Something's Gotta Give
Four Women Writers on the Lasting Influence of Marilyn Monroe
Having a public image that was so far from the reality of her private life must have been both exhausting and a constant reminder of the truth behind the façade. But there must also have been a refuge in that persona, the same sort of refuge that existed for me on Facebook during that rough period in 2004.
My life could be unbearable in private, but I could mask my misery—and allow myself the space to rehabilitate—by hiding behind the Facebook version of me, a placeholder for the real me.
It would be an obvious exaggeration to say that we're all Marilyn Monroe these days. But we do possess the power to create and control our own narrative. We can document our lives in images and then share the best of those images with others. The unflattering ones, we can delete from our smartphones and cameras before they ever have a chance of being seen.
For Monroe, her narrative is no longer hers to control. Over the years, photos of her have emerged—the last shots of her drunk and drugged, taken by Bert Stern, or the never-before-published images that are constantly being published.
Yet, without these glimpses of her dark self, the one she kept hidden behind her bombshell persona, it's doubtful that we would still be so fascinated by her. It's not the best self that grants us eternity. It's the one that makes us most human that does.
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