Norma Jeane Mortenson

“Dogs never bite me. Just humans”
– Marilyn Monroe

Hugh Hefner launched his ground-breaking first edition of Playboy magazine that sold millions of copies with the famous cover shot of a nude Marilyn Monroe. It’s a little known fact that the she didn’t even “pose” for it, the photos were taken years before, and used without her consent. Some made money off her while she lived and they didn’t stop trying even once she was dead.

With her blonde beauty, full figure, red lips, baby voice and an alluring sexuality that was disarmingly charming— Monroe was the reigning queen of Hollywood.

Marliyn Monroe, originally Norma Jeane, came from a poor background, broken family, foster home and was raised by a schizophrenic mother. Her childhood was rife with distress. The trauma bore its mark on her future relationships with the men in her life.

That might be why she played the damsel-in-distress, baby-like innocence, take-care-of-me image to such perfection.

As one watches her journey in hindsight, we realise she was extremely intelligent and understood quite early in life that powerful men felt kinder and secure when they were elevated to the position of being the provider, flattering their manhood. That prodded them to protect her from the wolves and the predators.

Norma Jeane played into this patriarchal insecurity as she successfully rode the charts of signing the best films and giving interviews as the most successful star of Hollywood. As time went on, she revealed more and more of the deep personality and intelligence behind the mask. She was desired by the royalty, the intellectual, the mighty and the powerful as well as the commoner, who dreamt of her flying skirt, red lips, hourglass figure, blond hair and baby voice as their sexual fantasy. She made the jazz song “Diamonds are a girls best friend” famous.

But she was aware that her Monroe Estate was her equity in a world where her desirability quotient was as fickle as the first wrinkle on her flawless skin.

Monroe was deep down a very lonely woman. She died all alone with an overdose of sleeping pills in her bedroom. Even during her death which was highly speculated upon, as to whether it was murder or suicide, the paparazzi wanted a shot of her nude dead body, to get a slice of her flesh just to sell to a world hungry to see the woman they coveted nude even if it was in her death.

Norma Jean was an enigma, a great actress and a shrewd marketeer who knew what to sell to the masses. The sad part of the great actress remains, that she searched for completion of herself in her multiple relationships and sadly all of them let her down.

Happy Birthday, Marilyn. You were an icon, but not just for all the reasons people usually think. You understood the world of men before there was a women’s movement to support you. I have no doubt, if you had but lived a little longer to rub shoulders with the steely resolve of the second-wave, your life experiences would have fueled in you a fiery rebellion.

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