WOTM: Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe, Misunderstood? 

Marilyn Monroe, no further elaboration needed, is SPARKS’ Woman of The Month for this December issue. She is remembered for her sexy skirt blowing scene in The Seven Year Itch, her seductive version of the song ‘Happy Birthday’ and her affair with the President of The United States; all the wrong reasons. Her inner beauty was never appreciated as her outer beauty most definitely was. Although we are familiar with the images of her, is that really all there is to her? The writers at SPARKS think it’s time to dig a little deeper. 

Born Norma Jeane Mortenson in 1926, Marilyn Monroe had a rough time growing up. Having to move from houses to foster homes, Marilyn developed a keen sense of adaptation. These adaptations would include surviving numerous sexual abuses by her guardians and their family members. From the fact she was temporarily raised by an absent, mentally ill single mother and an abusive step father, we can conclude that her upbringing was at a definite disadvantage. In spite of all these obstacles, Marilyn was still able to excel academically and grow into a credible performer. Marilyn has demonstrated that ambition and passion for a chosen profession can overcome the many challenges of growing up. 

Now lets take a look into her career. Starting off as a model, Marilyn eventually caught the eyes of a few movie producers, hence launching her acting career in Hollywood. She had a wide range of talents in portraying various roles in big time movies such as Bus StopThe Prince and the ShowgirlSome Like it Hot and The Seven Year Itch. Only given roles that required her to use her feminine charms to advance in a male chauvinistic world, society started seeing her in a two-demential perspective: simply a sex symbol. 

Having 2 unsuccessful marriages and getting romantically involved with President Kennedy, Marilyn appeared to have embraced her movie roles without a care for what people had to say. During this phase of her life, many would say that she was unable to detach herself from the roles she had portrayed in movies. She had become one with her role. She was forced to act out in a way that society, at that time, had expected her to be. She struggled to break out of that role and redefine herself. She became a victim of society.

All Marilyn Monroe ever wanted was to be loved and adored by one man. She put herself out there and made several bold gestures to grab the attention of many in hopes to find her one true love. The harder she tried to find that love, the further away it seemed to have drifted. Marilyn, on the surface, was a beautiful and charismatic woman, allegedly adored by many. Although adored by many, she was never truly loved by one.

Today, Marilyn Monroe is seen as a figure of gender discrimination, gender stereotyping and gender abuse. She was a child of the 50’s where gender discrimination was still at it’s peak. The greatest lesson that Marilyn Monroe can teach us, is that living and trying to be a valued person in a society that was highly discriminatory takes a lot of energy and quiet determination. Even in the whiteness of her character, we see the darkness of society. In her world where things were either black or white she was caught in between, living in her own shades of grey


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