My “Marilyn” Post

Marilyn’s pic is on Facebook – a lot.  Seems like a lot of female fitness bloggers have written about Marilyn, too.  It’s my turn.  But what I feel compelled to say is a little different than what I’ve been reading lately.

I was born about six months before Marilyn died.  Like many, I’ve been fascinated with her, but always considered her an example of a woman trapped by her beauty.  When I was younger, I thought Marilyn was considered a tragic figure because of her “probable suicide” from a drug overdose.  I don’t remember anyone ever discussing her weight.   She was thought of as a beautiful, talented, likable  but tormented woman.  The conversations were usually about whether she killed herself or whether she was murdered to cover up an alleged affair with JFK.  I felt sorry for her.

Now, it seems her new legacy is as a role model for women who have body image issues.  I’m sorry.  I think that’s twisted.    She was not emotionally healthy, and when her image is used because she was “curvy”, I cringe.  It’s all the same crap that she dealt with when alive.   It hasn’t changed.  Part of the problem, if I correctly recall my thinking on this from decades ago, was that she didn’t feel as though people treated her as a whole person.  People took pieces of her to use for their own purposes.  Marilyn was a character that Norma Jean created – and I think she lost her authentic self (thank you, Michelle, for that post today).  So to use her image now…isn’t that the same thing?  Honor her for who she was and what she accomplished – not for what she looked like.  That’s sad.  And it still says the same thing – we aren’t “whole people” – we treat ourselves as if our value is what we look like or how appealing we are?

Maybe this seems weird coming from me.  I think most people misunderstand what I’m doing.  I lost weight to extend my life.  I am now bodybuilding and want to continue competing because it’s a challenge, it’s my “art”, my sculpture.  Competitions feel like performance, much like a gymnast performs.  I don’t really think about what I look like.  Shoot – I rarely brush my hair and I never wear makeup.   I’m more proud of being able to do calculus with a pen than I am of being a certain size.

I wish I could tell all those women who look at Marilyn for validation that there is no need to look outward for that.  You either feel good or you don’t.  If you don’t, start to treat yourself with more self-care, even if it feels a little fake at first.  I really wish Marilyn would have done that.


Filed under Opinions, Venting, Ranting

6 responses to “My “Marilyn” Post

  1. I freaking love this post! It’s easy to get caught up in being aesthetic, especially when you start seeing changes in your body. I think the whole “strong is the new sexy” movement or whatever you want to call it kind of perverts the art itself because people (especially girls with body image issues) take away from that that “a strong body” is sexy – and don’t realize that the sexiest thing about being strong is the confidence it instills.
    We all remember Marilyn as an iconic sex symbol, and you’re right on in saying that keeping up that appearance probably had a lot to do with her internal demise 😦


    • It doesn’t matter if you are happy if you are good looking. Booooo!

      You hit on something else here – the strong/sexy thing. I’m not posting fitspo anymore unless the woman looks like she is wearing something she would really wear.

      Side note – still getting random FB friend requests from strange men. (I don’t accept them.) I think a lot of them don’t own shirts. It’s sad. They must be cold. I know I should change my profile pic to my “real” self, but I kind of like my alter-ego, superhero self. I guess that’s my “Marilyn”.


      • If your Marilyn makes you happy – you rock it! As long as said creepy shirtless dudes don’t start approaching you on the street and try hugging you 🙂
        I had to delete like everyone on my twitter feed because their “fitspo” could drive anyone anorexic in my opinion. It’s strange how people are more concerned with being “sexy” than happy. I’m doomed to be a dorky nerd for the rest of my life, but I’m cool with having muscles, too. 🙂


  2. The Storriteller Post

    Hi! At first I thought we didn’t agree, but I think we’re in violent agreement on the Marilyn issue. 🙂 Meaning: We shouldn’t use her as an “Example” because her life was screwed up (for lack of a better term) in many ways. However, I do think people today put too much emphasis on sizes instead of what’s healthy. For example, a size 12 woman – me (which, at first, sounds unhealthy or heavy), could actually be ok…if that same woman is 5’8″ and weighs about 145 lbs. But it happens to be a “larger” size, or I have to get a size 14 and have it tailored down because of my build (see, I’m obsessing about size! ha). I think you get my point. Everyone is an individual, so I agree that sometimes Marilyn is used incorrectly in “measuring up” – but at the same time, I think we obsess too much in today’s culture (as has been my experience) about a particular number or measurement. Have a good one!


    • Hi! Love that comment!! Size is relative. When I competed last August, I was a 6. Today, I am a 10-12. Water is the biggest difference. Health is what’s important. Healthy body that is properly nourished, not loaded with toxins – that person is more likely to be happy, too. The fact that a healthy body, properly nourished and not full of toxins is usually a lean body – that’s a side effect.


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