Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
When watching Marilyn Monroe perform a spectacle of a song such as “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes you get the distinct impression that there is a hammer hitting a nail repeatedly somewhere, even after the length has been driven in. In the year 1953 Joseph Stalin, who was the leader of the USSR during WWII, died. This was a great thing for the United States, because it meant that years of a repressive regime were over and that the stability of the USSR and it’s control over much of Eastern Europe came into question. “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” shows a beautiful, all-american girl, born from a capitalist society, revelling in the spoils of a free-market system rather than a marxist or communist one. America wanted to halt the progress of Soviet influence in Europe, and Hollywood is the best propaganda tool on the planet.
The first overpoweringly noticeable thing in the entire scene is the color red. This is also the only color on the men, who are all holding red hearts. Marilyn however, has no red on her whatsoever. This is because red is the color of Communism. The beginning of the scene shows Ms. Monroe saying “No!” to all the of the red heart wielding men, and smacking them with a fan. This could also emasculate the idea of the Communist Party, showing that a petite girl can deny you and defeat you.
When the first verse of the song starts up it says, “A kiss on the hand might be quite continental,” This refers to continental Europe, where the USSR and most other Communist countries lie. It is then followed by “but diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” referring to the treats that would await women in a free market system. Not only that, but Marilyn speaks out and names many stores that sell diamonds, illustrating the endless possibilities of a capitalist society.
When talking to the other girls in the song, they have scarves or lace around their heads and faces. This was a common fashion choice of Eastern European countries. Marilyn then gives them advice and tempts them with the spoils of the market claiming that woman can be employed and move up in the company, or at least get a bonus. She also references the market itself saying “He’s your guy when stocks are high,” but then immediately claiming that when they fall they will return to their wives. This financially beneficial relationship with minimal strings would be titillating to a woman oppressed by the Communist machine.
This song is also making it obviously apparent that in a free-market economy one can sell anything, even women. The line, “but get that ice or else no dice.” is a reminder that women have a desirable commodity that is available for trade in a capitalist society, but not a communist one. The performance maintains its satirical aspect when the beat and chords become more grand, mimicking those of a ceremony and shows what could be reminiscent of a Communist, or even Nazi, rally. But this is a capitalist rally, so there aren’t guns, just strands of diamonds and the furniture is made of women to show how splendorous the western world and specifically America is. Marilyn is singing directly to the women of Eastern European countries, saying “come and live an amazing extravagant life with diamonds and no marital duties in the good ol’ USA” to try and convert the women of the households to capitalist ideology, which could then convince the men of the household and then revolutions could spark across off of continental Europe.