The above statue of Marilyn Monroe in her famous billowing skirt pose from the 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch has been unveiled in Chicago. More of that later.
Back in 2008 a Sydney man was convicted of having child pornography on his computer, to wit, pictures of Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson from The Simpsons cartoon show having sex with another. That is not to say that such acts were depicted in the TV show, rather it is part of readily available pornography which depicts various cartoon characters in pornographic situations. The magistrate who convicted him fined him $3,000 and ordered him to enter into a good behaviour bond for each charge. He said that the defendant would have been jailed if the images had been of real children.
The defendant appealed, arguing that the cartoon figures did not accurately depict human figures and could not be considered to be real persons.
The New South Wales Supreme Court disagreed. "If the persons were real, such depictions could never be permitted," Justice Adams said in his judgment. "Their creation would constitute crimes at the very highest end of the criminal calendar." He said that while the primary purpose of the legislation was to stop sexual exploitation and child abuse of "real" children, it was also designed to deter the production of other material that could "fuel demand for material that does involve the abuse of children".
Now back to Marilyn. The 26 foot/8 metre statue, complete with billowing skirt and 1950’s knickers, enables people to stand underneath and take photographs.
Further photographs may be seen at:
· Under the law in NSW, it is an offence to film another person’s “private parts” for sexual arousal for sexual gratification. It is also an offence to behave in an offensive manner in, near or within view or hearing of a school or public place.
· These offences thereby prohibit what is generally referred to as “upskirts” photography, a staple for adult sites, paparazzi and gossip blogs where the upskirts is of female celebrities.
· If it is an offence to possess child pornography by way of downloaded cartoon characters engaged in pornographic acts, is it not also an offence to take or possess upskirts photographs of a statue of a real woman, albeit that she is deceased? Is not the principal the same?
· Does the display and forwarding of such photographs, for instance in a newspaper, constitute a further offence of distributing such material?
· Could it be argued, as was the case with the Bill Henson photographs of naked minors, that the purpose is artistic and not for sexual arousal?
· One journalist has written of the Marilyn statue:
Even worse than the sculpture itself is the photo-op behavior it’s inspiring. Men (and women) licking Marilyn’s leg, gawking up her skirt, pointing at her giant panties as they leer and laugh. It’s not that the sculpture is shocking or sexist or obscene — but it’s definitely bringing out the juvenile goofball in many of us.
· If you think that the statue has eroticism associated with it, consider the words of one gossip site:
At Pioneer Court on Friday afternoon, artist Seward Johnson officially unveiled the 34,000 pound steel and aluminum sculpture inspired by Marilyn Monroe's subway grate scene from The Seven Year Itch. Thank you to Chicago for FINALLY giving this country a gigantic ass sculpture that will turn kids, memaws, dogs and everybody else into perverted upskirt gawking peeping toms. And another thanks to Chicago for giving homeless junkies and drunk hornies some steel crinkle crotch to rub their dicks to when they need masturbation inspiration. Even though it looks more like Marilyn Manson in the face than Marilyn Monroe, this shit is still a wonderful addition to the city! Just think of all nasty hos who will pose under Marilyn with their faces up and their tongues sticking out.
· Could the upskirts photographs of the Marilyn statue be dtaken for artistic or news reasons but then be disseminated for sexual arousal ie does the character of the photographs remain static or can it change?
· As a final comment, the upskirt image of Marilyn is usually regarded as sexy, erotic and iconic, but the story associated with it is a sad one. Most people know of Marilyn's Monroe's search for love and happiness, her longing for children, of how she was used by Hollywood, byJFK and his brother, and of her own insecurity and fragile makeup.
According to a 2009 biography, The Secret Life Of Marilyn Monroe by J. Randy Taraborrelli, serialised in the Daily Mail:
But the jealousy wasn't the only problem. 'He was smacking her around,' said one of his closest friends. 'He didn't seem too ashamed of it, either. He said that she brought the worst out in him, that he wasn't usually that kind of man. He said she was spoiled and very self-centred and it drove him crazy.'
The final straw for Marilyn came when Joe beat her up in their hotel after he became incensed at the sexy, skirt-flying shoot for The Seven Year Itch.
Five thousand onlookers watched the filming of that shot, at one in the morning, with Marilyn standing over a subway grate, her accordion-pleated skirt flying. Unfortunately, DiMaggio was one of them.
Director Billy Wilder described the expression on DiMaggio's face as 'the look of death'. Even though Marilyn wore two pairs of pants for modesty, under the powerful Klieg lights the material became quite see-through.
He rushed back to their hotel and waited for his wife. Then he took out his rage on her, slapping her around the room. The noise was so great that other hotel guests reported it to the hotel's management, afraid that someone was getting badly hurt.
The next day, Gladys Witten, a studio hairdresser, noticed bruises on Marilyn's shoulders. 'But we covered them with make-up,' she said.
Sportswriter Stacy Edwards says: 'The way I heard it, Joe let her have it. It was pretty bad. After he hit her, she told him she'd had enough and wanted out of the marriage.
'I spoke to Joe maybe three weeks later and asked him about that night. He said "Things got out of hand, I admit it. But she pissed me off so much. She didn't care what I thought about anything, she just wanted to do what she wanted to do."
Makes you see the image in a different light, doesn't it.