Kate Hudson experienced a near-miss Marilyn Monroe moment last night at the premiere of her new film ‘The Killer Inside Me’. Posting the Kate Hudson photo, I returned to renovate a 2009 essay about my own psychological relationship with Marilyn Monroe.
(Originally written on Jan. 3, 2009; stripped and renovated on April 28, 2010.)
I didn’t intend to channel Marilyn Monroe this morning, but a strange sequence of events makes it clear that Marilyn Monroe wants to talk with us.
The day began with a sexy focus on a new condo building in Manhattan, not Marilyn Monroe.
It’s wild how messages declare themselves in our creative brains. And when we refuse to listen, or ‘obey’ the creative process, then the universe sometimes takes over with its own rhythm and foreward motion. Some brains have more elasticity for listening to women like Marilyn Monroe, and mine is one of them.
I was searching for any videos on New York’s new Platinum building, after reading the NYT description that it has a “come hither” lobby. After checking out the website, I agree.
Seeing this photo on the landing page of the Platinum Building website, I sense that something is happening … that my course is changing this morning. Looking at this female Sisyphus, I make a subliminal connection with the interminable uphill battle women experience, trying to reconcile their sensuality with brains, competence and respectability.
Just last week, a leading Iranian cleric said that women’s immodesty is responsible for earthquakes. How irrational a statement is that, this new lump of coal hung around the necks of women’s sensuality.
Fine, I adore Marilyn Monroe and have experienced by own Marilyn moment several years ago. Monroe is part of the Anne we know today.
The video is short and entitled “Marilyn Monroe talks about sexuality”. Playing it startles me out of a 5am reverie. OMG, I’ve never heard her voice “for real”, off the screen, speaking seriously about life. I play the video four times, writing down her words furiously.
Marilyn Monroe Talks About Sexuality
When I first wrote this essay, I was startled to hear Marilyn Monroe talking about human rights on a video now removed at YouTube. I never thought of Marilyn as being a woman walking away from everything and “starting over”. I’ve only read that the studios considered her “impossible”.
Human rights? Marilyn Monroe is talking about human rights as a woman? I’ve always seen Marilyn Monroe as a Smart Sensuality feminist. Unlike many women in the movement Monroe didn’t try to distance herself from her physicality. And yet she wanted to be more than the sum of her body parts. Marilyn wanted the ‘smart’ part recognized, too.
Suddenly I hear those famous words in her voice: “I only know that I want to be wonderful”.
I’ve read the words many times, and heard other people say them, but I never heard Marilyn Monroe herself say: “I only know that I want to be wonderful.” Doesn’t she speak for millions of women here?
She talks about being Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde … being two woman … probably more than two.
Talk To Me, Marilyn Monroe
Pausing I look up, feeling dawn in a room where night moods linger, as long as I leave the drape closed.
There are books everywhere, most of them perfectly organized, with only two of them facing my vision directly.
One is out of place … I placed it front and center in the bookcase at the foot of the bed a couple days ago … without thinking … except that I’ve never done this before.
I’ve never unconsciously pulled a book of any kind out of its place and left it there, facing me from my bed. Not in any bookshelf in any house or apartment I’ve ever lived in.
What is going on here?
Our Lack of Sexual Intelligence About Women
Kim Cattrall is speaking to me about what I know to be a truth about human beings.
Religion in particular tries to beat this knowledge out of us: sensuality is at the core of human existence. Marilyn Monroe leads a group of articulate, iconic women telling humans what we choose to deny. Sensuality is core to our being. As Shakira says, libido is the engine of the world.
For so many people, our sensuality disgusts us. Religion calls it the work of the devil.
The Marilyn Monroe reverie continues, although my bedroom is getting crowded.
I make jokes about the second book, Frank de Mulder’s “Senses”, in prominent view on a side bookshelf. Only a confident woman could face this over-sized photo every morning and not mind ‘competing’ with it when making love.
The Frank Mulder photo reminds me of my own physicality and also of what makes so many men tick.
More importantly, my love of this photo comes from the fact that I’ve learned to embrace my ample derriere, the source of many compliments but also a bad body asset to me. In my own Marilyn moment five years ago, I understood that I loathed my own derriere, as a direct symbol of my entire womanly self.
True, I am far more as a woman than my beautiful butt, but disowning her existence, believing the terrible things said about her over the years, has caused significant self-esteem problems in my life. It was only in claiming her and all the glorious parts of me that she represents, that I could take ownership of all my talents.
In this journey towards claiming myself, Marilyn Monroe is at the helm of my boat. There are other women guiding me, too, but Marilyn is our captain.
