Thursday, February 14, 2008

I wanna be loved by you...wait, life can't wait?


LADIES, have you noticed that while we're in a flap over what shoes to wear (it’s difficult, right?), life's flying by, waving at us in the full-length mirror. Enough! It’s time we realized life can’t wait.

We girls need inspiration. And, inspiring people don't come much bigger than MADONNA, MARILYN MONROE and SHAKIRA. Women who know life just can't wait. See just how they've made their lives happen through their timelines, and how their hairstyles have followed. But we all know the girl next door can be just as inspiring. Soon you'll be able to share your own life-can’t-wait moments, too, for the chance to become one of 25 international female icons, selected by us.

I think I'm going to enter the contest because I want to bad mouth them from the inside out.

Before I get started, I'd like to address an issue very close to my heart -

Hasn't Marilyn Monroe been through enough? Everyone owes her an enormous apology, namely, the past generation of women who hated her for being a sexual object and the men who made her one. My generation owes her an even bigger apology for thinking she's "cool" because she was regarded as a sex symbol. People put pictures and clips from her films on their Myspace pages or blogs without ever seeing a single one of her films or even reading anything about her. It's quite disgusting.

Marilyn Monroe may not have been the best actress of her day, but she certainly acted in quite a few worthwhile films that amply display her comedic abilities. Films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Some Like it Hot (1959), Monkey Business (1952), and The Seven Year Itch (1955) all play into her sex-bomb status by making her the object of alluring lust, but it's rarely degrading because she sarcastically plays into it by knowing she's better than what she's portraying. Monroe isn't known for being much of a thinker (though she tried!), but she's always thinking on screen.

Her biggest misstep came in the mid-1950’s when she decided to take a break from Hollywood and get some genuine dramatic acting training from Lee Strasberg‘s famous acting institute in New York City. This caused quite an uproar because it displayed Monroe’s true ambitions to better herself - something men and women couldn’t comprehend with their love/hate relationship towards her.

Alas, that relationship sustained itself until she committed suicide in 1962. Bus Stop is the first film she made when she returned from New York City with all of that freshly learned dramatic skill and it is probably my most hated film of all time. Monroe plays a character named Cherie and she is the absolute epitome of what society thought of Monroe at the time - sleazy, slutty, stupid, and, susceptible to the whim of any man. In Bus Stop, it’s a barbaric cowboy who wrangles her heart by literally flinging her over his shoulder and telling her she’s going to marry him. But that’s acceptable because he apologizes at the end of the film and she sees all of his “little boy” insecurities come to light. Can you figure out the ending? I thought so.

If Monroe hadn’t acted in Bus Stop and held out for a more empowering role (like Susan Hayward’s part in I’ll Cry Tomorrow also released in 1956), I believe the next few years of her life would have been radically different. Namely, it would have shook the world’s core into acknowledging her acting prowess. It wasn’t in the cards though and she endured the latter part of her life with the barest of grins and the saddest of sorrows. Her marriage to Arthur Miller failed because her insecurity overpowered their relationship - the world loved her for one thing and one thing only and she needed a different kind of love. No one could fully give her what she needed.

Now she’s sentenced to stereotype/caricature hell and I don’t think she’ll be able to turn her high heels around any time soon. She’s stuck on billboards advertising hair care products that flat out lie to the girls they’re trying to entice by saying their particular kind of hair care will set them free and let them live life to the fullest. Because we all know how important one’s hair history is to the progression of our minds and lives.

Some girls can’t wait
To make life happen
Their hair tells their story
Make your hair happen
Life can’t wait

Monroe’s simulacrum has permanently taken over the original. I don’t really care about Madonna or Shakira - I’m just wondering what these three ladies have in common other than they’re all blonde occasionally. This ad is problematic, to say the least, and other than the apparent feminist issues I have with it, I’m mostly concerned with the fact that a troupe of even younger little girls will associate Monroe with this ad and think she’s synonymous with hair care products. I’d metaphorically equate that offense to be like the lone pedophile in a court room full of arsonists or something of the sort.


P.S. I'm sorry if this isn't very eloquent - it's 3:00 in the morning and I spontaneously felt compelled to write about this ad and Ms. Monroe.


Lisa Draski said...

AMEN! I'm totally with you on this! I'm so sick of Marilyn bashing. It's the same poisonous environment today - it destroys people. Things haven't changed. I feel so much empathy for her and her life, and I think she could be a damn good actress in the right role. People need to leave Marilyn alone and stop pimping her out as a sex object/brainless beauty, decades after her death. Thank you for writing this - I think it's very eloquent, no matter what time you wrote it. :)

Lisa Draski said...

I was so feeling what you were saying about Marilyn that I didn't even really read the ad. That's horrific. Ugh. It's so despicable. And the writing - is it the 50s? I didn't realize we had traveled back in time. Wow, I think that ad sets feminism back about half a century.

Lisa Draski said...

I'd also add "How to Marry a Millionaire" as an excellent Marilyn performance, even though I hate the movie itself.