Monica Lewinsky is reinventing herself again. Lewinsky, the once White House intern infamous for giving Bill Clinton blowjobs, has tried her hand at designing handbags, being a reality TV star, writing a book, penning an essay for Vanity Fair last May, doing a TED talk (“The Price of Shame”) — is now speaking out against cyberbullying.
The New York Times writes in “Monica Lewinsky Is Back, But This Time On Her Own Terms”:
A lot is different for Monica Lewinsky these days, starting with the fact that, until last year, she had hardly appeared publicly for a decade. Now 41, the former White House intern once famously dismissed by the president as “that woman” holds a master’s degree in social psychology from the London School of Economics.
Gosh, Monica, way to hide under that bushel.
At 41, she doesn’t have many of the things that a person her age may want: a permanent residence, an obvious source of income (she won’t comment on her finances) a clear career path.
She is also very, very nervous. She is worried about being taken advantage of, worried her words will be misconstrued, worried reporters will rehash the past.
I don’t know, Monica. It seems to me all you’ve done for the last 20 years is cash in on that past. Do you really think you’d be Alan Cummings date to the Golden Globes if you weren’t infamous? Or invited to Norman Mailer parties? Or get a TED Talk?
In in the intervening years, despite your academic credentials, you haven’t been able to get a job for fucks sake, except as Monica Lewinsky Tragically Misunderstood Mistress.
She splits time between New York and Los Angeles, where she grew up, and London, and said it’s been hard to find work.
Mostly she has embraced a quiet existence: doing meditation and therapy, volunteering, spending time with friends.
She also has a “speech coach” for those public appearances.
Nice perks for the underemployed, Monica. Who pays your bills? You seem pretty kept for one so feminist.
Now people are reconsidering you, feeling awful about how it all went down.
Feminists who had stayed silent on the first go-round were suddenly defending her, using terms like “slut-shaming” and “media gender bias” to do it.
The late-night host David Letterman was on air expressing remorse over how he had mocked her, asking, in a recent interview with Barbara Walters, “With some perspective, do you realize this is a sad human situation?” Bill Maher said of reading Ms. Lewinsky’s piece in Vanity Fair, “I gotta tell you, I literally felt guilty.”
Did we all “slut shame” Monica Lewinksy? Is the woman a misunderstood feminist?
As she put it, shame and humiliation have become a kind of “commodity” in our culture — with websites that thrive on it, industries created out of it, and people who get paid to clean up the mess.
What happened to compassion? she asked up on stage. “What we need,” she said, “is a cultural revolution.”
The way Ms. Lewinsky tells it, she was “Patient Zero” for the type of Internet shaming we now see regularly. Hers wasn’t the first case ever, but it was the first of its magnitude. Which meant that, virtually overnight, she went from being a private citizen to, as she put it, “a publicly humiliated one.”
You suck the dick of the leader of the free world, chances are if that goes public, it goes VERY public. That was the risk YOU took, Monica. OWN IT. But like every other ordinary cheater, you thought you wouldn’t get caught.
“It’s a sexual shaming that is far more directed at women than at men,” Gloria Steinem wrote me in an email, noting that in Ms. Lewinsky’s case, she was also targeted by the “ultraright wing.” “I’m grateful to [her],” Ms. Steinem said, “for having the courage to return to the public eye.”
Gloria Steinem? Really? Look the debate about sexual shaming is a legitimate one, but you could pick a far better example than Monica Lewinsky. It IS shameful to cheat. What she did with her sexuality was stupid and something to feel deeply mortified about. Her sexuality didn’t make it shameful — coming on to a married man (yes, even a horn dog like Bill Clinton) is shameful.
Feminism? You want feminism? Where’s the universal sisterhood?
IMO there is nothing LESS feminist than trying to poach The Big Powerful Man by showing him your thong underwear. Powerful man as commodity. He will confer his greatness to me if I just suck his dick! I will get on my knees for the lopsided, unreciprocated pleasure of literally SERVICING HIM.
I’m supposed to buy that Lewinsky is some feminist cultural icon? Betty Friedan called her a “little twerp.” God Bless you Betty.
Lewinsky makes great plays for everyone’s pity, utterly ignoring the fact that she had sex with another woman’s husband. She wants compassion? Monica, show me your REMORSE first.
Speaking of suffering, Lewinsky says:
“That in someone else’s darkest moment, lodged in their subconscious might be the knowledge that there was someone else who was, at one point in time, the most humiliated person in the world. And that she survived it.”
Yeah, that person was Hilary Clinton. She’s running for president, Monica. Which is, like, a job. You should try one.