It was very rare for a woman to go out in the 1950’s and not wear a full face of makeup or have her hair done. Monroe always wore something eye – catching and due to her fame, followed by the paparazzi. Monroe had an enormous amount of pressure to look good anywhere she went, at any time of day, to uphold her title as beauty queen of the decade, and therefore influenced a large amount of women to not only dress like her, but act and talk like her in day to day American culture.

However, this trend did not die in the 50’s, even celebrities today are inspired by Monroe’s looks, talent, and work. For instance, Madonna 8, who said she felt a connection with Monroe drew inspiration from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, for her “Material Girl” music video. Although Monroe had a strong influence on women in her time for beauty, her impact is looked upon in a very different light in today’s world due to her ridgid past. Continuing her thought, Madonna said, “I do feel something for Marilyn Monroe. A sympathy. Because in those days, you were really a slave to the whole Hollywood machinery, and unless you had the strength to pull yourself out of it, you were just trapped. I think she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into and simply made herself vulnerable, and I feel a bond with that.”

Madonna is right to look up to Monroe as a beauty icon, but she also makes a great point about how the film industry has changed since her time. Now it is much easier to get out of the industry if things aren’t looking bright for you, but in Monroe’s era once you were in the spotlight and the consumers liked you, then there was no getting out: it was a money making trap.

The decades Monroe worked in the industry was considered to be the unfortunate stem of all the sexual harassment cases in Hollywood today. In an interview with Jane Russell, a former colleague of Monroe’s, from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Russell explained that Monroe was, “very sensitive, super sensitive, so she got her feelings hurt – you know, a lot – so the guys around the studio were not exactly, tactful about that”, suggesting that Monroe was a fragile and an easily moldable individual that could be taken advantage of. Another great actress that Monroe worked with was Joan Collins. In an interview with Collins, she said that Monroe told her to be careful of the, “bad wolves in the industry,” in which Joan replied, “I’ve been in British films for three years, I can handle wolves,” then Monroe advised, “but not the power bosses honey, if they don’t get what they want they’ll drop your contract; they’ve done it to lots of girls,” showing how Monroe had seen and experienced that herself.

Being in an industry that constantly required so much from a person, on and off set, without a doubt put unnecessary pressures on her. As stated before, Monroe was a naturally curvy person, but nonetheless tried several diets to keep the weight off. Her main diet consisted of meat and high protein foods; she used the “starve the fat method”, by avoiding bread and carbs. While this seems healthy and simple, it is not. The human body needs carbs and fat to keep cells alive, and function normally sending out signals to other cells; needless to say another consequence of this diet being hormonal swings.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Why Marilyn Monroe was the most influential beauty icon in america part four by Mae is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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