I’ve been a Marilyn fan for over 20 years. The majority of that time in the online community, and I’ve found it can be a double edged sword. When I started out I was so excited to find people with the same interests as me. I quickly learned that there are a few different types of Marilyn fan, and today I’m going to talk you through them, and how to survive being online with them!
The ‘Normal’ Fan
This is the Marilyn fan who loves Marilyn but has their non-Marilyn life too. They don’t get bogged down in the minutia of Marilyn’s life, but also have a broad interest about her. For the most part, they can also share an interest in other actors/actresses outside of Marilyn.
The ‘Hardcore’ Fan
“Hardcore” brings up visions of something negative but it’s not. There is a positive slant here. A “hardcore” fan is someone who loves Marilyn and will go to great lengths to post the truth about her and her life. I fall firmly between normal and hardcore. When I’m talking about Marilyn day to day I am “normal”, but woe betide the person who says something derogatory about her cos my “hardcore” side will come out like a flash!
The Self Proclaimed “Expert”
For self proclaimed expert, see nut. Honestly, there are Marilyn experts in the community – these are not them. This type is someone who will do anything to take down someone who disagrees with them. I don’t just mean on something they KNOW to be true either. Disagreeing on a matter of opinion with these fans will bring a world of pain to your door, or inbox, as is so often the case.
My Online Experience
I joined the online community in the early 2000’s. Yahoo groups were flying high at the time and I found “my people” in a very popular Marilyn one. I was thrilled! I’d finally found like-minded people that could share my love for her online.
There was no internet safety workshops or people warning to be careful all that much, so I took people at their word and was super excited to meet some of them in Los Angeles during the 2004 Marilyn memorial.
I’ve talked a little about my first experience of L.A. on my Instagram page. I’ve not really talked about my first time going to a memorial. I traveled with my mother and we spent around 5 days with a group of fans. It was wild! I had never seen anything like it. The lady leading the group was someone I’d been in touch with for a couple of years, so I felt quite safe in her company. I was 20 years old and had never done anything like this before.
Overall the experience was a fantastic one. I made some new friends and solidified some of my online ones by meeting in person. Although I did have one of the party jump down my throat at dinner the first night because I dared to suggest that I thought Marilyn was murdered*… see “Expert” above. I was told, under no circumstances would anyone murder someone as lovely as Marilyn….
I came home on a high.
Years passed by, Yahoo Groups shut down and I thought that was that. Then in 2007 Facebook launched and people started setting up groups and pages on there to celebrate Marilyn. One day I came across one with the same name and low and behold, my old friends were all there! I was ecstatic – I could catch up with everyone, talk to them in real time and, everyday see photos of Marilyn on my feed! What more can you want? This is, I came to find, the good side to social media. However, it has a dark side… And boy, is it dark.
The Dark Side
I found this out when I became involved with helping to administrate the group. It was split into three parts and there was a group of us spread across the world who would delete inappropriate posts/comments, answer questions and post Marilyn related content depending on the date etc.
The latter aspect of the group was a little difficult for me, as I have three kids and they take up a lot of my time. So I was more active in the comments of posts. At the time I felt we worked well because where one of us couldn’t do something, the others would help. Kind of a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” type thing.
I soon found out that, despite having asked me to come “onboard”, not everyone was happy that I was pulling my weight. I also felt that the people I thought were my friends weren’t really friends at all. You’ll probably know this already but the out and out bitchiness that goes on in the Marilyn community is unbelievable. Some people will scratch your eyes out because you disagree with them (again, see “expert” above).
I tried to talk it out, tried to maintain my long term friendships – I mean, we’re talking close to 10 years I knew some of these people! It wasn’t to be though. I lost, not only those friends, but others by association. I’m sure lies were told and people have opinions about me based on those lies, but I know my truth and I can hold my head up.
I don’t think I’ll ever talk publicly about exactly what went down, but in the days that followed I was in a constant state of panic and anxiety. I left that group so hurt and affected by what happened it took my over a year to set up the Instagram page you know today. A YEAR! I have found since that the majority of my Marilyn experiences are happy ones and, for the most part, they were in person and didn’t involve anyone else!
How To Survive Being A Marilyn Fan Online?
- Protect yourself at all costs.
- Don’t blindly trust people you meet online – they literally could be anybody!
- Marilyn fans can be lovely and can be crazy – try to find out quickly the kind your dealing with.
- Grow a thick skin, and fast! Marilyn fans can be cruel, especially if you make a mistake.
- Keeping that in mind, if you are an impersonator or do Marilyn looks, expect negative feedback. It’s a given.
- Know that you can unfollow/block people. Don’t feel bad about it. (See number 1.)
- Don’t steal/copy posts online – you won’t be thanked for it!
- Don’t post fake/photoshopped/”enhanced” photos of Marilyn. Fans will come at you for it.
- Absolutely NEVER post photos of Marilyn after she passed away.
- Enjoy as much of it as you can and remember why you’re here – for Marilyn!
The Marilyn Monroe community online is an amazing thing, and we are so blessed to live in an age where we can all connect. However, the internet is a relatively new thing, so you need to know how to survive online, especially as a Marilyn fan – be careful, don’t take things too seriously. I’m so glad I created this page and website for you to all love Marilyn and I try everyday to keep it a safe space based on my own experiences. Marilyn is wonderful and if we can all enjoy her together, all the better!