The Editors Debate: Marilyn Monroe vs Audrey Hepburn

Jennifer: So, we are debating whether we prefer Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe. This seems relevant to Hunger Games week as I think they represent two different, very desirable body types, and, to some extent, the characteristics associated with those body types. Marilyn is the ultimate hourglass figure, while Audrey is super slim, partly because she suffered from severe malnutrition in her youth. I think we associate Marilyn with warmth, sexuality and honestly, being just a bit dumb or, umm, soft hearted? Childlike?
While Audrey is seen as elegant, poised, sophisticated. I will be arguing in favor of Audrey, you in favor of Marilyn.

Ashley: You really laid that out.

Jennifer: Now, initially, I was a little sad when you screamed “dibs on marilyn” because Audrey Hepburn–through no fault of her own!–always reminds me of a little monkey wearing a black dress. But then I thought about all the great things monkeys can do. Like, I believe they can fashion crude tools and make fire? No, they can’t make fire, can they?

Ashley: I did not scream “dibs on Marilyn.” I try never to raise my voice. I said “I will argue in favor of Marilyn” at an exceptionally civilized volume because you know I’m not really an Audrey fan. And that I dislike Breakfast at Tiffany’s. And of course monkeys can make fire. But that’s not enough to support them.

Jennifer: I don’t understand why you always have to be so down on monkeys. If a monkey had a cigarette holder it would be funny, right? In a 1910s silent movie sort of way? Actually hell, in an ANY ERA silent movie way.

Ashley: I prefer apes. I’m a huge supporter of opposable thumbs, while I distrust prehensile tails. Tangentially, someday I wish to look a bonobo in the eye and say, “Am I you? Are you me?” and then we’d gaze upon each other, probingly, with much intellectual yearning as we spanned the depths of time and nothing would be solved. Furthermore, yes, monkey with a cigarette holder would be great.

Jennifer: There are so many pictures of monkeys with cigarettes. It’s so funny.

Ashley: Oh my god really??? Like, on Google?

Jennifer: Google “monkey with cigarette”

[Some time later]

Jennifer: OH MY GOD NO! The 4th picture is where that woman had her face torn off! DON’T DO IT! Don’t Google “monkey with cigarette”!

Ashley: I did it. It as horrible. Luckily I have the attention span of a monkey with a cigarette, so after like 4 seconds, I started Googling “monkey with guitar.”

Jennifer: Is it great?

Ashley: Obviously.

Jennifer: Wait, I’m googling “monkey dressed up as Audrey Hepburn.” Oh.

Ashley: Anything?

Jennifer: It’s just pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt.

Ashley: Oh, wait, though, these photos of Audrey Hepburn petting a monkey are so charming!!

Jennifer: I like her more! Okay, I am now proud to argue her sde. You can’t argue that Marilyn’s movies are more enjoyable right? With the possible exception of The Prince and the Showgirl, obviously?

Ashley: Wait. I just tried googling “Marilyn Monroe petting stuff” to see what kind of animals she liked, but Google autocorrected it to “Marilyn Monroe biting stuff.” This is weird.

Jennifer: And even then, if you’re pitting that against Love in the Afternoon, that’s tough. Oh, wait. That’s actually a good story: Marilyn had a pet cow, but she wanted to move it into the house because she didn’t like it getting rained on. And in the Truman Capote story, A Beautiful Child, she runs up to a strange dog and starts petting it. And the owner says “you shouldn’t pet strange dogs, miss, you might get bit.” And Marilyn replies “dogs never hurt me, only people.” Which is really sad.

Ashley: Dude. You do realize you just argued in favor of Marilyn like really, really hard right? I mean, not because of thedevastating poeticism in her statement, but because she had a pet cow and didn’t want it to get rained on.

Jennifer: Oh, the part I love most in Truman Capote’s essays about her is when Marilyn always wants to know what famous people are really like and Truman tells her about them in his negative Truman Capote way and Marilyn is always like “No, no, it must be so nice to have Katherine Hepburn as a friend and just call her up, and talk about things.” And finally, at the end, she asks Truman what he’d say if people asked him what Marilyn Monroe was really like and she says “I bet you’d tell them I was just a slob, wouldn’t you? Just a fat old slob.” And Truman says “I would say that you are a beautiful child.”

Ashley: Wow, that’s really sad.

Jennifer: I know.

Ashley: I just remembered Audrey Hepburn had a pet deer.

Jennifer: WHATEVER

Ashley: Wait, though, I’m arguing Marilyn.


Ashley: Okay. I think the only thing that matters here is this: Some Like It Hot > All Audrey Hepburn movies

Jennifer: Never seen it. I’ve seen all the other ones.

Ashley: GASP

Jennifer: Isn’t that her sell-out movie or some such? What about The Misfits? Isn’t that the quintessential Marilyn movie?

Ashley: Yeah. I heard a story about how when Marilyn was filming The Misfits, she stayed in her trailer all day long and fostered on-set rumors that she was doing drugs. But really she just didn’t want to film in the middle of the day because she was self-conscious about aging and thought the broad daylight would make her look old. Also, The Misfits is the source of The Misfits’ (the band) name, and they’re the best. So, there’s also just an intense bias here. …MONKEYFACE.

Jennifer: God, every single story about Marilyn makes you feel for her.

me: Yeah. That still doesn’t make everything single thing Lindsay Lohan does okay.

