Saturday was June 1st and marked what should have been Marilyn Monroe’s 87th birthday. Born Norma Jean Baker; Monroe was raised by her single mother, Gladys Baker. The truth about who exactly Monroe’s father was has always been in question; but, most agree her father was Charles Stanley Gifford who was a descendent of John Alden and Pricilla Mullins from the Mayflower. I am also a descendent and therefore we are distant cousins, in a way. This is funny because I work with someone who is also a distant cousin of her on her mother’s side; it is a small world.
When I traced my heritage back I was surprised to find among the simple New England farmers there were great people in my genes. Marilyn Monroe was one of the names on the list. I decided to study a little bit about her and one of the surprising things most do not realize is she was bigger than most think she was. She was 5’5 and wore a size 12. However, a 50’s size 12 is now our size 10/8. Why? Because women are getting larger and do not want to buy the size they fit into and the clothes makers sell the lie that these overweight women can fit in a smaller size. This technique though flattering is a problem. For one it is hard for smaller sized woman to find their true size. As sizes of clothes get marked down size by size true smaller sizes are harder to find.
My sister is a smaller sized woman and she has to special order her clothes because most of the clothes off the rack do not fit on her. I know I vary between a size 8-10 and I am alright with this fact because I have larger hipbones that give me an hourglass shape. I love my shape and size and I do not base my self-esteem on a number in my pants. When I went to a thrift store in town one day I slipped my large hips into a pair of pants that were labeled size 6. This did not make me happy because I knew it was a lie. This lie may not hurt me today; but, if this trend of changing the numbers on larger pants to please larger sized women they would be casting out many women who have smaller frames. It is sad to see grown women having to shop in the children section or having to order expensive custom clothing because other people cannot come to terms about their size and shape.
During the same time Marilyn was slipping on her size 12 dresses many starlets, such as Judy Garland, were taking drugs to make their figure smaller. Against popular belief the drugs that caused Marilyn’s death were not for weight loss; but, were barbiturate due to her mental issues. The overdose could have been an accident; but, some believe she committed suicide since she was on the medication for a long time. Either way it is a lesson that just because you are pretty doesn’t mean you are a happy person.