A lot has been written about these two women, against these two women, and discussed about these two women. Interestingly enough they are two women whose power, or perceived powerlessness at times, comes from the public persona they shared with the world. No one really knows them but we talk of them as we do of family members, someone we could be or avoid becoming. They are a study in light and dark, hair color and again what has been told of their lives. They are women who let the men they chose to be with choose who they were with them. They supposedly share a place in a man's heart and bed....yet we do not know if Marilyn ever actually had an affair with John....most documentation points to Robert.
At different times I think we, as women, are Jackie and Marilyn. I know that when it comes to the reaction people have to their physical types most people prefer, strongly, one of the other. Jackie with her blue blooded upper class background, destined and pushed to marry for even greater things. Jackie with her class and style and that smile that somehow I always found kept the world from really knowing if she was smiling or not at the moment. The Jackie who lived through something so horrific that none of us actually can imagine being in her place in Dallas. The Jackie who was a businesswoman and kept her children ...to be her children for as long as she could...they were not for the world regardless of what the world thought. Then there was the Jackie who married a billionaire, a rough, shady, non-American, older, did I say shady cause I think Ari gets two of those. All of that and for her dark good looks there is always a bright halo, even after Ari, that somehow follows her.
There is Marilyn who changes from Norma Jean ...moves up from poverty....moves into the spotlight. Is admired, caressed with longing, has that incredible breathless voice. She marries and loves over and over again...maybe she is loved by these men or maybe they like the way she looks on their arms. There is Marilyn who dies with the same air of mystery that she lived ...without children...alone and lonely. For all the light that is around her, the peroxide hair, the dresses that shimmy when she walks, the famous white dress blowing on subway grate...there is an air of grey that seems to always be stalking her.
These two women are mythical...for the real ones could never really measure up to what we have made them. I liked Marilyn...there is something about her that make me smile ....that makes me glad to be a woman. There is power in her ability to make those around her think she needs them. There is strength in her to keep getting up when so often the cruelty around her could have kept her down. I admire Jackie for her strength and the way she did not let even the worst fate keep her from being the most she wanted to be. I think we all are bits and pieces of these women and often no part of them at all. I think women are constantly challenging themselves and each other to define who they want to be at different times of their lives. I want to be breathless Marilyn and love with an abandon I do not allow myself and recover from that with the grace of Jackie.