This past week, I discovered that I could access newspaper and magazine archives through my college library account. Cue fangirl using it for Total Scholarly Research. In said searchings, I downloaded a few articles from Loretta’s working years, from the 30’s and on up to one from 1960. In many of them, the authors couldn’t seem to resist throwing in the title of “steel butterfly,” a nickname given to Loretta by what we’ll call an unknown entity. It was attributed to three different men and “anonymous male,” so we’ll leave it up in the air.
The thing is, it’s supposed to be a crack. The articles which refer it are using it as a veiled insult, too. Now, there’s another lady that I ever so rarely speak of on the blog, Jeanette MacDonald (I’ll pause here for you to laugh at the rarity of my mentions of her), who had a similar nickname, the “iron butterfly.” When I was but a wee thing of 15, I thought that was just the coolest nickname anyone could have. Honestly, I still do, and we’ll get to that. What other fans would remind me of, however, was that it was not an honor, by any means. It was an insult to her character.
Shall we flex our abilities in using Miss Sally Style Analysis? 🙂 Steel Butterfly, Iron Butterfly- either way, a couple of Nameless Dude Fellows decided that these names fit Loretta and Jeanette. Loretta, from a very young age, knew exactly what she wanted, from the movie business. She was going to be a movie star. As all beginners must do, she had to wade through some real stinkers to get to gold, but once she got to the point that she could turn offers down, she never had a problem doing so. Sally even once said that Loretta turned down roles that she would have died to have. Loretta had power. People looked at that face and probably thought, “Oh, this is nothing. I’ll make her cry and she’ll do what I say.” Same with Jeanette. The overall male dominated Hollywood saw pretty faces and thought they had control. When they learned otherwise, they had to invent a reason why these two were not easily manipulated.
Enter a crack, some snark, and pretend like there’s something wrong with them. Oh, she didn’t cower to a command? Well, her face is pretty enough, but she’s got a suit of armor thicker than the Earth’s crust. Don’t get close to that chick, she’ll probably punch your mom. They were just robots. And robots are scary, yo. No feelings, no understanding of How Things Work. Anomalies in the female condition.
So as I sit here, all enjoying my 2015, for the most part, having my say in my own life, not being married off to some dude who I will cook (badly) for, pursuing my career in a male dominated accounting profession, I’m thinking, “If not being easily controlled is a bad thing, bleep bloop I’m a robot butterfly.”
Loretta Young, you wear that Steel Butterfly name, and you work it. Oh, that’s right, you DID. As for those three dudes and “anonymous male?” Well, this page certainly won’t be added to the results of a google search for them. If anyone actually searches for them. Because I’m pretty sure no one does.
Until next week,
xoxo Robot Butterfly