Marilyn had "It". That magnetic ability to captivate everyone she met. She did this without effort, and so set the tone for American beauty in the mid 20'th century. She was our Marilyn. A divine possession that could not be possessed. American's struggled to define or posses her beauty. She became our archetype. From the onset of her appearance, and even after her death, Marilyn Monroe American's have tried to compartmentalize what it was to be Marilyn Monroe. For this reason, it became necessary to make up what was not so interesting. It has been said that Marilyn was frigid. That her genitals were underdeveloped. She has been called a promiscuous woman, and a prude. The tales were so tall and plentiful, that it is now difficult to separate the myth from the woman. Since it is nearly impossible to dispel myths about Marilyn's death, lovers, or personality, this article will focus on her physical myths.
The only thing clear in the early life of Norma Jeane Mortensen, are the facts of her birth. The baby was born in the charity ward of Los Angeles General Hospital. Did this make her a gift to the world from some anonymous group of benefactors? She was named Mortensen after her mother Gladys Pearl Baker (ne Monroe)'s second abusive husband, whom she had divorced 4months into the union, and probably shortly before Norma Jeane's conception. Gladys' first husband was Jasper Baker, with whom she had two children Bernice and Robert. At the time Gladys was just 14, and Jasper was 26. The most likely paternal candidate would be Charles Stanley Gifford, who would have nothing to do with mother or child.
One of the first myths, is that Marilyn had six toes. While it is true, according to biographies, that Marilyn was not particularly fond of her feet and would rather not have them photographed, it is undeniable that Marilyn had 10 toes. Five on each foot.
Another myth, is that Marilyn possessed infantile genitalia. This was undoubtedly fabricated by a jilted lover, or rejected suitor. In fact, Marilyn's genitals appeared to be as normal as anyone else's. This is confirmed in her autopsy by Dr. Noguchi in 1962.
The autopsy also dispelled another rumor; Marilyn did not have any children. It is widely known how deeply Marilyn wanted children, and how bereaved she was at the loss of her many pregnancies. If Marilyn had any children, it's safe to say that neither hell or high water would have kept her from them.
As for her famous beauty mark, many observers are correct pointing out that sometimes it was there, and sometimes it just wasn't. At other times, the mole was in a different place all together. The truth is, Marilyn did have a beauty mark. It was a simple fleshy clear mole that was easily covered with makeup. In fact, Marilyn was covered in freckles. Moreover, due to use of excessive use of Vaseline to prevent wrinkles, her face was covered with a noticeable layer of fine blonde hair. This was notably evident at her final shoot with photographer George Barris.
Some myth's were indeed true. Norma Jeane had several painful surgeries to become Marilyn Monroe. Norma Jeane was said to have a nose like a baked potato, an overly pronounced jaw line, and an terrible widows peak. Marilyn, on the other hand, had a fine nose, a dainty chin, and a very regal hair line. This epic beauty was not the handiwork of God alone.
Marilyn was as scarred externally, almost as deeply as internally, following a gallbladder surgery. Despite leaving a not on her tummy, asking the doctor to make the scar as small as possible, the scar was excessively large. This is evident in one photo by photographer Bert Stern, which was recently copied by Lindsay Lohan.
Marilyn was the perfect picture of imperfection. Beauty is not always found intact. Often the beauty exists in the flaws, the moles, and even the scars. Marilyn was human, and believable. This is still, 47 years after her death, an international sex symbol. Perhaps Marilyn said it best. "A sex symbol is a thing. I hate being a thing..."