Norma Jean Baker transformed into Marilyn Monroe and became an American sex symbol in the 1950s and 60s , starring in films like “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and ”Some Like It Hot”. She was also known for having affairs with high-profile men, such as John F. and Robert Kennedy, Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. Two of her affairs ended up in marriage: baseball player Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller. As the 50th Anniversary of Monroe’s death approaches on August 5, a new book entitled Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox by Lois Banner is investigating Marilyn Monroe’s sexuality and alleging that she might have been struggling with her sexual orientation.
Banner writes the following:
“She had affairs with many eminent men …Yet she desired women, had affairs with them, and worried that she might be lesbian by nature.
How could she be the world’s heterosexual sex goddess and desire women? How could she have the world’s most perfect body on the outside and have such internal imperfections? Why was she unable to bear a child? The adult Marilyn was haunted by these questions.”
According to the Huffington Post, Banner is not the first to argue that Monroe has dabbled in lesbian action. ”The Seven Year Itch” star is believed to have admitted to sexual rendezvous with Joan Crawford and Marlene Dietrich, as well acting coach Paula Strasberg.
The book also argues Monroe had the makings of an early feminist:
“She certainly took actions that could be called feminist. Her entire life was a process of self-formation. She was a genius at self-creation and made herself into an actress and a star. She formed her own production company, she fought the moguls to a standstill, and she publicly named the sexual abuse visited on her as a child: a major –- and unacknowledged –- feminist act.”
An extract of Marilyn: The Passion and the Paradox can be found at The Guardian.