Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is probably best-known for Marilyn Monroe’s performance of the song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” Later, Madonna wore a similar pink dress in the “Material Girl” video, and Nicole Kidman reprised the song in Moulin Rouge. Gentlemen has more to offer than Monroe selling her good looks for material wealth, though. The film tells the story of two friends (Monroe and Jane Russell) searching for husbands on an ocean liner and finding … each other?

Gentlemen has been many things to different film critics: a classic example of Hollywood’s sexual objectification of women; an uncritical celebration of capitalism; a conventional heterosexual love story. Between the lines, however, feminist and queer audiences have found a tale of female empowerment, a lesbian buddy movie, and the homoerotic spectacle of a scantily-clad all-male athletic team.