I fell in love with Marilyn Monroe early, around the age of 14.
I remember seeing a photo of her – one of the most famous ones – by Milton Greene, w Marilyn sits in a chair in a white tulle skirt, looking both immensely beautiful and totally vulnerable and sad. I felt that picture in a way I couldn’t really describe, and I spent the summer reading every Marilyn book I could get my hands on and watching all of her movies.
I had always known who Marilyn Monroe was, but it turns out that everything I thought I knew about her life up until that point was totally wrong – and that she never said half the things most people think she did.
When you think of Hollywood, you think of Marilyn standing over that subway grate in her iconic dress, her skirt billowing around her perfect body and her beautiful head thrown back in laughter.
Marilyn’s beautiful image makes for perfect social media fodder, and t is no shortage of quotes attributed to the icon.
“If you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best,” says one meme, hot-pink text floating over an image of Marilyn.
“Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.” On and on they go, attributed to Marilyn.
Even if Marilyn did say any of the things she’s quoted as saying, does attributing them to her make them more relevant and powerful? You can believe in what you want – whether that’s laughing off the “Drama” or loving yourself at your worst – simply because that’s what you believe, not what someone wants you to think.
Even those of us who fell in love with Marilyn on the movie screen want her to find that peace, and in order to do that, we have to stop making her a symbol.