Bettmann/ Contributor

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According to Monroe’s biography, she thoroughly enjoyed filming the flying skirt scene because she got to explore her exhibitionist side.

“Marilyn’s exhibitionist side took over, and she thoroughly enjoyed doing take after take as the gusts of cool air blew her skirt up,” the book reveals. “The cameras rolling, the photographers clicking, the crowd cheering, ‘Higher! Higher!’ She turned this way and that, smiling and posing.”

People are demanding to take a Marilyn Monroe statue down in Palm Springs

1953: Actress Marilyn Monroe
1953: Actress Marilyn Monroe | Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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In recent news, protesters are demanding that a Monroe statue get taken down in Palm Springs, California. According to The Independent, the statue (which embodies Moroe with her blowing white dress) has received backlash. Protesters are labeling the statue as “hyper-sexualized” and “misogynistic.”

As the petition states:

“Placing a hyper-sexualized, misogynist statue of Marilyn at the entrance to the elegant Palm Springs Art Museum sends a message to the community, its visitors (especially young, innocent children), and tourists that this somehow represents ‘the real Marilyn,’ a Marilyn she would have been proud to see celebrated.”

“Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s the opposite.”

“She wanted to be taken seriously as an artist and not just a sexual icon. We join others in asking the City of Palm Springs to venerate—not defile—her memory.”

“We challenge Palm Springs to find more appropriate ways to honor her memory and the true legacy of Marilyn Monroe.”

It currently has over 41,000 signatures to take it down, with the goal of hitting 50,000.