Monroe was the first blonde bombshell to strike a cord with women as well as men. She was America's first real Sweetheart. That was why she became such a box office hit for Fox.
i couldnt possibly comment on how americans perceived her back in the 50's in relation to the others there were around.
in fact madge herself pays tribute to many on 'vogue', dietrict, harlow, etc many of whom pre-dated monroe.