Monica Lewinsky on what it's like to be slut-shamed by the entire world


#1

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#2

Is it a great example of slut shaming? Which is a real thing, and a bad thing that people do all the time. But being a White House intern, and blowing the married president in the Oval Office, that’s an awful move. I’m pretty sure that deserves some condemnation. I’m not gonna feel guilty about that.


#3

A 22-year-old girl finds herself alone with the most powerful man in the world.

Blame the girl.


#4

Pretty sure I remember plenty of fingers pointed at Bubba as well.


#5

No, people blamed the girl and the President. Because adults are accountable for their decisions. I’m not sure it’s fair to conflate Lewinsky’s actions with slut shaming because she to a large degree made her bed.


#6

Here’s my take on it.

I agree with you. It was a (heh) dick move. And if that’s what she’d been shamed for, I’d agree somewhat. But if anything, she was shamed for giving a blowjob, and if you can find me a guy who would go on record as turning down a good blowjob, I’ll show you a damn liar.

Nah, she was shamed for performing a sexual act, not for performing a sexual act on a married man.

Yes, Bill caught a lot of shit for that (and he should have!) but he wasn’t shamed for what he did; he was shamed (and impeached) for lying about it. By the way, I’m sure glad Congress was on top of the big, important issues of the 90s: baseball and infidelity in the Oval Office. Sure glad Trent Lott was willing to stand up to mean ol’ Bill Clinton, trying to distract America away from important issues by trying to go after Osama bin Laden.

…wait, what?


#7

Well - she had some responsibility in the matter.


#8

The Puritanical side of America can be pretty ugly.


#9

She herself admits that she made poor choices. What she objects to is her sexual choice becoming the defining element of her life, such that she is unable to find regular work, she is always “that woman”, and even now people’s impressions of her are strongly coloured by this relationship. Years later, she gets surrounded by paparazzi and wonders about when she’s going to be shoehorned into the next political debate. The relationship is forced into archetypes: If Bill Clinton didn’t force himself on her, she was the “narcissistic looney toon”/homebreaker/other woman/“unstable stalker” etc. For some feminists, she wasn’t pretty or important enough to be a president’s lover. It reflected badly on them that the relationship was seen as unequal, even if it was consensual.

Even as a conservative evangelical Christian teen in 1998, I couldn’t understand why this was such a big deal. I mean sure, it was inadvisable, but he’s far from the first U.S. president to have had an affair. At the time I had this idea of America as very socially liberal, and here’s this ridiculous court case that has nothing to do with the president’s ability to govern. Somehow it’s so important that he has to lie about smoking weed and having an affair, because this would destroy his credibility. Monica Lewinsky becomes a caricature of a sex-crazed woman for doing something that many, many people do, and that is legal. Hillary Clinton wasn’t making a big deal of it, but somehow everyone else needed to. Perjury is a completely different thing, but everyone just came over as a bunch of hypocritical prudes to me.


#10

“Girl”? Really?


#11

22 year olds are called women. Did you ever once get the impression that the dress was saved out of girlish sentimentality? Did you see Clinton as someone able to keep it in his pants? Blame is the wrong word. There is more than enough wrongheadedness in anyone who did not run screaming away from the whole affair.


#12

"How does it feel to be America’s premier blow-job queen?” - sounds like a Stuttering John question.


#13

She doesn’t know why it became about a blow job?

Wasn’t part of the problem that they were messing around when he was at work, potentially while he was making decisions on the phone? Otherwise I think the boys club pretty much keeps a lid on their sexual exploits. I doubt there would have been as much scrutiny of the actual act and circumstance if this was just your typical hotel room situation after hours.


#14

Yeah. I’ve always heard that thing, allegedly attributed to a Secret Service agent but probably just an urban legend, that the only President that never brought a mistress in was Jimmy Carter.

And I know people who still joke about Clinton and Lewinsky. It was 16 years ago.


#15

Perhaps individual female humans can decide individually if they care whether they are called girls or women, and perhaps they are diverse enough to be able to have differing opinions. Many may even have such complex intelligences that they can vary their opinions depending on context. Maybe they don’t really need any external authorities to tell them how they should always be unfailingly labeled?

I’m going to play it safe and try to remember to always refer to people of every gender and sex as “humans”. I hope the human beings who self-identity as female will forgive me if I occasionally slip up.


#16

Fair enough, but when coupled with (not you) a blame seeking attitude it seems to cast just one side as the villain to say ‘girl’. I’m not defending their honor. I’m pointing out an emotional appeal that just has no place in the whole sordid mess.


#17

@samsa @boundegar @mister44 I think we’re getting distracted. Calling someone “America’s premier blow-job queen” 3 years after the event at a live taping is absolutely shaming, devoid of any compassion, and very likely intentionally hurtful in our society. This is why much of the audience, reacting appropriately, told her not to respond.

Many comments in this thread seem to be focusing on whether or not she deserved it. Arguing either side implicitly accepts slut-shaming if the situation warrants it.

It doesn’t matter if she deserved it or not. It’s a terrible thing to do to someone.


#18

Or we could just file that one under “ain’t nobody’s business except for Monica and the Clintons.”

I’m all for public condemnation of bad behavior that affects other people in some way, but unless she was blowing Clinton in exchange for state secrets or Presidential vetoes then we should just let the consenting adults do as they will.*

*(Exception: politicians who run on a platform of “family values” and otherwise try to butt into the personal lives of other people. Because fuck 'em.)


#19

Maybe I am misremembering things, but I’m fairly certain that BOTH the man and woman in this sordid affair took their share of lumps. I don’t recall Monica facing down impeachment proceedings. In regards to the legacy of things, yes she bears a heavier burden in that regard and we remember Bill more for the historical importance of our economic growth during his presidency.

In the end, I can only speak for my own perceptions. She was a young woman in the presence of not only the most powerful person in the world but also an individual who’s adept charm and smooth talking abilities would make anyone swoon in his presence. It takes two to tango. He could not have offered, She could not have accepted. And since none of us were in the room it could also be said that SHE could not have offered and HE could not have accepted.

Regardless, I do not think of Monica as some tramp…If Helen Mirren were charming me, I would swoon in a heartbeat and perhaps hate myself the following morning but admit I couldn’t help myself.


#20

Sorry, but I’m married and for one wouldn’t accept anything sexual from anyone other than my wife. I don’t know, maybe that’s because I have some decency, respect, and honor the vows I took…somehow I expect the president to be capable of the same, you know being the most powerful man in the world bullshit. I feel bad for Monica that she isn’t in a position to do jack about any of this, while Clinton just kind of shrugged it off. Hilary should have dropped his ass, I might have a little more respect for her now if she had.