Immersed with Marilyn a few years back, I bought books, including Bert Stern’s The Complete Last Sitting, searched art gallery websites, and visited the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibit: “I Wanna Be Loved By You: Photographs of Marilyn Monroe from the Leon and Michaela Constantiner Collection.”
I read now that many of those photos were sold at Christie’s last month (2009). I wonder where she went … my dear Marilyn. Who owns her now?
Actually, I do in a small way. Looking right in the morning, I see Mulder’s derriere. Looking straight-away above the bookshelf, I see Ms Monroe.
Here she is, looking at me now from the wall … the black and white “Ballet Dancer”. She looks like a guardian angel, don’t you think?
Marilyn Monroe Speaks to All Women
Marilyn is adamant this morning; she will be heard.
What she says in the video . . expressing our American woman, good girl/bad girl ambivalence about our sexuality … is: “I’m tired of being known as the girl with the shape. I want to show them that I can act, and act well.”
Marilyn Monroe wants me to tell you this … that she is not just another pretty face … that she is smart and intelligent and an actor … a woman with many husbands, who wanted to be loved. To her credit, she kept searching and perhaps misread a good man or two, along the way.
Accepting her voluptuous physicality, Marilyn wanted a total identity. Kim Cattrell understands the power of this duality. So do Isabelle Allende and Anais Nin.
In Art, Not Movies, One’s Voice Is Heard
Motivated by Monroe’s words, I keep searching, ending up at The Dayton Art Institute for a current Marilyn Monroe art exhibit.
Walking into the article, I say “Hey girl”. . . I recognize the Bert Stern photo Here’s to You, from The Last Sitting, 1962.
This should be enough mental exercise for one Saturday morning, but Marilyn Monroe is not finished with me. “Anne, where’s your attention to detail!” she demands from the bedroom wall.
I read the page again. “What do you want, Marilyn? You want me to tell them that the ‘Life as a Legend’ show continues through June 24, 2009? People have plenty of time to book a flight to Dayton, Ohio?”
“No, for god’s sake, Anne. Read intelligently, woman. You are acting like a dumb blond this morning.”
“Alright, alright, Marilyn. Calm down. Be nice.”
Now I see it !!! … the point of all this psycho babble and YouTube interruption. “Jesus Louise!” My heart slows down. “I see your point, Marilyn … I’m sorry.”
About the Play:
In conjunction with the special exhibition, Marilyn Monroe: Life as a Legend, The Dayton Art Institute will present the one-woman play, Marilyn: Forever Blonde. Shortly before her untimely death, Marilyn Monroe posed for what would be her last photo shoot. Marilyn: Forever Blonde recreates Marilyn’s last chance to tell her own story in her own words. (Bold text per museum.)
Conceived by award-winning producer and writer Greg Thompson, the script has been painstakingly researched from hundreds of quotes by Marilyn herself. Actress Sunny Thompson gives a funny, sad, witty, titillating, and sometimes, heartbreaking performance as a woman lost in a world of Hollywood make-believe. Performances of MARILYN: Forever Blonde will be offered on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons at 2:00 p.m. and Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m.
“Am I done now?” I ask. “I have a lunch date, and you’ve totally destroyed my morning, Marilyn.”
“You’ll thank me, Anne. Yes . .. you can go now.”
Dear readers. I may return to the self-photography journey, and I may not. Clearly, things are percolating in Anne’s psyche.
If I can frame my thoughts in a way that benefits women in general, and not just personal self-indulgence, I will write again. To be determined.
For now, I’m clear that I will help broadcast Marilyn Monroe’s message … in our own words. You know … for-real sister love, not the hating kind. Anne
Post Script April 28, 2010: My writing would drive most editor’s mad. This Marilyn Monroe article underwent a severe pruning just now, with two spinoff articles for other channels.
Looking back 15 months, I see that the Marilyn Monroe mumbo jumbo was a key stop on the evolution of the Anne of Carversvile website and my own search for voice and perspective.
The one-woman play, Marilyn: Forever Blonde has superlative reviews and acclaim. I’ll be mining that territory for us.
Posting on Sexy With Heart this morning, the Kate Hudson photos from last night, I searched for an appropriate Marilyn Monroe quote. Monroe’s understanding of sensuality as a key force in our lives was as trapped in 1960s thinking as it is today. Marilyn’s words are key to my purpose and the message of all our websites:
I don’t mind being burdened with being glamorous and sexual. Beauty and femininity are ageless and can’t be contrived, and glamour, although the manufacturers won’t like this, cannot be manufactured. Not real glamour; it’s based on femininity. We are all born sexual creatures, thank God, but it’s a pity so many people despise and crush this natural gift. Art, real art, comes from it . everything. Marilyn Monroe