– Cultural Icons Essay, Research Paper
Madonna & Marilyn Monroe – Cultural Icons
Throughout many years of the post-modern era, society has drawn special attention to women who have made an art of keeping the publics’ eye. Two key figures in the movement of women’s roles and expectations include the controversial, yet undoubtedly successful Marilyn Monroe and Madonna Ciccone, popularly known as “Madonna”.
While each woman made her own distinctive mark in her generation, the stigma that seemed to both glorify and shun each woman are very much alike.
Both women attracted many types of audiences, not only the ones who appreciated the new, more liberal style of their entertainment, but also the ones who felt obligated to publicly make a stand against it.
Marilyn Monroe tested the boundaries of her generation repeatedly. It is quite possible that the very image that caused severe controversy during her time is the singular most vivid image that glorifies her in today’s culture. That of course, is the flirtatious portrait of Marilyn candidly pushing her skirt down above her knee, which can be found in just about any 50’s style diner, or pictured with any book or article written about the star, or even in flea markets, brightly framed and displayed to draw the public’s eye.
Madonna, similarly, tests today’s moral boundaries. Throughout much of the 80’s and 90’s, she topped the charts with songs and videos that depicted aspects of society, which were still under, mainstream cultural turmoil. She was, at one time, considered on the lower side of the cultural scale because of her erotic videos, which included controversial issues such as homosexuality. Like Monroe, this exposure is also the bridge that led her to her reign as a modern day social icon.
It is no doubt that some controversy will remain intact regardless of the changing times which surround each of these icons. Using the significant amount of change that has modernized Monroe’s image however, it is safe to assume that eventually the image that Madonna has encompassed will be more widely accepted in the future.
One factor remains unchallenged by the controversy associated with either of these key figures in both today’s and yesterday’s generation. Each woman has disrupted the norm enough to provide herself with sufficient exposure to create a name, an image, and a sort of “purpose” in her career and in her life in general. By subjecting their audiences to a more liberated sort of culture, they have played a vital role in making changes and progressions that have led society to the place where it is today. By doing this, each woman also has paved roads to ease the transition of one generation into the next.