In the year of 1926, a girl born by the name of Norma Jeane was much different from women in today’s society. She grew up to be a woman who was not afraid to wear her size 12 pants with confidence. We now know this woman as Marilyn Monroe: The Sexiest Women of the Century.
As a child, Norma Jeane went from one foster home to the next after her birth mother gave her up for adoption. She lived most of her younger years unsure of where she would finally end up, until she moved in with the Bolenders. They were a family with several other foster children and only one child of their own. As Norma got older, they taught her that the only way to live was through God. Dancing, smoking, and card-playing were considered works of the demon, and neatness, order and discipline were marks of virtue; childhood sloppiness, back talk or poor manners were sinful, in the eyes of Albert and Ida Boldender. The two of them also taught Norma that the only proper time to be nude would be during bathing. This was a rule that Norma felt confused by. From a young age she felt most comfortable being naked and even had dreams about it.
“I dreamed that I was standing up in church without any clothes on, and all the people there were lying at my feet on the floor of the church, and I walked naked, with a sense of freedom, over their prostrate forms, being careful not to step on anyone.”
Ida and Albert also didn’t believe it was right to give people compliments. Therefore as a child, Norma Jeane was never told that she was pretty. She once said, “No one ever told me I was pretty when I was a little girl. All little girls should be told they're pretty, even if they aren't." But, that wasn’t a big concern to her while she was growing up. There was only one rule that didn’t seem fair to young Norma and that was not allowing her to go to the movies. They told her the movies were a bad influence on her and that young girls should only go to church. The Boldenders believed that they should be churchgoers rather than moviegoers and one could not be both.
Norma felt a need to rebel against her foster parents because they were so strict with the way she should behave. A young child such as Norma should not be raised to feel that they are not good enough for their parents. Norma once said, “It was hard to please them. Somehow I was falling short, although I can’t remember being especially bad.”
At the age of seven, Norma Jeane’s birth mother decided to be a part of her daughter’s life and moved the two of them to Los Angeles. The lifestyle she had once known was now completely different. Her mother smoked and drank with her friends which confused Norma. Soon after the move, her mother fell deeply into depression and Norma once again had to move. This continued for several years of her life.
Norma Jeane developed the drive to succeed as an American icon because of being so rejected and stifled as a child. As she entered high school she knew she had talent and wanted an opportunity to prove it but found this very difficult because of the fact that she was so shy. People slowly began to pay attention to her more when she began to physically mature. She would wear red lipstick to school and let her midriff show which was shocking to many of the girls since she had normally been so shy. As years past, the initial shock wore off and she began to make friends with the girls at school. The boys started noticing her beauty. It wasn’t too long she became so beautiful that everyone could not help but notice.
After years of abuse, rejection, marriage and divorce, Norma Jeane was ready to begin her career. The first thing that needed to be done before contracts could be signed was to change her name to fit her look. The name Norma Jeane was too awkward for her and since she was called the “Mmmm Girl” in high school, Marilyn was chosen. The name came from a woman named Marilyn Miller who her agent once knew. Her last name had always changed with her foster families, so she ended up taking the last name of her birth mother, the only real family that she had ever known. Norma Jeane Monroe was known, from that day on, as Marilyn Monroe.
The rest is history. It wasn’t long until fame found Marilyn. All of her hopes and dreams had finally come true and she was living the life that she had always hoped for. As Marilyn’s fame grew so did her body. Her weight fluctuated a lot and the press was never easy on her for it. She was comfortable in her body no matter what size she was and had been since she was a kid dreaming about being naked.
Forty five years ago, Marilyn Monroe overdosed on sleeping pills. To this day, men and women around the world still have posters and paintings in their homes of her. It is fascinating that years after her death she is still considered a sex symbol. Even young stars still find her captivating. Paris Hilton once said, “I love Marilyn Monroe. I think she was the coolest blonde. I think, like me, she just didn’t care what anyone thinks. She’s happy. She’s smiling. I don’t know, I just always thought she was so beautiful and she just seemed, like, magical.” Paris isn’t the only celebrity that has been inspired by Marilyn. Many people for years have thought that Anna Nicole Smith wanted to be just like her. “I just feel a connection with Marilyn Monroe. I just love her. I just completely feel what she went through,” Anna said. Although neither Anna nor Paris had ever met Marilyn, they were still stimulated by her work and her beauty.
Marilyn only lived to be 36 years old, but she accomplished more in her short lifetime then most could only dream of. She was not only a charmed actress, but she was a sex symbol and a beauty icon for both men and women around the world. Her remarkable beauty and grace is something that no one can deny. There is a well known quote that Marilyn had said several times which is, “I am not interested in money. I just want to be wonderful.” Of all the things Marilyn has ever spoken about herself, she holds most true to that one. Although her body may be buried, her beauty continues to live today and for years to come.
Falvo Copyright 2007