Monday, August 6, 2012

Temporarily Marilyn

This month marks the 50 year anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death.  Marilyn is still a sex symbol in today's world, as well as a great example of doing the most with what you were born with.  Men and women love her still and a quick image search online will grant you a plethora of photographs of both her and today's celebrities impersonating her.    As a beauty icon, she is also celebrated by many professional makeup artists, which is how I came across this article, tweeted by Beauty Report (which tweets about beauty news).

When I first started reading the article, I had hoped it would be about the beauty that Marilyn Monroe was born with (as Norma Jean Mortenson) or about highlighting your best features with makeup or the right clothing.  Something along those lines.

"I care about what she's done in showing the way for women to embrace what I called their 'Inner Marilyn.'  I care about her being remembered as the greatest groundbreaker ever for makeup and women's sex appeal."  ~ Sally Hayes, permanent makeup expert
The article starts off saying that the makeup experts don't care about Marilyn's past, which  sounds great - a lot of people have judged her for the things she went through, the things she did to make it in Hollywood, the people she slept with, etc.  Like all celebrity, she has been revered as much as she has been reviled.  But this article goes on to let women know that Marilyn worked very hard to completely change her appearance and here's how you can, too - permanently.  Just imagine if Norma Jean had access to permanent makeup, hair removal and body contouring.  

"She didn't have today's lasers which could have helped greatly to minimize her hairy arms and peachfuzz on her face,' says Las Vegas Celebrity Cosmetic Surgeon, Julio L. Garcia, M.D. 'Being a full-figured girl, she didn't have today's body contouring options either.  And she didn't have the power of permanent makeup to save her time and effort, enhance her appearance, and give her added confidence being photographed everywhere she went."
First, I can't recall anyone ever mentioning having an issue with Marilyn's arm hair, facial peachfuzz or her curves.  Especially the last, since she was known for being curvy and womanly - that's one of the reasons she's a sex symbol!  In addition to that, I am dismayed at the idea of Marilyn getting permanent makeup.  Some of my favorite photographs of her are those where you see her without any makeup on.  Norma Jean was beautiful and yes, she worked very hard to create the Marilyn Monroe she played off-camera.  It's those natural moments, such a crazy contrast to the icon's standard image, that makes her so much more interesting to me.  That contrast is the first thing you notice about her that makes you realize how much she changed herself, how hard she worked to have the career she did.  The more layers you peel back, the more you see what a survivor she was.

Now I'd like to share with you a fantastic NPR interview of Lois Banner by Diane Rehm.  Banner recently published a biography of Marilyn Monroe that has more research behind it than any of its predecessors.  I hope you will take a moment from your day to listen to Banner talk about Marilyn with such admiration for the woman she was (all aspects of her).  She talks about all that Marilyn survived and all that she did.  Marilyn's mother was institutionalized when she was young, so she was constantly handed off to different family members, often in different towns.  There is evidence she survived sexual abuse in her youth.  And despite being pigeon-holed as a dumb blonde even off-camera, she was a businesswoman who controlled her own career, owned her own production company and strived to improve working conditions for women in Hollywood.  Marilyn Monroe was not just a pretty face, not just a pinup girl and though she dyed her hair blond, she was by no means dumb.

Marilyn changed her name, used makeup to change her face and adopted a breathy, sexy voice to make her all that much more memorable.  But I still can't see her going through painful surgeries to change her body or her face.  I certainly hope she wouldn't have because I look on her as a great rolemodel for women who aren't built like a twelve-year-old boy.  Women who don't feel the need to wear spanx or make their bodies virtually hairless.  Makeup is fun, it's interesting, you can use it to highlight your features or completely change your face, but it's temporary.   Even Marilyn wasn't Marilyn all the time.

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