We consider the 1950s a time when women had less options. But in today's New York Times, Maureen Dowd says that women had more freedom to be both smart and sexy. Marilyn Monroe, whose unseen diaries and poems have just been released, offers evidence that it was chic to amass a library of classic works, pursue poetry, and pall around with intellectuals. Dowd compares that reality to today:
At least, unlike Paris Hilton and her ilk, the Dumb Blonde of '50s cinema had a firm grasp on one thing: It was cool to be smart. She aspired to read good books and be friends with intellectuals, even going so far as to marry one. But now another famous beauty with glowing skin and a powerful current, Sarah Palin, has made ignorance fashionable.
Today, Dowd laments, not even our national leaders aim to appear intellectual. Sarah Palin makes up new words on Twitter, and starlets don't hang out with playwrights. Trying to think of female icons who incorporate intellectual elements into their public personas, I come up with Tina Fey, the "thinking man's sex symbol." When I think of celebrities who make shopping or partying look cool, a lot more examples come to mind. Do you have hope that intellectuals will become glamorous again?