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The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

NJIT's Student Newspaper

The Vector

I get it. Marilyn Monroe slept with a bunch of guys and possibly had a drug problem.


But she isn’t a bad person.

I’ve been thinking about her quite a lot lately. Perhaps it’s because winter break just passed and I love me some movie marathons. Perhaps it’s because I spend most of my day perusing the Internet where I see pictures of the blonde bombshell with quotes plastered over her face. I don’t know. Whatever it is, I have been thinking.

Today started like any other day of perusing the Internet. Normally, I’m just a lurker on Facebook. I don’t really contribute much to what my friends post because most of it is trivial and quite frankly, not worth my time. But today, a friend decided to post a status (sic throughout) that read:

The fact that Marilyn Monroe is so famous is proof that people (namely women, cause men don’t really care about her) are more interested in scandalous and promiscuous than they are in true substance. #society

And in that moment, I swear, a fury grew inside me like it had never done before. There are a lot of things in that status that I could have honed in on as the topic of my comment. But quite frankly, I’d had it with this form of judgmental regurgitation against a woman for choices she was free to make. So after some fact checking I decided to try to reason with said friend and highlight the positive aspects of Ms. Marilyn:

  • Her relationship with 20th Century Fox wasn’t ideal. She hated being typecast as the ditzy blonde and refused to let them get away with paying her less than her male counterparts in movies where she was the leading role. She wanted to be taken seriously.
  • In an attempt to break away from that mold, Marilyn went on to study acting with Lee Strasberg. While Monroe was a student of his, Mr. Strasberg commented, “I have worked with hundreds and hundreds of actors and actresses, and there are only two that stand out way above the rest. Number one is Marlon Brando, and the second is Marilyn Monroe.”
  • Monroe was well read. She was willing to educate herself.
  • She donated time and money to charities.
  • Despite being smothered at age two, being sexually abused as a child, suffering two miscarriages and one ectopic pregnancy she still put on a brave face for her fans.
  • Despite my effort to highlight the good instead of shame her for all the “wrongs” she had committed, my friend kept repeating the same thing over and over, “blah blah she was a whore for having affairs, blah blah she was a drug addict, blah blah she capitalized on her sex appeal and has no real talent, blah blah blah”.

I have no clue what he was trying to get at. Anyway, to sum up my argument:

I’m not saying Marilyn was perfection and that we should all be like her. I want to make it clear: her alleged affairs and substance abuse are things no one should ever aspire to replicate. But I refuse to let that define her as a person. We are all mixtures of good and bad; we are all imperfect. Wouldn’t you hate it if everyone automatically judged you for all the bad you’ve done and ignored the good? I know I would hate it. It wouldn’t be fair. Not everything in life is superficial; you can’t judge a book by its cover. A person’s character is the sum of all their attributes, good and bad.

Moral of the story: We can’t just focus on the negative and completely ignore all the good someone has done. That’s called ignorance.

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  • J

    John EllisFeb 7, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Ms Bracero,
    I agree with you largely. Questions I think are fairly put to anyone with that degree of metacognition, talent, ambition and recognition: how do you wish to be remembered? why is the resolve to positive change so hard? what role does social acceptance play in such behavior? what balms do we apply to the wounded soul?
    John Ellis
    Father of NJIT student
    I am a fan of your school.

  • C

    cesarNov 18, 2019 at 9:47 am

    I agree totally with you, she was an outstanding actress and do not deserve to be judged solely by her derailed relationships and substance abuse. Maybe her child abused history and many other unfortunate events put a mark on her but she overcome, to some extend, those hurdles. Perhaps in your line of thought was Elton John when he wrote Candle in the Wind, dedicated to Norma Jean.