For 4 years Monica Lewinsky has been writing for Vanity Fair and twice now, her come-to-Jesus account of the scandal makes mainstream news. Why during this infancy of #MeToo and Time’s Up is she still having to explain herself?
She constantly has to remind us that she was the victim. Hell, she even gave a TED talk on it.
She talks about privately being contacted by birthers of the new movements. They sympathize and empathize… Yet, other than a few tweets, I can’t find anyone who has come forward publically in her defense.
I originally wrote this several years ago. I think it resonates more now:
It’s amazing how polarizing Monica still is. Most women today would extort the situation, but she didn’t. She was an unwilling participant in what followed, and today still contends that it was love.
She recently came out in a campaign to fight cyber-bullying. The one issue the whole world agrees we should get behind, and people still threw her under the bus.
She tried to be a handbag designer. She tried to be a reality TV show host. She tried to sell diet products. She’s tried to reinvent herself several times, and we won’t let her.
Eventually she had to move to London to escape the haters. She got her masters in social psychology, but has no real career to speak of. Her greatest legacies are inspiring an ejaculation nickname “Lewinsky-ed” and popularizing Club Monaco’s Beauty Sheer Lipstick in “Glaze”. She has never married and has no children.
Bill Clinton, however, has been paid millions in speaking fees since he left the White House. Nostalgia for Clinton continues as he keeps garnering awards and accolades. He is still married and became a grandfather. We’ve all but forgotten that at one time he couldn’t shake the “Slick Willie” label.
I’m not trying to defend or attack anyone. I raise these points to put the consequences in context. Because, and this is hard to admit, I probably would have done the same thing.
I could have been Monica.
Everyone makes mistakes while coming of age, and most of them become long since forgotten. All the blunders I’ve made, they don’t affect me day to day.
Monica’s early twenties will never be forgotten or sadly, forgiven. Her blunder affects every facet of her life. It’s become her identity.
Imagine the validity and excitement given to her by someone in a power position. Not simply any position, but arguably the most powerful in the world.
Throw in the thrill of secrecy and the naivety that it was true love. I don’t know any co-ed who would have shunned the President’s advances.
I wouldn’t have.
This could have been me.
I’m grateful it wasn’t.
The Vanity Fair article can be found here: