The informant is a 19 year old Ecuadorian student studying Architecture at the University of Southern California. Her family is from Quito, Ecuador. English is her second language. She shared this proverb in Spanish and then translated and explained it in English.
“Aunque la mona se viste de seda, mona queda”
“Even if a ‘girl monkey’ dresses with silk, it’s still a monkey ”
“It means it doesn’t matter how you depict yourself, you’re still going to be the same person – like it doesn’t matter how you dress or whatever, you’re still going to be the same.”
This proverb means that even a change in outward appearance will not change the person inside. The word “monkey” may have been used in this case as a poetic substitute for humans because of monkeys’ similarities to humans and because monkeys are quiet common in Ecuador. This proverb seems to say that a monkey trying to make themselves more human by dressing up is still a monkey. In other words, humans cannot change who or what they are by changing their appearances.