Mass communications and entertainment of the 20th century has changed how we see ourselves. Every culture has been impacted by the slurry of images they create. It is as if every decade has gone few steps beyond the previous in reducing the gap between people and the images they see.
Mega glamour productions and studios of the early 1900s attracted aspirants from all over the world. Glamour was freed from the confines of chambers and saloons. The purview of the rich and the monied was now making its way down into the minds of the masses. National and international brands were also surfacing flattening the playing field across states, countries and continents.
Before they knew it, Hollywood was not only entertaining but also manufacturing looks and behaviors for the masses. As long as you were current in fashion and had some talent, you could fit a slot somewhere in the glamour universe.
And that is precisely how a local girl made it from being the subject of nude photography to becoming the sex symbol for generations.
Decked with bleached blonde hair and in clothes that today might not be adventurous, she appeared in many hits of the 50s and early 60s. Marilyn Monroe is still popular because there are still many unknowns about who she was, what her thoughts were, who her partners were, among others.
Monroe was as manufactured living as she is dead. She, Mao and Campbell’s soup cans are subjects of Andy Warhol’s prints in bright colors. Just as Mao summed everything known about China and Communism, Monroe was aura in one package.
Aura comes to English from Hebrew or Arabic. It means nakedness, private parts and feminine.
Desire overtakes fear when the sight generates a pleasant experience.
Without sight of the enemy or object, having a desire for conquest gets explained as savage or primitive. Aside from “faith”, social constructs that defy rational thinking are classified as primal.
Can our rational minds accept the volumes of poetry generated under Islamic influence where the desired is a sight unseen or forbidden. Of course the only rationalization is that the desired is who they pray to – a formless entity. That might work for some of the writings. The rest are lewd overtures of primal desire.
And this brings us back to Monroe. In the public realm there are very few photos of her in the nude. In fact in most she taunts the male gaze by covering her aura. And even if you were to find her nudes, the photos are not of the run of the mill variety. These black and whites are expertly shot and cropped making them instantly standards of portraiture.
When a woman represents misogynist men, it speaks volumes about the men and the woman. Even in repressive cultures, it is not rare for women to be hailed as the family matriarch. Elizabeth I is one such well known figure in European history. That she went beyond her call of duty as a puppet is due to her personality and strength.
There is today a Monroeish player in American politics. Following the debacle of Ms. Clinton’said loss to Mr. Trump, there appeared to be a blaring gap – an absence of women willing to step in and clean the mess left behind. Many had voted for Clinton because of her gender, overlooking her incompetency due to corruption.
And out of the mess arose a Beautiful Cockroach. That is literally what her name translates to from Spanish and Arabic. She managed to bring more women tI’ve there in recent American history thanot even Ms. Clinton. With her head neatly wrapped by a scarf she is the antithesis of a feminist.