You may know these photographs of Marilyn Monroe taken by Bert Stern for Vogue magazine a few weeks before his death one night in August 1962 in Los Angeles.
We see Marilyn “in her pure state” to quote the photographer who exhibited the series twenty years later.
At first she wears a black dress, bare back, platinum hair pulled up by a ribbon, chin in hand and then almost nothing, or just a veil and then two fuchsia roses plastered on her bare chest,
Almost nothing except his half-closed gaze, and that smile that is ecstasy or pure joy.
We also notice, several centimeters long, an incision barely closed on the abdomen, a scar, a wound, that of a recent operation which reminds us that Marilyn is not just an image on film,
That Marilyn is a body,
A body sometimes confiscated, victim of the predation of men and Hollywood, but a body that was also his main ally in his performance to be Marilyn, a body inhabited, alive, vibrant, and not just abused.
This last session does not appear in BLONDE, fantasized biopic of Marilyn based on the novel by Joyce Carol Oates and that can be seen on the platform with the red logo (not to name it),
A film that fetishizes Norma Jeane’s pain to the point of unbearability,
Who was not a mother, who was not a wanted child,
And who was nevertheless the most desired woman in the world.
From Monroe we still prefer to think that she is elsewhere, in this last session where she shows her scars while laughing, and where she had no doubt finally managed to have a body of her own.
Because what would it be, to use the title of the last essay of the philosopher Camille Froidevaux-Metteriewhat would it be like to have ” a body of one’s own “?
It would be the culmination of what Virginia Woolf called “a room of her own” so that a woman could write and reclaim her body,
Because the ultimate bedroom, the one that will be the last for women and for menit is the body.
So, Dear Bodies, if I were writing to you, at a time when in Iran women are hoisting their hair on flags in order to be able to exist publicly as a female body,
It would be to remove you from shame, from “dissociation” in the sense that Virginie Despentes tells us that as a “girl” we are necessarily dissociated,
It would be to disalienate you from the injunctions to devouring motherhood, to compulsory seduction, it would be to make you invisible, to destigmatize you, to relieve you too,
Lift the weight of grief, toil and social violence
This weight that breaks the back of the father of Edouard Louis, a worn-out worker in his short story Who killed my father?
It would be to give them back their lightness, and even their music.
So maybe the best way to love our bodies and take care of them, would be to return them to acting, to the burlesque of Gulietta Masina in Cabiria Nights by Fellini, the trajectory of a prostitute from the suburbs of Rome broken a thousand times and deceived a thousand times, who gets up again and smiles in a final camera gaze that closes the film and restores our vulnerability.
So to our bodies, hello,
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