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Marilyn Monroe, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1146

Essay

When we think of a sex symbol, Marilyn Monroe is one of the first names that come to mind. Those of us, who do not have a good knowledge of Hollywood’s history, may even suspect that Marilyn Monroe probably invented the very term. Every generation has its own sex symbols and it is a challenge to think of someone who has transcended generational boundaries like Marilyn Monroe. She continues to fascinate America just like she did during her lifetime. But if Marilyn Monroe’s life accounts teach us something, it is that Monroe was not what the world perceived her to be. She was an intelligent woman with not so happy life who wanted serious roles to demonstrate her acting skills.

Monroe’s wanted to be taken seriously!

Marilyn Monroe wanted to be taken seriously as an actress and not just as a pretty face. Marilyn Monroe was the most famous blond of her times and it is no surprise that she was often casted as a typical blond bombshell. Her acting roles focused more on her beauty and stereotypes associated with beautiful women than on her acting abilities. Even though Marilyn Monroe’s real talent was musical comedy but she wanted dramatic roles (Mick) which demonstrate her desire to be taken seriously for her acting skills and not visual attractiveness. The times were also against her when she debuted as an actress. As a child she worshipped Jean Harlow and had obviously been influenced by her. On top of it, the musical sex and comedy genre was becoming popular at the time which may explain Monroe’s earliest roles. But over time, Monroe realized that the roles were preventing her from utilizing her talent and be taken seriously as an actress yet her desire for more serious roles. Monroe even went as far as ruining her looks to take the attention away from her looks as is evident from her last and unfinished movie Something’s Got to Give. Had Monroe lived, we would have seen her more in dramatic roles than the roles that have come to define the early years of her career. Bus Stop is considered her best movie despite the popularity of other movies such as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is because Monroe was able to act as an insecure woman who needed a rescue from her past. In fact, Bus Stop also became a reality because it was produced by her own production house Marilyn Monroe Productions. Monroe’s dedication to acting could be judged by the fact that she studied acting under famous acting teacher Lee Strasberg (Rebecca)

Monroe was not dumb but intelligent!

Marilyn Monroe might have been depicted as a dumb blond in most of her movies but in real life, she was an intelligent woman. Marilyn Monroe didn’t want to be objectified as a dumb blond. She herself claimed, “A SEX symbol becomes a thing,”, “I just hate to be a thing.” (Rebecca). And the fact is that she was not pretending because she was not your average dumb blond. She loved to read books and she understood people. Monroe knew that people had a certain image of her but she didn’t try to change that and kept the world in dark. One reason why she didn’t try to explain herself was that she realized people were not interested in the ‘real’ her but instead the image they had fallen in love with. Monroe owned hundreds of books and read the works of authors such as James Joyce, Leo Tolstoy, and Walt Whitman. At the same time, she listened to music classical gods such as Beethoven and also studied literature and art appreciation at UCLA. When Monroe’s possessions were auctioned by the auction house Christie’s, she had more books than almost anything else (Stephen). Monroe also understood her public persona but she remained in control of herself in a man’s world. She objected to the objectification of women long before feminists cried over it. She demonstrated that women can be women and still inspiring.

Monroe’s real life was total opposite of her screen life!

Marilyn Monroe was every guy’s dream and she always seemed happy and content on-screen. Marilyn Monroe seemed to have lived a fairy tale life in the public mind but her real life could not have been more different from the public perceptions. Her mother and maternal grandparents were committed to mental health institutions, her uncle committed suicide, and her father died in a motorcycle accident when she was only three (Rebecca). In addition to this, she was assigned to twelve different foster parents, thus, growing up she rarely experienced love and care. This may be why Marilyn claimed she never took happiness for granted. Playwright Arthur Miller’s week long experience with Marilyn Monroe reveals that Monroe’s childhood experiences had left huge psychological scars on her and her insecurity was apparent to the men who spent time with her. Monroe kept diaries which indicate she thought hard on life and her own life experiences.

Monroe is a timeless icon!

Marilyn Monroe continues to mesmerize even after her death. This is because she was not understood well in her life where her on-screen persona dominated the real Norma Jean Baker. All the three authors agree that the real Monroe was far more intelligent, philosophical, and more talented than the audience came to believe. Monroe understood it but she time and time again expressed her frustration to be not taken seriously as an actress which is why desired dramatic roles. Another way in which Monroe continues to influence current times is through her impact on feminism. Monroe demonstrated that women can be powerful and in control, even in a men-dominated society and they should be proud of their sexuality.

Conclusion

Hollywood failed to real Monroe’s acting talent and when she finally got the work she desired, her death got in the way. Initially she became victim to the trend of musical sex and comedy in Hollywood and in addition, her physical beauty also led to roles that focused more on her visual appeal than her acting talent. She was an intelligent woman who studied celebrated authors such as Joyce and Tolstoy and learnt from her extraordinarily painful past that was devoid of love and care.

Marilyn Monroe continues to expire the new generation of media artists including Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears. Monroe has also been inspiring modern women to be themselves and comfortable in their own skin. Monroe also taught us not to believe the person we see onscreen because media portrayal is often superficial.

References

Mick, LaSalle. “Why Marilyn continues to have us under her spell.” San Francisco Chronicle (10/1/2007 to present) 04 Dec. 2011: Q22. Newspaper Source. Web. 21 Feb. 2012.

Rebecca, Fitzgibbon. “Deep Beauty of Marilyn’s Mind.” Mercury, The (Hobart)(2012): 22. Newspaper Source. Web. 21 Feb. 2012.

Stephen, Lynch. “Bombshells Like Marilyn Monroe Are Back In Style.” Orange County Register, The (Santa Ana, CA)(n.d.): Newspaper Source. Web. 21, Feb. 2012

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