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Being an actress during the Golden Age of Hollywood was not as glamorous or ideal as it seems when taking these women’s lives at face value. Sexual harassment, underpay, and overwork were the norm. Many started out in the chorus and worked their way to stardom. Some only reached that elusive fame after dozens of films, hundreds of failures. Many had to overcome the hardship and heartache of broken homes, war-torn countries, or extreme poverty to become the beautiful faces onscreen that millions came to adore and idolize.

Some survived the Hollywood game, while others were used, abused, and thrown out. Some led happy lives, others didn’t. But the legacy they left on the screen has had and will continue to have an impact on the masses long after they are no longer present among us. These women created new worlds through the medium of film - their movies have provided a much desired escape for generations upon generations.

They make us smile when all we want to do is cry, they give us new perspectives on life, they inspire us to dream bigger, try harder, make a difference.

I am sad to see so many great actresses relatively forgotten, but what makes me sick is the way that so many of them are remembered: Marilyn as a slut, Katharine a bitch, Joan a monster, Audrey just a pretty face—many of these women defined by a single attribute (true or false) or single moment (real or fabricated) of their lives. None of them was perfect, everyone knows that. None of them was perfect because all of them were human. It takes a lot to be a star, yet all of them handled stardom, with all of its ups and all of its downs, with far more grace than the average human being. There’s already so much hate in this world, and I may just be speaking for myself, but these ladies have done nothing except make my life a happier existence. I love them, and I think they should, at the very least, be given the respect they deserve. Because they do deserve it. And then some.

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