Blonde is an evocative, powerful word that brings to mind Marilyn Monroe. But it also refers to a specific type of blonde. As the article below demonstrates, there are both male and female blondes (and brunettes). The differences between these hair colours lie in their shade and the amount of pigment that is present, rather than in the physical structure of the hair itself.
Despite these differences, in western culture ‘blondness has become the cultural definition of beauty,’ as Kourelou explains. Certainly, pale skin and blonde hair are seen as markers of a superior ‘beauty,’ but this is not just true in the West: Dennison explores how in Brazil, ‘blondeness is also considered a marker of high social status and femininity’.
In the film industry, blonde stars enjoy a ‘beauty premium’ that carries significant rewards, as exemplified by Bardot and Monroe, but it is not without its downsides. As this issue of Celebrity Studies shows, blondes are constantly scrutinised for their appearance and subjected to the imperatives of the ‘blond beauty standard’. In addition, their blondeness can become a source of denigration, as reflected in the negative comments on Monroe and Dominik’s own snarky reference to her as an antigone figure.
The film Blonde, based on Joyce Carol Oates’ novel of the same name, does not capture the essence of the real Monroe. Its greatest failing is its inability to convey her sense of humour and joy, and its focus on the tragedy of her suicide. Blonde