Looking Beyond the Mythos of Marilyn

Marilyn by Nickolas Muray, 1952

April VeVea is the author of Marilyn Monroe: A Day in the Life. In the course of her research she has often found evidence that contradicts the prevailing myth of Marilyn as martyr, and shows her in a less flattering (yet more human) light. On her Classic Blondes blog today, April discusses some of these testimonies and how they challenge our preconceptions of MM.

“I’m not sharing these recollections to dog Monroe, and I firmly believe those who shared them weren’t either, but to paint a little fuller picture of the late star as a woman who could be cruel when there really was no need to. Yes, her documented neurosis comes into play, but what I routinely see in the Monroe community, including the books we receive about her, is this idea that she must be painted as a victim … Instead of a full picture of Monroe as a person, we’re left with someone as shallow as a puddle whose poor behavior is excused away as acceptable at all times. Her triumphs are strokes of genius while anything off-putting is swept under the rug or oddly celebrated as an accomplishment … This piece isn’t to dog Monroe, but instead attempts to paint her as a real person, warts and all, while acknowledging the women who came before or struggled alongside her. The carefully crafted mythos of Monroe as some kind of otherworldly being needs to stop. She was flawed, she was difficult and she could be a bitch, but that’s what makes me love her.”