Sylvia Plath Didn't Say This Viral 'Kindness Coins' Quote. So Who Did?
On Sunday, a Twitter user attributed the quote "Girls are not machines that you put kindness coins into until sex falls out" to the late poet Sylvia Plath. It's hard to blame her — when searching kindness coins quote on Google, many of the top results are writers, posters, and images attributing the quote to Plath.
However, every one of them is wrong. Plath never said that, and the meme that ensued after the Twitter user's error likely means no one will misattribute the quote to Plath ever again.
This, naturally, begs the question of who actually first said the phrase. This isn't the first time a viral internet quote has been misattributed to a historical figure, but in most cases, it's usually easy to find where the quote actually originated.
This isn't the case with the "kindness coins" quote, and people have been trying to years to find out where it originated to no success, leading to several incorrect theories about where it actually comes from.
Who Really Said The Quote?
In those same inaccurate Google results featuring many links that link the quote to Plath, another name pops out: Nicole Snow. Snow is a romance writer whose 2021 book, No Gentle Giant, features the quote. However, the quote appeared online well before 2021, which rules her out as the quote's source.
The quote, continuously attributed to Plath, began spreading on Tumblr in the mid-2010s. This angered Plath fans on the site, who were quick to correctly point out that it did not come from Plath. Instead, they attributed to Porphyria R'lyeh, a model who used the phrase in a Facebook post from November of 2013.
Once again, this is false. In the comments of her post, R'lyeh noted she didn't come up with the quote. Users in that thread did some detective work and found a NeoGAF post from April 5th, 2012, that could be the potential origin of the phrase.
Zane/Hexjackal/John Mix Meyer
On April 5th, 2012, NeoGAF user Zane posted the quote in a thread as a rebuttal to the concept of the "friendzone."
The day prior, Twitter user @ElizabethDanger attributed the quote to user @Hexjackal, the handle of the late Wired writer John Mix Meyer. Meyer was indeed "Zane" on NeoGAF, making him a most plausible origin for the quote, but that doesn't seem to be the case.
On March 31st, 2010, the quote appeared in a Matrix Morpheus meme posted to Joyreactor.
The user who posted it goes by the handle "anon" and has remained active to this day, meaning it could not be one of Meyer's accounts. It's possible this "anon" was the first person to use the quote in their meme, but there's no proof that the meme itself is their original creation. Furthermore, the numbers on the post hardly suggest it went viral enough to inspire copycats, placing doubt on the idea that it was the quote's first iteration.
From here, the trail goes cold, meaning it's impossible to confirm who actually first said the "Kindness Coins" quote. That being said, one thing is for sure: it was not Sylvia Plath.
For more information, check out the Know Your Meme entry for "Sylvia Plath was right when she said…"
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