Mona Marshall plays Shelia Broflovski, Kyle’s mother, on Comedy Central’s South Park. She is currently working on her new web comic The Adventures of Puss N’ Dick: A Survivor’s Guide to Relationships. With this new web comic, Mona speaks about life before the American Sexual Revolution.
ATM: The Greek Mythology characters were more expressive with their sexuality. Some took on more opposite traits of what was expected of their gender. They seemed more comfortable with their body and sexuality. They were very close to nature.
MM: We do not live close to nature anymore. I am not trying to suggest anything is right or wrong. I am trying to say the more we can understand each other, then the more harmony there is and the better off we are. We are all experiencing this human condition whether you are living here or in India or China. This is why art and music are important because you can enjoy art and music. You do not need to know the language. You do not need to know the background of this, all you have to do is be present and experience it. Not to say it is ritually that we know the background because it is. You can experience the piece of artwork and just enjoy the artwork at this moment. You experience the music at this moment and just allow your heart and soul to be filled by the music.
ATM: Gender studies started during the 80s leading into the 90s, so how did people during your time of the 60 and 70s perceive gender and sexuality?
MM: I was lucky in this. Once the pill happened things changed. When I was a little girl someone had written “Fuck you” on the wall somewhere. I had no idea what this was at nine or ten. Kids today know what this word means. I went home to ask my mother and she said “Oh, honey come here. I want to explain something to you.” She explained to me the truth about sexual intercourse. I thought back during these days as an eight or nine-year-old “Oh, my gosh. Who would want to do this? This was awful.” She said something to me that was extremely wise.
“When two people love one another, it is a beautiful thing to do.” I have only known two men in my life. I married both, but not at the same time. My sexuality and expressing it has always been safe. It has always been surrounded by love. Not to say this is the only way to get this experience. I will say when you have feelings behind your sexuality it becomes even greater. It is a wonderful gift we have been given. Sometimes we spend it in a way that is detrimental to our health. When people use it as manipulation or as a weapon to gain favor. So much of our actions have to do with our emotions. We are highly sensitive about how women are talked to by men. My husband is one of those men if he sees someone who has a great smile either male or female, he will compliment them.
Today with everyone being a little paranoid about how you talk to people this could be very taboo. Sexuality is one of the greatest gifts we have. With this gift I want to use it wisely. I do not want to use it frivolously. I want it to be a part of something that is meaningful. This was the good part of these more innocent things. They are both valid. Some of my women friends’ love screwing around and have a lot of fun. However, there are some who got damaged. Once again it is what is it that you want. Most women because we are wired differently, I am talking about straight men and women. Most women want to be loved.
Men are wired differently. They need to “get off” sort of speak. The greatest combination is when men have sensitivity. This is why it is a great idea when a girl is drunk and a real guy in my opinion who is a gentleman is not going to take advantage of this situation. This is just an idea that I have and this to me is about being civil. Women have a responsibility not to tease and tease a guy. “Yeah, he wants it.” She manipulates him by saying no. This will be an episode we will deal with. We are given gifts. It is in our best interest not to squander them. These gifts could be intellect and friendship. If your motivation is to be a good friend, then this sometimes means letting people find their way.
ATM: There is a sense of art when a person uses their sexuality to the fullest.
MM: What does this mean? To the fullest to me means it is a relationship of the mind, body, and spirit. It is connected to deep spirituality. I have been blessed. These are the words my mother told me. I did not have her for very long. She was a working mom. She worked from the time she was 13 ½ years old until the day she died. This was a great gift she gave me. No one knew the sexual revolution was going to happen a couple of years later. Because of this, I have not had any sexual hang-ups. When you grow up a heavy child, an obese child, and have dealt with your weight and body issues your whole life, having the feeling that this is a safe place being with this man and he loves you is an incredible gift. I feel like I have been blessed twice.
ATM: How did losing weight influence the ways you connected with love?
MM: In a way, it was the universe protecting me. We all have challenges in our life. I never used to know this, but pretty people have challenges too. A lot of very attractive people are never called upon to using anything but their attractiveness. I found this out from a model a long time ago. She was approaching 30 and she was gorgeous. She was concerned about her looks. We all age even if we do not take care of ourselves. It was said that her value was based on her looks. A lot of times people think very attractive people do not have any problems and why do they have to know this. The bottom line is the gifts we must develop.
This means our brains, bodies, our ability to be passionate, and care about other people. We all have stuff. I have friends that grew up with a lot of abuse. They have worked through this and have done things despite this. This is adding a resonation to people that we can be uplifting. “I do not want to say I was a bad kid, so I missed a lot of opportunities.” Even with the obesity, I still was a part of the school drama, worked behind the scenes, and in the choir. Sometimes the things that look like they are negative force us to be positive. We make the most of what we have. I would not have found what I have in life if I did not go through some of the trials in life.
ATM: While you were going through the trials you did not know it would be used in the future. You needed this knowledge to get through what you had to go through in the future.
MM: Exactly. You do not know this as a kid. I had some good mentors as teachers. I have been blessed even though my first husband had a lot of troubles. I think I married my father not realizing this until well into the marriage. I learned a lot in this marriage. All joking aside, I felt loved in this relationship. There came a point where I got tired of taking care of him. It became enabling. He was not willing to change, and I wanted to change. I had to let go of the marriage. I knew enough about being a good and loving wife because of this I was in the position to meet the man I am married to now. You never know fate. The episode that I am using for the pitch has a lot to do with fate.
As humankind, this is what it is, honey. It is a big classroom and we are learning every time if we are willing. Our lives get bigger and have more joy in them when our hearts open. As long as we are prejudice against things, we do not know our lives get very small. I am not talking about the ability to travel in the world. I am talking about the ability to travel the emotional world. Look around and you see it all the time
ATM: Why did you decide not to take care of your previous husband?
MM: When I said take care, I did not mean anything about cooking. I love to cook. Two people need to take care of each other. I was not tired of being a wife, but tired of the fact I was working two jobs struggling and taking care of stuff at home. He was still after 10 years of marriage trying to find himself. When I said I thought I married my father, I am pretty sure I married someone who was undiagnosed with bipolar. It is interesting in our family that my father was bipolar. My mother was very artistic. I got the artistic gene. My sister, her children, and her grandchildren got the bipolar gene. Back in my day and even when I was first married to my husband Dennis, you could never diagnose someone as bipolar.
They never thought about it. You would just have these terrible depressions and then become manic. After a while if someone refuses to get help, you have a decision accepting it is never going to change and you have to move on. He had found someone else and was living with her in months’ time.