The biggest shock of Marilyn v. Jackie week came from my quiz results. Like Joce, my Monroe edged out my Jackie by one teeny point. Now I know much of the quiz was speculation (shockingly, nobody’s ever turned to me post-hibbidy-dibbidy and immediately offered marriage and/or lead in a movie…yet…), but I was still surprised. I thought I was a sure-bet Marilyn. Not to say that I’m putting myself on Ms. Monroe’s level; I’m acutely aware that thinking I’m hot shit and being an actual sex symbol are two very different realities, and that being blond and having a big boner for Arthur Miller doesn’t make me famous.
What I did think was that between the previously-determined classifications of “free spirit/bombshell (Marilyn)” or “debutant/caretaker (Jackie),” this was a no-brainer. Jackie’s famed grace and style made her an icon, but that degree of portrait-perfect charm and elegance is not something I have down, and really, it’s not anything I want right now. Poise, perfection, and pearls are totally becoming to those who rock them, and they are also not for me (though I do love me some pearls). Plus we all know what happens when I try to go brunette.
What is for me? Well that “free spirit” bit sounded fun, I’ll take that. “Free spirited” as a label can easily become an excuse for erratic behavior, flakiness to the point of being inconsiderate, and all sorts of failure-to-launch-related-non-activity. But what it means to me is permission to act on the inspirations, ideas, and big gutsy whims that come as they do. And hey, I’m twenty frickin’ three years old; the closest I come to “caretaker” is feeding a cat twice a day, my most firmly-rooted commitment is a part-time job, and I like knowing that I can mold the rest as I so desire. This is the time to be allowed to dance on the proverbial bars of life (thank you and you’re welcome, Joceline.) and hitch up my skirts and hightail it onto the next adventure if I so choose, be it a job/hobby/location/endeavor/whatever. I like having that option, and I don’t think it denotes a lack of seriousness at all. You know what I take seriously? Fun. Joy. Authenticity. Being able to to say yes to all the right-place-right-time, gorgeous, ridiculous opportunities life throws at me. And for me, that requires embracing and enjoying some degree of free-spiritedness.
(This is where I was going to put a picture that somehow captured “free spiritedness” but my google image efforts mostly just yielded pictures of naked women on horseback or Kate Hudson.)
Oh, and then there’s the whole “bombshell” thing. Yeah, I’ll definitely take that. Joce brought up the point that there’s a sort of bi-polar notion that one can only be one or the other. You can’t be good to bring home to Mom and Dad and good in bed. You can’t be serious/smart and bubbly. “You can’t say you’re a feminist and shave your legs and wear lipstick” (which is what someone in a gender studies class once said about me…ughhhh…..). I think this has totally effed up peoples’ ideas about feeling sexy. It’s as though to be/feel sexy, you have to sacrifice some other quality: intellect, perhaps, or ambition, or self-respect. And I tell you now, internet, that that is bogus as shit. I will stand proud in my lacy underpinnings and tell you that I feel super uber sexy a lot. Now, if you stopped Joe Schmoe or Jane Doe on the street and asked “hey, is Emily a sexpot?” I have no earthly idea what they’d say, and frankly I don’t care. Feeling sexy, and maybe more importantly, wanting to feel sexy, to me, is not about other people. It’s about parading around like a big happy idiot as though life is just one big, private Nikka Costa video, and feeling like I can bring it full force to whatever my day brings, whether at work, at lunch with buddies, or behind closed doors (earning more movie leads and marriage proposals, duh).
This onion article goes a bit above and beyond what I’m trying to get at here, but I love it anyway. One, because it’s funny, and two, because it takes a stab at my almost alma-mater. But to a serious and much lesser extent, I agree with it: a woman can and should be able to feel empowered by whatever makes her feel empowered. For someone else, that kind of empowerment might come from knowing they can rock it in court or on a soccer field or in a delivery room or in a studio.
For me, it comes from knowing my bra and undies match.