It’s a little odd to me that someone is making speculations about someone else’s life philosophy. Marilyn is dead and we won’t really know anything new about her aside from the things she said in interviews and her body of work.
Think of it this way, how much do you know about Britney Spears? You know some things (she likes Cheetos!), but you don’t know what she is really like, her politics or her perspective on her own career.
Now, decades after Marilyn’s death, this author is grasping at straws trying to come up with “proof” that Marilyn was a feminist.
The way I feel about this is the way I feel about CEO Marissa Mayer saying she is not feminist.
Neither of these women identify as feminist, but their lives are definitely shaped by feminism. Marilyn Monroe did wonders for women’s sexuality by suggesting that it even existed. She owned her own production company. She made huge statements about race in a time when people of color were not accepted. (Ella Fitzgerald said the only reason she was allowed to play at a popular night club in the ’50s, that didn’t allow people of color, was because Marilyn personally called the owner and demanded Ella sing.)
Marilyn was a great entertainer and had a wonderful career–she will forever be remembered for that. Marissa Mayer is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company–that’s an amazing step forward for women. Yeah, it sort of bugs me that Marissa doesn’t acknowledge that she wouldn’t be able to be CEO of a company without the feminists who fought for the right to vote, work, and receive equal pay, but it’s her choice to identify as a feminist or not.
Nevertheless, what Marissa and Marilyn do and did, respectively, is feminist. Being independent, speaking your mind, and taking charge of your own career-path is certainly a feminist approach to life–but it doesn’t mean we should go around labeling people as feminists just because it helps our cause.
As much as I would like to believe Marilyn is a feminist, as much as I would like to believe that all women are, that’s just not the case. At the end of the day, any woman who shapes her life the way she chooses, who is thoughtful, who is compassionate and intelligent is making the world a better place for women (and men) anyway. I couldn’t really ask for much more than that?
(Just don’t diss feminists. That’s not cool, bro.)
What do you think? Does living like a feminist mean that you are one? Let us know in the comments!