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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gloria Steinem on Marilyn Monroe

Steinem met Monroe once, at the Actor's Studio in New York. Steinem had been invited by one of her Smith College professors to sit in on a teaching session. It seemed to her that the sophisticates of the New York theater were condescending to the Hollywood actress.
"Monroe was a huge star, but far from being embarrassed or alienated, I felt drawn to her, protective. I remember feeling angry at the way she was treated," Steinem recalled. "Growing up, Marilyn's image had always made me uncomfortable. For a teen-age girl who feels vulnerable enough, it was like an ethnic person seeing an ethnic stereotype -- a silly blond woman who allowed herself to be used. She was a victim. It was painful to see. She's up there on the screen -- in the comedies at least -- giggling and being dumb. People are making jokes about how dumb she is, about her body. She had a vulnerability and an innocence. Your first response is to blame the person instead of blaming the role the person is forced to play. It's the same as it would have been to blame Stepin Fetchit in pre-civil-rights days. When you think about it, that was the only role he was allowed to play.

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