August 5, 1952: Monroe is found dead in her apartment in Los Angeles. She is (was) naked and vulnerable, lying on her own bed. But how does it matter now? Next to her bed, there is an empty bottle of pills that were prescribed to her as antidepressants. But how does it matter now?
June 1, 1926: Norma Jeane Mortenson was born on this day and she never anticipated in a million years that her life would shift into this bizarre yet glamorous unending slow death. She was born in Los Angeles, California. She was later given her mother’s name- Norma Jeane Baker. Her childhood was difficult. Both her maternal and paternal side had a history of being committed to mental institutions and therefore she grew up in foster care most of her life. She married James Dougherty when she was 16 years old. They got divorced two years after, and fortunately or unfortunately Norma was discovered by an Army photographer and her career began in full throttle.
Dumb Blonde: Marilyn
Norma signed her first contract with Fox and dyed her brown her to blonde. She changed her name and was reborn as Marilyn Monroe. Monroe was one of the most massively misunderstood actors of the 50s era. She was called out by many names such as “dumb blonde” and “blonde bombshell” and the likes. She was hypersexualized by all the communities including the western feminist community who pitied Monroe and never lifted her up for her strength and courage. She was definitely forward for her times as her feminist narrative is very much aligned with the likes of today’s generation. If we are being honest, feminism was a very confusing narrative in the 50s and when she said what she said with a subversive message intended, she was automatically turned down as a “confused dumb blonde”.
She stopped being vocal after receiving so much flak and in that bargain, she was asked in an interview about why she doesn’t give up her two cents anymore. She said,
“In Hollywood, a girl’s virtue is much less important than her hairdo. You’re judged by how you look, not by what you are. Hollywood’s a place where they’ll pay you a thousand dollars for a kiss, and fifty cents for your soul. I know, because I turned down the first offer often enough and held out for the fifty.”
The Beginning of the End:
It is quite a sad state of affairs that a person is remembered as an ethereal figure or an epitome right after they die. No one gives a damn when they are alive and walking and are making things happen. The facade is slowly fading off and all the makeup and facelifts in the world cannot hide the feeling of the oblivion. You might as well be dead and walking. Her unending glamourous slow death started off with her personal life coming out in the papers along with a series of other unfortunate events. Monroe was turned into a sexual muse and nothing more, she was not a person to the world. There were a few Hollywood actors who spread rumors about her going from bed to bed, no one knows if they were true or false. The fact remains that, Monroe’s sexual objectification in the media sphere was ruthless and she was already dead before she died by suicide in reality.
The epitome of Inspiration?
Monroe was a victim of oppression since the day she was born and till the very last day. It is usually the victims who come out strong and turn out to become inspirational figures. However, it was hard for her to be a typical “role model” as she had faced too much already. Most of us look at her as a privileged young, white, and blonde actor who had a relationship with Kennedy during her last few years. She was redundantly victimized for speaking up and was told to shut up. But how does it matter now? Because the next time someone asks you to shut up for speaking up, think about her and know that she wasn’t afraid. She was smart and brave. She is more alive now than she ever was. She is an inspiration and an evergreen role model. Monroe is a beautiful, timeless, and a subversive role model to all those women out there who are trying to prove themselves to this ruthless world every single day of their lives.