So I was putzing around on the web the other day, and stumbled upon this Snopes article about Marilyn Monroe. I know that I, over time, have constantly used the “Marilyn Monroe was a size 16!” argument to keep people from saying that size was a measure for beauty. I’ve pulled it out frequently lately, and would like to take it all back.
According to Snopes, Marilyn wasn’t actually a size 16! The article linked above was written as a response to Elizabeth Hurley saying that she would “rather kill [herself]” than be as fat as Marilyn Monroe. I had found that quote in some research I was doing to jump-start my poetry project, and it made me fume. Marilyn is a sex symbol! There’s nothing wrong with her size!
But here’s the truth from Snopes: the “Marilyn’s a size 16″ rumor came from an article printed that one of her dresses, which had been auctioned off, had a tag saying it was a British size 16. First of all, that would translate in modern days to an American size 12. Second of all, in the 1950s, that size would be equivalent to a modern day size much smaller than 16. Add in the recorded weight and height of Marilyn (115-140lbs, and 5’5”), she wouldn’t even be CLOSE to plus size. She’s right in the middle of a healthy BMI (at 23.3) even at her largest.
Snopes finishes by saying that Marilyn and Elizabeth Hurley would probably be nearly the same size. Which make me want to say to Hurley, whoops, better kill yourself now. You’re as fat as a beautiful, skinny, sex symbol. That must really suck for you.
Originally, I mourned the loss of being able to call this beautiful woman plus size. But after thinking about it, I realized it’s a little more important to show women that Marilyn was HEALTHY and a NORMAL SIZE. She was not fat. She was not even close. So we shouldn’t let this rumor that she was a size 16 spread because it will give women a twisted view of what IS plus size.
So spread the word. That’s why I’m writing this post. Even though some of you reading may have already found it.