Very Definitely a Woman

Filed under Catherine's Thoughts on Mar 23 12 by

“I’m very definitely a woman, and I enjoy it.” – Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

I love this quote. PERIOD. I don’t care who said it, and I don’t care what type of person she was; I simply love this quote. For a while I struggled with whether or not I could get away with using it in the magazine. I imagined people being offended by the mention of a woman who portrays an image we wouldn’t normally be thrilled to promote. I even searched the Internet hoping to find a story about some great philanthropic cause she was a part of, just so I could feature that and have an excuse to use the quote. I didn’t find anything. But the lesson I learned along the way is worth sharing.

Before beginning my research, I only knew a few things about Marilyn Monroe: she was a beautiful, blonde actress who modeled on the cover of Playboy; she may or may not have had an affair with the President; and she died at an early age. While researching her story, I was reminded of how often we think we know people and how easy it is to make a snap judgment of a complete stranger. Every one of us has our own individual story filled with unique experiences that have brought us to this exact time and place. Each of our experiences shapes how and why we react to people, events, and other experiences in the way we do. As we begin to learn the stories of the people around us, it becomes much more difficult to judge and a bit easier to understand.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean. Her mother was mentally ill, and she lived her entire life without ever knowing her father’s true identity. As her mother checked in and out of hospitals, she was repeatedly abandoned to orphanages and foster homes. Before the age of six, she was almost smothered to death and survived an attempted rape. When she was living at home with her mother, she learned many lessons as her mother taught her to search for love and acceptance from the men who came into and out of their lives. It also stands to reason that this is where she learned to use her physical appearance to seek out men for approval, security, identity, and fulfillment. On top of all of this, Marilyn struggled with alcohol and drug addiction and suffered from a disease called endometriosis. Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the tissue from the uterus lining detaches itself, reattaches to other areas of the body, and continues growing. This is known to cause severe pain, irregular bleeding, and in some cases, infertility. You could say that she was literally attacked at the core of who she was as a woman.

We don’t have to approve of the choices Marilyn made in her lifetime, and I wouldn’t say she is a role model. But I do believe that she deserves to be valued, and her story deserves to be heard. As I began to get to know Marilyn through her story, I came to realize that she was more than just the tidbits of celebrity gossip I had heard over the years. She was sexually exploited and abused, as well as physically attacked from the inside out. She had every reason imaginable to hate everything that made her a woman, yet she found a way to embrace it and enjoy it.

What do YOU love about being a woman?

Sarah and her baby

“Getting to have children. Men could have been chosen, but we were.” – Margie

“Being an innate nurturer.” – Shannon

“I like the idea of being romanced by God. [I'm] beautiful the way I am because of Him!” – Cadence

“I can bust a tear and get my way!” – Kelli

“I can be blessed with motherhood.” – Sarah

“Being in touch with my emotions and trusting them enough to share them.” – Braden

“Maybe it’s the shoes…” – Sage

How about you? What do you love about being a woman? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Catherine Smith
Catherine graduated from Western Carolina University with a degree in Education and has experiencing teaching both elementary and high school students. Catherine is passionate about helping women connect with their true purpose and discover their value. As the Community Relations Director, Catherine manages our outreach projects, events, and relationships with other organizations that support women.