How Kim Kardashian Adds To The Exploitation Of Marilyn Monroe By Wearing Her Dresses & Owning Her Hair

She's taking things too far.

Kim Kardashian, Marilyn Monroe Instagram / Wikimedia Commons

Love it or hate it, Kim Kardashian's Met Gala 2022 look will go down in history as one of the most talked-about moments in Met Gala fashion — much like the reaction when Monroe originally wore the Jean Louis dress to serenade President John F Kennedy on his 45th birthday in 1962.

The reality star has been public of her adoration for the Hollywood icon, as illustrated by many social media posts donning Monroe’s dresses, holding her Golden Globe and even being gifted a lock of her hair by museum curators at “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not.” 


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But, as critics continue to blast the star for wearing Monroe’s dress, the jury is still out on whether Kardashian’s Monroe tribute was an act of love or exploitation.


Did Kim Kardashian exploit Marilyn Monroe's legacy?

There is an obvious comparison to be made between Monroe and Kardashian, and understanding the billionaire reality star’s connection to the star is vital to dissecting whether or not the tribute was well executed. 

These two continue to be two of the leading examples of how celebrity status intertwines with the public’s perception of beauty and sexuality.

Monroe is now widely regarded as the epitome of Hollywood glamour; signature platinum blonde curls, red lips, the beauty spot, and an “hourglass” figure can only be summarized in one word, “bombshell.”

But, at the time of her initial rise to fame, she was criticized for this as often as she was praised.


Like Marilyn Monroe, Kim Kardashian has defined the beauty standard of a generation.

If Monroe was the standard of beauty in the 1950s, then Kardashian is the modern-day equivalent.

Kardashian, for better or worse, has brought back the idealized image of curves and definition, shifting away from the size zero body standard of the 2000s.


However, Kardashian's standard for beauty may be on the assumption of a sheer impossibility, all thanks to photo editing and more. 

Both Kim Kardashian and Marilyn Monroe faced scandalous moments.

We know the mishap of Kardashian and ex-boyfriend Ray J when in 2007, the infamous sex tape was leaked allegedly without her consent and brought her more limelight.

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Monroe also faced a scandal when she posed nude for photography before her break into fame. Decades apart, they both handled these situations quite well.

But a more controversial scandal with Monroe was the accusation of her having a public affair with President Kennedy and his brother Attorney General Bobby Kennedy.


Both women are all too often shamed for their sexuality and it is often used to diminish their success.

Had Kardashian probed this, she may have truly honored Monroe’s memory.

But, donning a dress that Monroe wore on a night so wrapped up in that scandal reifies her to that status as some kind of symbol of adultery.

Three months later, after Monroe’s legendary performance, she was found dead at the age of 36 in her Brentwood home. It remains almost impossible to detach the dress from the merciless exploitation she experienced in her life. 


Not even Kardashian donning the outfit at the Met Gala could allow Monroe’s memory to, at last, be respected.

Shedding pounds to wear her clothes, take photos with her awards and carry around her hair in a jar makes Kardashian just another beneficiary of Monroe’s exploitation.

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Kurtis Condra is a writer who focuses on news and entertainment. He has a special interest in dissecting pop culture trends and analyzing celebrity behaviors.