Dear Ms. Lewinsky,
I am a feminist and I will attempt to address your claim that feminists failed you.
I am not speaking for all feminists – just from my perspective. I am taking this opportunity to guess why you received negative feedback from feminist leaders and why they didn’t come to your defense when the media called you names.
In your article for Vanity Fair you wrote:
“I still have deep respect for feminism and am thankful for the great strides the movement has made in advancing women’s rights over the past decades. But, given my experience of being passed around like gender-politics cocktail food, I don’t identify myself as a Feminist, capital F. The movement’s leaders failed in articulating a position that was not essentially anti-woman during the witch hunt of 1998. In the case of the New York Supergals, it should not have been that hard for them to swoon over the president without attacking and shaming me. Instead, they joined the humiliation derby.”
You were very young and the leader of the free world noticed you. It must have been a very flattering and an empowering feeling. I have no doubt that if I had been in your shoes, I would have enjoyed the ego stroke. I cannot say I would have behaved as you did – I hope I would have had the good sense to keep away from the married man but thankfully, I will never know for sure. Power is quite intoxicating. You’ve admitted that after you realized the president was looking at you, you made the effort to take it a step further by showing him your thong.
I am not going to judge you for your actions or for your affair. Extramarital affairs happen. Bill Clinton is not the first president to act like a sniffing dog, and you are not the first young woman to give in to an older, married man.
The fact that you are upset because women and feminist leaders didn’t have your back after you had sex with a married man seems rather ridiculous and self-serving to me.
You voiced frustration over the fact you were painted by the people in the media as a woman who wasn’t so bright. To counter that argument, you noted that you were working in the White House by the young age of twenty-one. Indeed, it must have taken some kind of intelligence and drive to achieve what you had at such a young age.
Since you are bright, it must have crossed your mind that if your affair were ever exposed, you would be a media punching bag. Surely you thought about it. I know I would have.
You came on to a married man. Again, you are not the first and you certainly won’t be the last, but Monica, come on, you flashed the horny president your thong. Were you AT ALL respecting his marital status? No. Did you think what kind of message this would send to his daughter, Chelsea, if this affair became public? Did you put yourself in Hillary’s place? I am guessing you did not. I am guessing you didn’t consider anyone but yourself. You blew the president and saved the dress with his semen stain. Yuck. That was gross when I heard in back in the 90s and it is gross now. Who does that? I don’t care who jizzed on what – it’s just gross.
Your complaint about feminists sounds like you want some more attention. If you expect other women to have your back when you entice a married man to engage in adulterous behavior with a much younger woman than his wife, you either suffer from a gigantic ego or you are truly clueless about the way things work.
Monica, it boils down to this: Your promiscuous behavior pissed off a lot of women. It just did. You represented an affront to marriage. Your behavior served to highlight the male middle-age-crisis that often leads to divorce.
If a woman throws herself at another woman’s husband or committed partner, she will never ever see support from women as a whole, feminists included. She will not get the benefit of sisterly solidarity. To expect that is naïve, and to criticize feminists for not supporting you after blowing the married president reads as another attempt to cast the spotlight on you. Congratulations. We are all talking about you again. But the conversation hasn’t changed.
Have you done anything to help women? Have you contributed to the movement that enabled you to have the voice you have? How have you helped feminism in any way? Maybe you have done some positive things for the equality of women and I just haven’t heard about it. It appears you are still behaving like a selfish little girl who wants sympathy for being the victim of her own mistakes.
Your affair was a long time ago and it was a horrid mistake. We all make them. No one is perfect. Personally, I don’t care what you did anymore. I am happy to forget the whole thing but here you are, scolding feminists for not supporting you. Sorry. Another stupid decision on your part.
Go be productive. Turn your image around. Show us there is more to you than a bitter woman who wants support after being part of one of the most ridiculous scandals in the history of our country.
No one deserves to be ridiculed forever for a stupid mistake they made as a young person, but if you would like to move forward and reverse the negative image, either figure out a way to turn things around for yourself or stop bitching and blaming feminists for not defending you after you bent over and showed a married man your thong.
|Kimberley A. Johnson (BIO) is the author of The Virgin Diaries and an activist for women’s rights. Like her on Facebook, Twitter or follow her on FB HERE.|