Lois Banner’s ‘Proto-Feminist’ Marilyn

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Dr Lois Banner, author of MM – Personal and Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox, has written an article for Miss Millennia about re-interpreting Marilyn from a feminist perspective.

“It’s hard to apply the term ‘feminism’ to Marilyn, since the movement didn’t really exist during her lifetime.  In its modern incarnation, it can be dated to the publication of Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique in 1963.  (Marilyn died in 1962). Yet I was surprised to find that Marilyn was always egalitarian…regarding Marilyn as a tough career woman, I call her a ‘proto-feminist.’  But the real tragedy of her life was that she had no ideology with which to understand her condition, no way of putting the oppression she experienced into a framework that would enable her to name it…Without a feminist point of view, she kept recycling old solutions that didn’t work–an overdependence on men, an addiction to drugs, and a continuation of presenting herself as a sex object to the point that she herself felt degraded by it.”