In December 1953, sex symbol, and quite possibly the most desired woman of her generation, Marilyn Monroe, graced the first issue of Playboy magazine (Dyer, 1988). Because of this immensely influential woman, Playboy magazine soon after gained very rapidly in circulation and became one of the most famous magazines – and even remains so today. Was it solely Monroe's physical features that captivated society? Her sexuality was not only defined by her looks, and, as an actress, she did much more than sit there and look pretty. Marilyn Monroe carefully calculated every move; she exuded sexuality with her sexy yet playful and innocent charm and oozed confidence with her hip-swinging walk and perfect posture. Throughout the years, the image of sexuality in film has changed, but its impact remains stronger than ever. Here, I will examine the evolution of the image of sexuality and women in film by comparing and contrasting Marilyn Monroe's character in Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) and, present-day sex symbol, Angelina Jolie's character in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001). .
The same year that Monroe shocked society and posed nude for Playboy magazine, and at the peak of her career, she starred in the film Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) as a "dumb blonde" chorus girl named Lorelei Lee. Modern day sex symbol, Angelina Jolie, also makes wave in society with her daring actions and scandals. She has been known for manipulating men with her good looks – not to mention her impeccably full lips that all women desire. Although she mirrors Marilyn Monroe in the fact that she effortlessly captivates men's attention, she does so in a much different way than Monroe did. Unlike Monroe, "playful" and "innocent" in no way describe Angelina Jolie, and her persona often reflects in the roles that she chooses to play. In the 2001 film, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, she plays Lara Croft, a sexy, independent action hero.