Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe - ShoesandDrama
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Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quote Wasn’t By Marilyn Monroe | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Confession: growing up, I wasn’t a big Marilyn Monroe fan. In a world where everyone seems to be Team Marilyn or Team Audrey, I chose not to emotionally invest in either, deciding instead to collect magnets, wear t-shirts, and buy posters of Bettie Page. She also starred in movies, albeit ones involving softcore bondage.

Anyway, my opinion has since changed, largely in favor of Audrey, but also for Miss Norma Jeane. All it took was a rainy day and a Netflix account with a handful of Marilyn’s films on instant play to win me over. I came to appreciate her coquettish charm, and moreover embrace her witticisms.

Naturally, the vast farm of misinformation that is the internet manufactures a gazillion false quotes attributed to Marilyn. And the madness must stop. Please remember these next time you have the urge to reblog it on Tumblr, tweet it on Twitter, or include it in an Instagram of your caramel ribbon frappucino. | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Exhibit A: “A wise girl kisses but doesn’t love, listens but doesn’t believe, and leaves before she is left.”

I’ve actually seen this quote in a few different forms on a handful of social media outlets. It’s a good place to start, because like many quotes to follow, it’s a quick, snappy line about love that’s completely and utterly unsourced. In these scenarios, there’s the slightest possibility that she may have said that, but there’s nothing out there to confirm she did. | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Exhibit B: “I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.”

Truthfully when I first saw this quote, I loved it so hard. It’s like one of those things you rely on when you feel particularly undateable, right after crying into a tub of cookie dough and watching that Sex and the City episode where Carrie finds out Big’s engaged. It’s an ode to a complicated woman. On a base level, I get that.

But again, there’s absolutely nothing out there that attributes this to Marilyn Monroe, and having seen it mass produced so many times, I’m entirely disenchanted. As far as I know, this was someone’s sassy OkCupid bio from 5 years ago and now it’s just spread across the internet like wildfire. | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Exhibit C: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be
absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Another favorite quote that sounds witty for a moment before you realize it’s just a weird string of contradictions with no source. Beyond that, Marilyn was noted for being a perfectionist; she agonized over applying her makeup impeccably and she would re-do every take until she felt it was up to her standards, so it’s not only nonsensical, it’s completely out of character. | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Exhibit D: “Give a girl the right shoes and she will conquer the world.”

This one’s a little tricky. Most likely, it’s a weird re-working of a 1985 Bette Midler quote, which goes, “Give a girl the correct footwear and she can conquer the world.” But even the original source for that is really hard to find. It turns up as the lead in a blurb for The Strait Times, but I don’t even know the context for the original publication it turned up in (allegedly, the Houston Chronicle). It’s quite enigmatic.

It’s also really big on Etsy. | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Exhibit E: “Well behaved women seldom make history.”

This one is a legitimate quote…by someone who is not Marilyn. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, a historian and Harvard professor, used this line in a paper on Puritan funeral practices (how that line exploded into modern culture I can’t even imagine). In 2007 she even published a book with the same name. I wonder if she knows that Marilyn’s image has been co-opting this quote for years, because if I were her I would be miffed. | Marilyn Monroe's Best Quote Wasn't By Marilyn Monroe

Exhibit F:  Oh my god, it’s “No, I am your father,” why doesn’t anyone get it right?!

You get the point.

In all seriousness, during my search I came across an interesting response to a journalist about whether she had writers prepare material for her interviews. In this 1956 article from the Saturday Evening Post, Marilyn vehemently asserted that she refused to sign her name to that kind of falseness. In her own words: “This is wrong, because when I was a little girl I read signed stories in fan magazines and I believed every word of them. Then I tried to model my life after the lives of the stars I read about. If I’m going to have that kind of influence, I want to be sure it’s because of something I’ve actually said or written.”

I still don’t 100% get the Marilyn Monroe thing, but I can admire that she was a glamorous, titantic force, with undeniable charisma and a slew of memorable lines. She used her power to support the civil rights movement, which was huge at the time. She fiercely stuck to her brand, even while it probably ate away at her soul. And I think it’s only fair that we pause before trying to attach that brand to something she probably never said, especially knowing how her icon status makes her a huge role model for so many people.

Bold statement from someone who just photoshopped Monroe with M.I.A. lyrics, but take it with a grain of salt. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to Netflix How to Marry a Millionaire.

Photos by Getty Images