Marilyn and the #IBS Myth

I have recently been interested in celebrity and IBS – would someone famous divulge that they have IBS? Would they want to act as an advocate, perhaps? My twitter followers would tell you I do hold a certain amount of disdain for celebrity culture, but I also appreciate the good work a role model can have to support a cause. I am not averse to sidelining my principles to help. Having a role model would be really beneficial as in my view we certainly need some support for this condition. Could any of these people be a real role model to help with promotion of the cause?

There appear to be a number of famous people who clearly have not, or would ever be able to give consent to discuss this very private aspect of their lives. Whilst looking into celebrity and IBS I can across the following article. It appears Marilyn was reported to have had IBS, she was also reported to have been ‘unhygienic’, eating in bed and pushing the remnants of her meal under the bedclothes when she had finished. This was reported to have been disclosed by Clarke Gable (in a biography by David Brett) – who had a cleanliness fetish, she has also been classed as one of the top 15 filthiest people.

So – it was reported by a person who ‘had’ an issue with dirt – is this a good scale to use to measure someone’s cleanliness? Possibly not, but it is a good titbit to sell a publication, however.

It is always reported, after describing her apparent less than desirable cleanliness habits – oh by the way, just so you can know this, alongside her obnoxious habits, she also had ‘a form of IBS.’ I am not sure what ‘a form of IBS’ means as a diagnosis – it either is or it clearly isn’t. Marilyn always held a fascination for me, I am not sure why, perhaps it was her ethereal qualities, the fact that she died young and had a pretty hard life. Her beauty is indisputable, even in the first picture in this post, windswept and ruffled she appears alluring. Yet she was also vulnerable, courting nurturing – one of her reported virtues. She does not deserve to have her memory belittled by gossip about her personal life, the worst of it is she cannot defend herself.

She had a tragic life and fifty years after her death we still are enthralled by her story but we really should apply the Socrates triple filter test to this – do we know this is true? Well, Clarke Gable cannot confirm that he said it, let alone prove that it was in fact true. Is this something good? – the reported slovenliness no, obviously not. She may have been ill at that time, the circumstances are never included in the short internet reports. Do we, therefore, have a right to report this information, assuming it were true? It is a piece of useful information? Well the fact that she had IBS might be an interesting fact that would be useful to inform people IBS can affect anyone, but did she consent to us knowing? However, when reporting someone’s health status to help others it is vital HOW you inform – discussing it whilst also reporting a range of spurious unappealing habits clearly does not shed IBS in a good light. An incorrect association of IBS with unappealing habits may have been made by the report authors, this is damaging to what we want to ultimately achieve and the association is so far wide of the mark – simply false, but in fact, we don’t know if she had IBS at all. We clearly don’t know if what has been said is fact and neither does it pass any of the triple filter test. We cannot ask Marilyn for her consent so we should respect her memory and not gossip about something that we know little real facts about.