Searching For Marilyn’s Mother Love

Marilyn photographed by Earl Leaf during a press conference, 1956

Writing for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, Stephen Whitty looks at the ‘metamorphosis’ of Norma Jeane into Marilyn Monroe. Interestingly, he argues against the usual interpretation of Marilyn’s sex appeal – the little girl trapped in a woman’s body – and suggests that her sexuality was defined by her lifelong desire to become a mother:

“This is not the usual reading of Marilyn Monroe. The accepted interpretation is that she was a sexy contradiction, the overripe figure and underage voice combining to inspire a thousand taboo daydreams.

‘My body turned all these people on, like turning on an electric light,’ she complained once. ‘There was so rarely anything human in it.’

But look at her real appeal again. The womanly curves are those of a new mother. That breathy voice is that of someone whispering a lullaby. The Marilyn Monroe that connected with audiences wanted to take them to bed, all right. But mostly just to tuck them in.”