Lindsay Lohan, you have a problem. It's not your career, which seems to keep going despite various obstacles, it's not your batshit crazy parents, it's not even your alleged struggles with substance abuse. It's your obsession with Marilyn Monroe.
You're not the only one, Linds: it has become a fairly standard (and boring) Hollywood standby to dress various ingenues up as Monroe, slapping a blonde wig on their heads and trying to recreate an arguably inimitable image over and over again. There is no one who really looks like Marilyn Monroe; there are only a bunch of photographs of people who are desperately trying to look like Marilyn Monroe.
It's not surprising that so many people cling to the image of Marilyn Monroe: she represents a lost Hollywood glamour, an iconic image of sex and beauty and heartbreak and fame. But what is lost in these "tribute" photo shoots is the sadness and tragedy behind those famous images, the fact that this was a woman who died under shady circumstances at the age of 36, after a life filled as many, if not more fairly dark and sad times than there were happy ones.
The fact that Lohan has just completed her 800th "Marilyn Monroe inspired" photoshoot (this time for Vogue Spain is a bit unsettling: not only because it's boring and expected at this point, but because it solidifies the notion that we're still trying to push a 50-year-old image of glamour and beauty as the ideal. What's wrong with Lindsay's red hair and freckles? Why can't she just pose as herself once in a while? Why do we always go back to the blonde hair and the big boobs and the come hither stare? And if actresses don't put on their best Marilyn visage, they often go to the opposite end of the spectrum: playing the doe-eyed, stick skinny ingenue best represented by another celebrity obsession we all need to step away from: Audrey Hepburn.
It's a very strange cycle, when one thinks about it: Marilyn Monroe didn't even exist, she was a construct of the studios, a costume worn by Norma Jean Baker in order to navigate the strange waters of celebrity and sex. Every time we hold Marilyn up as an ideal, we're holding up the notion that a woman has to reinvent herself to the point of losing herself completely, hiding under layers of beauty and glitz as a means to hide a very real sense of pain and fear beneath. Though her unabashed sexuality has been celebrated, she was also objectified and used by those around her; she became, and remains, a product used to sell tickets and t-shirts and magazines. She was a victim many times over, but it seems that young actresses choose to latch on to her exterior as opposed to the person below the surface, and where a cautionary tale should be, an idolization is instead.
Perhaps it's time for Lindsay Lohan, and for everyone else, to stop parading around in Marilyn Monroe costumes and acting as if it's glamorous or fun. If Marilyn Monroe taught us anything, it's that there's no real happiness in being someone you're not.