The Influence of Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe passed away 52 years ago but her memory still lives on. Now I’m creating the opportunity to bring her back to life for as long as you’re reading this post so I can share the power and influence she has had on me.

I just want to clarify I’m not a medically trained professional these are merely the writings of a fan of Marilyn Monroe; the reasons why she inspires me, plausible reasons why I believe she was the way she was and well I just want to share this! So I hope you enjoy my ‘analysis’ if you would. I’m not here to create debate, simply to share an opinion and although you may not agree with everything I say I hope you enjoy it with an open mind.

I shall try and not become too bogged down in her early life and her career, but I think it’s important to put a little perspective on Marilyn’s early life so I can make my argument clearer to all of you.

I would like to state where I have got some of my information about Marilyn Monroe from:

  1.  BOOK A Hollywood Legend – Marilyn Monroe by Jessica Bailey and Mike Gent
  2. FILM Discovery Channel Conspiracy Theories – The Death Of Marilyn Monroe
  3. FILM Marilyn Monroe The Final Days
  4. ONLINE Wikipedia (search Marilyn Monroe)

Early Life

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On June 1st 1926 Norma Jeane Mortenson was born, little did anyone know she was going to grow into an inspirational star. Her mother, Gladys Pearl Baker, suffered with mental difficulties and Marilyn was taken into care at a very young age. She was in and out of foster homes very recently and when she came of age was told to find dependency in marriage. I wonder what kind of message that gave to a young girl who never really knew her parents and never developed a strong family bond with anyone she could really call her ‘family’.

A point I wish to make here is, as we know today, your primary socialisation (that is, family) and the experiences associated with them can have a massive impact on your health, well-being and character; as well as how you see the world and your emotional development. (This I have learnt in therapy which is Dynamic Interpersonal Therapy [a study on how your early experience can cause your mental illness]). One cannot comprehend what it must be like to never really know where you’re from, who you’re related to and who you can depend on. This clearly must have had an impact on Marilyn’s well-being, something I will later discuss. 

The Social Self

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Eventually Norma changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. She was an utterly majestic and beautiful woman. However many frowned upon her ‘sexual deviance’ if you would and her ‘promiscuous’ nature; posing for Playboy and even her seductive performance of Happy Birthday to the President. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfQtfw8U06g)

Although people may have a lot to say about her ‘sexual deviant’ nature I think , firstly, if I looked like Marilyn I wouldn’t mind exploiting it. But more importantly and significantly I sense Marilyn Monroe was almost her ‘superego’ and image she formed to please and fool society. People may judge that but we all do it, right? Our social self is not equal to our actual self. The actual self is something only we know; it’s the person who we are when we’re alone, it’s the thoughts we think, the things we ponder, the way we feel, our irrational and rational views of ourselves and the world, the initial feelings and thoughts that we never share with anyone but ourselves. There’s credible reason to believe that beneath the ‘late, seductive, beautiful and ‘dumb blonde’’ persona there was a young, lost woman who couldn’t understand how she felt or how to feel and woman experiencing an inner turmoil.

I honestly believe that all Marilyn really did want was ‘to be loved’ and she probably thought this would conquer her issues of self-esteem and emotional turmoil. I myself can relate to that. If others can accept you you think you can accept yourself, that’s pretty frequent in depression (this I’ve learnt from Paul Gilbert’s Overcoming Depression) but the opposite is true.

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Her Romantic Life

Sometimes I hear people saying ‘how can Marilyn Monroe be anyone’s idol when she’s a slut’, well firstly there’s more to someone than their sexual preferences, and in this case, it’s Marilyn’s career. But more importantly I don’t believe she was a ‘slut’ at all I believe there was a very reasonable reason as to why Marilyn married so much and perhaps allegedly had an intimate relationship with the Kennedy brothers.

Firstly let’s consider the young girl who never knew who she could depend on and then was told to marry to find this dependence and so she did. One must reflect on what effect that must have on someone’s self-esteem for one and understanding of the world; not knowing who they are and where they come from for their entire childhood and then told to find that in marriage. This marriage didn’t work and Marilyn married several times; all of which were clearly unsuccessful in complying with her emotional needs. I really believe that is all she desired, her emotional needs to be met. I’m trying so hard to not go off on a tangent about her relationship with her husbands and so on, as relevant as it may be, it’s something that can make another blog post.

My point is, when people are emotionally or maybe physically neglected as children they tend to re-create these situations to try and solve them. Where this analysis was drawn from was a very insightful book that I have read, and previously recommended, Women Who Love To Much by Robin Norwood who encounters many women who were subject to difficult childhoods and married men similar to their parents (so to speak) and tried to ‘fix’ them in order to fix how they felt about the childhood. I don’t know about you, but I can somehow see this reflected in Marilyn – a young woman who never knew on who she could depend, and who could be her hero so she tried to create this via someone else (a partner) and perhaps that was never good enough. She was too deep into her emotional turmoil they couldn’t meet her emotional needs. It may sound a bit too ‘deep’ an analysis, and like I said I’m not Doctor, but I guess I can relate in a way. I think it’s a human thing to do and is possibly how she could of felt.

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(Photograph and Marilyn and Arthur Miller’s wedding)

Finally – The Ethic

Now I’ve spent just over 1,000 words talk about her and I could go on for another 10,000 but I’m trying to keep this short-ish but try and give you a slice of why Marilyn is an inspiration to me and we’ve finally reached the last ‘chapter’ if it were about WHY.

Despite her difficult childhood, her inner turmoil Marilyn never let it destroy her career; in fact it could be argued that it was her career is what kept her going. Now, it’s clear Marilyn was suffering mentally, not only is she more susceptible to be since her Mother was too, but she did see psychiatrists, was prescribed medications to control mood and sleep and she did attempt suicide just before they started filming Something’s Got To Give (1962). It even shone at times when they were filming it was known that Marilyn was always late, sometimes because she just was or she didn’t feel ready enough to see the world yet, or she didn’t look good enough; but she was also terrible at remembering her lines, she was very shy and never felt good enough when performing. And sometimes this let her down, her producers grew tired of her insecurities and instead of comforting her they eventually grew cold to her. I mean, I do not blame them, I’m sure it can be very annoying hearing a fabulous woman claim herself to not be fabulous or at least ‘good’. But there’s more beneath that – more that meets the eye.

There was a time when Marilyn’s mood had caused trouble with her career but what is powerful is she didn’t give up and well she got what she want. After her attempted suicide they began to film Something’s Got To Give and Marilyn didn’t attend many, almost all, of the shootings for as long as they were filming. This eventually resulted in her being fired and she never gave up she eventually fought to get the film started and then, died. So the film was never complete.

I think anyone who has been depressed knows how hard, how painful it is to even open their eyes in the morning without feeling drained. Marilyn didn’t give up throughout the many years of her career. She starred in 31 films in total. (Including the incomplete Something’s Got To Give which was caused due to her passing.) I mean that’s an accomplishment. A very admirable one.

She never let her childhood or her inner turmoil ruin her dream. She fought for her dream. And as far as I can see – her dream most certainly came true.

Marilyn Monroe only ever wanted to be loved. She was. She is.

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Thank you for reading this, it basically took all day to write – I hope you enjoyed it.

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