So many of us know this quote: “Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.” So many of us also know that Marilyn Monroe is the one who said it. Sadly, so many people, even today, don’t think of Marilyn Monroe as the depressed, talented, intelligent feminist she was. Instead, they still insist that she is, and I quote, “a whore.” One YouTuber (who I will not link to as he is completely degrading) insisted that Marilyn Monroe is “a role model for the modern day whore.”
First, let’s take a look at the word, “whore.” To this day, there are many words that are freely used to immediately demean a woman and her supposed sexual indiscretions: “whore,” “slut,” “floozy,” “trollop,” “tramp,” “and the slang “hoe.” For men there is … “gigolo.” That’s it. And let’s be honest, when is the last time you heard anyone use the term, “gigolo”?
Of course, some would argue that there is the term “man-whore,” but that only adds to the problem, because unless you put the term “man” in front of the “whore,” it is automatically assumed that you are referring to a woman. Giving a girl the “right shoes,” for some, can be seen as some “whore” begging for attention and to be dissed by all others.
What are the right shoes?
Marilyn Monroe pictures and quotes can be seen almost anywhere, and too many people find that problematic. Marilyn was clearly used by Hollywood as a sex symbol, and so many focus on that. She had the right shoes, but was criticized for using them. There are rumors of numerous affairs, some true, and many not. As a sex symbol, Marilyn was an easy target for men, or furious wives, to nail their problems to. But claiming that a bold, intelligent woman who went through much distress in both her younger and older years and challenged misogyny was nothing more than a “whore” is ridiculous.
This would indicate, in fact, that any woman like myself who has had more than one partner outside of whatever bounds local culture has deemed inappropriate has nothing to offer besides our perceived filth. My right shoes are not good enough for far too many people.
This isn’t to say that only men perpetuate such demeaning. Women are often heard calling other women sluts and whores, turning on each other so easily because such attitudes are not only supported but applauded. Anyone disagreeing is, apparently, a “modern-day whore.” As this article points out, “Something is causing women to hate each other, to feel jealous of each other and to tear each other down. Something is teaching women to use the language and weapons of patriarchy against each other.”
Words from the modern day whore
Marilyn Monroe is admired still, not just for her beauty, but for her wisdom that too many dismiss. She worked in one of the hardest industries, challenged gender and sexual roles, and was not afraid to be herself.
There are so many of us who are working to do just that.
Give a girl the right shoes to help her walk away from the insults, the preconceived notions of her purity and correlating worth. Give a girl the right shoes and she can move into her aspirations and success. Not a whore, not a slut, just a person who wishes to make the most of themselves.
Someone who can walk in any damn shoes she pleases without owing anyone an explanation.