Marilyn Monroe

The Icon vs. The Woman By: Natasha and Lydia

Marilyn Monroe the Woman Behind the Image

When you hear Marilyn Monroe you might think of a blonde bombshell or iconic images of the woman in a white dress but is that really the whole story of Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926. Born in the city of plastic, Los Angeles. Marilyn never knew her father and after a nervous breakdown her mother was sent to an asylum. Marilyn was bounced around in the system and eventually went to live with a family friend at the age of 11, at the age of 16 Marilyn was given the ultimate ultimatum. The family she had lived with for so long was moving and could not take her with them, her choices, marry Jim Dougherty or return to the system. In 1945 a photographer came to the warehouse where she worked at the time thus transporting her into modeling and the trappings of fame. The iconic image of the blonde is just that an image created my a hungry media desperate to turn a normal woman into a star. The smiling blonde bombshell a flimsy illusion concealing the strong woman who never had it handed to her on a silver platter, a woman who fought mental illness and overcame. We may know the icon Marilyn Monroe but we may never understand the woman who was Norma Jean Mortenson.

Impact on Modern Society

Marilyn Monroe is a representation of the fifties but why is she still so prevalent in today's society? Maybe because she overcame or, maybe because she broke the mold, maybe even because she was beautiful. Maybe it's all of these things. Our modern society is a fickle matter, a collage of the past with a dash of the present. As Americans we look to our past to learn and grow. Marilyn Monroe is the epitamy of what some may call the American dream an idea still debated on today. She achieved what many try so hard to do and fail. She overcame her humble beginnings to become rich and famous something that many even today aspire to be. Marilyn has also in this day and age become a role model if we overlook her suicide and failed marriages we see a woman who was fiercely independent and tried to distance herself from the dumb blondes she played in movies. In our society there are certain values that are admired above all else one of those is physical beauty, and Marilyn was a knockout. Not only by the standards of her decade, still today she is seen as one of the most beautiful women in America. In the eyes of modern society Marilyn has stayed as an iconic image of overcoming, breaking the mold, and beauty. Marilyn is also used as a spearhead for lots of body positivity movements creating positive change in our modern world

Impact on the 50s

Marilyn Monroe had several impacts on the fifties, but one of the ways she mainly impacted society was her story of success. She had a rough childhood, so it took a lot for her to become who everyone knows her as today. One of the ways she got started was being on the front of Yank magazine, a magazine provided by the military during World War II. This picture showed her as one of the many women helping in the war effort. She was seen as a symbol of beauty and a changing decade. After starting out as a model, she went on to become a actress and singer as well. She was in about thirty movies. Her drive for success lead her to be a very independent woman. She became known as a woman who was not afraid to say no to a man who didn't agree with her and was married and divorced several times. After a while she decided to start working hard to combat the image the media had of her as a “dumb blonde”. This required a lot of effort for her because of the way she was portrayed in her movies. However she never gave up. She started taking night time college classes while managing her normal lifestyle. Despite all her effort, it’s not sure whether all of the effort she put towards her goal ever changed people’s perspective of her, but she was definitely seen, even to this day as a symbol of beauty, grace, and even hope.

People Who Influenced Her

There were several people throughout Marilyn’s life that had huge impacts on her. For instance, at a young age she was married to Jim Dougherty, who later went off to fight in World War II. This inspired Marilyn to join in the war effort and help in a warehouse, where she would later be photographed as one of the women influencing the war. Marilyn later divorced Jim, but he was a big influence on her life because in a way he gave her a start to her career. She was known as a woman who wasn’t afraid to turn men down and she first got this reputation when she turned down the proposal of Johnny Hyde, a very wealthy man, in order to focus on her career. During a time when her career was at a high, she married Joe DiMaggio who she also divorced nine months later when they both agreed she needed to focus on her career. One of the impacts on her life was President Kennedy. She adored him and eventually had an affair with him. It is even rumored that she ended up committing suicide over him. As you can see, even though Marilyn was a very independent woman, there were several people throughout her lifetime who influenced her.


Fear is stupid. So are regrets.
-Marilyn Monroe

I am not a victim of emotional conflicts. I am human.

-Marilyn Monroe

I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love.
-Marilyn Monroe


Shoshana, M. (2007, July 01). Marilyn Monroe. New Moon, (6), 20, Retrieved from

Marilyn Monroe QuotesPage 2 - BrainyQuote. (n.d.). Retrieved from