Marilyn the Rebel

Marilyn in New York (Sam Shaw, 1957)

In an article for the Huffington Post, Dr Lois Banner – author of a new biography of Marilyn, due out next month – pinpoints two areas where Marilyn defied expectations: firstly in her lifelong quest for self-improvement, and secondly in her liberated views on sex.

Banner also makes an interesting comparison between Monroe and her previous biographical subject, anthropologist Margaret Mead.

“By 1960 Margaret was often in Hollywood; her sister was married to screenwriter Leo Rosten, who was Ralph Greenson’s best friend. Margaret came to Greenson’s weekly salons, where he played the violin with a group of amateur chamber musicians and the guests discussed ideas. It’s said that Margaret was the only person who could out-argue Greenson; in fact, her ideas about male insecurity and women’s need for equality came to dominate his psychiatric theories after Marilyn’s death. Marilyn sat in a corner at the soirees and didn’t enter into the conversations, but it’s possible that she and Margaret were at a session together. The week Marilyn died she was reading Rosten’s novel about Greenson,┬áCaptain Newman, MD. That book might have led her to Margaret’s writings and to a better understanding of her situation as a woman in a man’s world. It had that impact on Ralph Greenson.”

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