A History of “It” Girls: The ’50s

'Some Like It Hot'

‘Some Like It Hot’

In the 1950s, Marilyn Monroe was a veritable explosion of “It.” Her sex appeal was so extreme that she had to be cast in broad comedies to keep her “It” in the realm of fantasy. Did Monroe have confidence? Yes, for brief flashes, especially when she sang, but she went even further than Hayworth with the feeling that she wasn’t at all in control of her own movies. She died early, as Jean Harlow did, while Clara Bow quietly outlived both Harlow and Marilyn; the original “It” girl was kept away from the public eye due to mental health issues until her death in 1965. Bow, Harlow, Hayworth and Monroe prove that our early love goddesses and “It” girls were rarely happy off-screen, which says something about the vulnerable, guilty position they were in as sexual symbols of pleasure.

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