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Fifth Avenue 5 AM Asserts That Audrey Hepburn Paved the Way For Fabulous Single Women

The Real Female Dichotomy: Marilyn vs. Audrey

Before Sex and the City, we had Holly Golightly, the fabulous single lady portrayed by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's. In the upcoming book Fifth Avenue 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and the Dawn of the Modern Woman, author Sam Wasson argues that Hepburn's portrayal was one of the first to glamorize the single, city-dwelling woman.

In the 1958 book on which the movie was based, Truman Capote made Golightly a racy call girl, a far more controversial character who was tamed for the big screen. In the latest issue of New York magazine, Wasson says the casting of Audrey Hepburn made Golightly a more aspirational figure:

"Before Hepburn, there was the prude and the slut, and the reality of in-between had no cinematic correlation. If Monroe had played her, she would have just been a hooker. That was when I got the power of the movie, and the genius of casting Audrey Hepburn."

In a much-discussed season two episode of Mad Men, the creative types at Sterling Cooper argue that all women fall into two camps: the Jackie or the Marilyn, the Madonna and the whore. But being a "Jackie" also means being a mom, so for single women, perhaps the Marilyn vs. Audrey dichotomy is more accurate. What do you think?

Join The Conversation
lilegwene lilegwene 7 years
Audrey was also a mother.
Frenched Frenched 7 years
Yes, I agree that you can't place women in two categories but this is exactly what this article talks about. Before Audrey, female portrayals used to be quite black or white (Madonna versus the whore) but the casting of Audrey set a happy-medium.
chloe-bella chloe-bella 7 years
I agree that it's ridiculous to compartimentalize all women into one of two categories, though it's been done in art and liturature for centuries now. I also agree with Sundown, in that I don't understand what Jackie's being a mother has to do with anything. I think what they were getting at on Mad Men is that Jackie was attractive in a cute yet classy, "all-American girl" way, whereas Marilyn's attractiveness was based more on being overtly sexual. Also, they called Joan the "Marilyn" and Jane the "Jackie," and Jane was a 21 year old single girl - NOT a mom!
Yesi-Jukebox Yesi-Jukebox 7 years
Why do people always want to make things one or the other? Just black or white. I don't agree at all!
Sundown321 Sundown321 7 years
When I think of Jackie "mother" is not the first, second, or even fifth thing that comes to mind. I think that was a good choice! Of course I like the Audrey or Marilyn choice too!
Janine22 Janine22 7 years
I think that it is ridiculous and unfair to try to place women, single or not, into only two categories!!
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