Jennifer: Where are those stories about Audrey? Maybe that’s the problem for me. Audrey really represents everything I admire in a woman: she’s poised and polished and intelligent and beautifully dressed and I know many people do love her. But I kind of am never able to find the creamy vulnerable center under that beautiful faberge eggshell. I mean, yeah, she fought the Nazis. But she FOUGHT THE NAZIS. And she was like 12 right? I mean, that’s awesome. And then she went out and helped starving children?

Ashley: She really is like a robot version of a perfect woman.

Jennifer: Yes! Yes, that’s exactly my problem. Even her quirks are charming. Like she would drink two fingers of whiskey a day. Frank Sinatra loved her and called her “Princess.” Audrey is just so perfect and appealing pretty much across the board and Marilyn is just so fucked up, but in a way where you feel like you could help her, right? But in reality, I’d totally rather hang out being an awesome robot with Audrey. Frank could call her “princess,” I’d call her “my little monkeyface.”

Ashley: I’m betting Frank Sinatra called a lot of pretty women “Princess”…

Jennifer: No.

Ashley: Okay. Marilyn was a mess with good comedic timing who exclusively dated ubermenschs and whose body made physics feel embarrassed. That’s pretty cool, Monkeyface.

Jennifer: Are you calling me Monkeyface now? As a new little pet name?

Ashley: Mon petit Monkeyface!

Jennifer: Because I have delightfully high cheekbones?

Ashley: …Yes. That’s… why.

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    • Shannon

      So this is annoying

      • lizards first rule

        @Shannon: comments like this are the most annoying, though.

    • Eileen

      You know what I think is interesting? Some woman who apparently had too much time on her hands studied the proportions of Marilyn Monroe’s and Audrey Hepburn’s bodies and discovered that their hip-to-waist ratios were exactly the same. They had the same devastatingly curvy bodies – Audrey’s was just smaller.

    • Dove

      I’m actually extremely entertained by this debate. I read it aloud to my husband and his young brother and they were cracking up. And googling monkeys with cigarettes.

      I vote for more of these debates, or at least just post a transcript of a random 10 minute chat.

      • Dove

        *younger, not young. He’s 23. So I guess young still applies. Whatever.

    • Lindsey

      No. Audrey. Always Audrey.

      • Lindsey

        I mean… the argument for Monroe is that she’s sad and childlike and misunderstood while Hepburn is GREAT and charming and giving, and therefore not as likable. This is… illogical.

    • MsBorgia

      I totally googled “monkey with cigarette”.

    • Monique Hernandez

      Talented, classy, beautiful, humanitarian, JFK’s favorite actress (yep, many don’t know that)…Audrey Hepburn! Without a doubt, the best ever. There will never, ever, ever be another like her!

    • Matt

      You call this a debate? This is one of the stupidest debates I’ve ever heard. You spent most of the “debate” talking about useless nonsense like Audrey owning a pet deer? You didn’t even seem to know who you were arguing for, let alone actually care about either of the actresses. I came on here expecting to find an interesting and intelligent debate but instead I find a couple of teenage girls acting childish. How about actually discussing what is good about each actress and what makes each unique? You had a tiny bit of that but nothing that qualifies as a “debate.”

      ” She’s poised and polished and intelligent and beautifully dressed and I know many people do love her. But I kind of am never able to find the creamy vulnerable center under that beautiful faberge eggshell.”

      Really? Ever seen Roman Holiday? Love in the Afternoon? Funny Face? The Nun’s Story? My Fair Lady? Wait Until Dark? There is a lot more to Audrey than being “poised” and “well-dressed,” and if you had seen any of those movies you would EASILY be able to see her “creamy vulnerable” side, because she plays an innocent and vulnerable character in nearly all her movies (Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a notable exception, and I’m not a big fan of that movie). Most people only associate her with Breakfast at Tiffany’s and assume she acts the same in every other movie. This is not the truth. So make sure you’ve actually seen some movies with these actresses before you try to debate who is better.

      • Ashley Cardiff

        You are right! We are truly terrible.

      • tenaciousc78

        Yes Matt, I agree totally! I was hoping for intelligent talking points, but instead got silly banter.
        A fact about Audrey most people overlook is that all her life all she ever wanted was to be a mother, hence the dear and dogs and she had several miscarriages which completely crushed her, even took a brief break from acting. How’s that for vulnerable?

    • Noelle

      Matt is obviously so upset at seeing the picture of the Chimp Lady and her horribly mangled face upon googling “monkey with cigarette” that he is taking it out on you two gals. I find there can be no other reason for someone to be so humorless. Although to be honest, that image can really suck the humor out of anyone.

    • Tenaciousc78

      Audrey wasn’t impervious, she was awkward, just like a quirky teenage girl, but with style. That makes her both lovable and vulnerable. Yes you call it a “Monkey Face”, but I call it unique. That’s why she was perfect cast for Funny Face! She had body issues just like many young ladies and perhaps more so, because she was in the lime light. She had a lovely voice, but instead of using hers for the movie “My Fair Lady”, They dubbed in Julie Andrews. She handled it all with class, but that doesn’t mean she didn’t spend many a night crying herself to sleep.

    • Mia Violette

      I’m sorry but this was the most ridiculous “debate” I have ever seen in my life?
      I apologize for being rude, but you calling each other names does not qualify as a debate.