Voices Thursday, June 05, 2014 - 05:30
By Anshul Rana If you haven’t been living on a different planet, then by now you know that Monica Lewinsky has just penned an essay about her affair with Bill Clinton for the Vanity Fair magazine. The newspapers are invigorated as if they suddenly found a financial model for survival; chatter on twitter may just impact the company’s stock for once while television studios are already preparing for non-stop obnoxious coverage. But this is not about all that. Instead it is about an apology that we all owe to Ms. Lewinsky. And here’s why. Ever since the scandal broke the former White House intern has been the object of hundreds of thousands of news articles and columns with every journalist in the world contributing their two cents to define the-woman-who-gave-a-blow-job-to-the-President. Maureen Dowd even won a Pulitzer for being obsessed by a 22-year-old’s fling. And here’s what she wrote describing Ms. Lewinsky in some of those articles. Ms. Lewinsky, she writes “became the raging, vengeful Glenn Close character in Fatal Attraction” or that she was a “a ditsy, predatory White House intern” whose book preface could read “Powerful men who are busy running things aren't as hard to get as you think. It's really, really easy if you show a little gumption and a lot of cleavage.” There were others too and they called her ‘slutty’, ‘an overripe office vixen’, ‘a dessert cart’ ‘an ambitious intern’ and so on. The other side painted a picture of a ‘poor little girl’ who was exploited by the President when he wanted to take a break from the ‘pressures of the oval office.’ As for the feminists, they conveniently decided to back the President with ‘progressive policies on women’ instead of actually backing a woman. Ironic but practical, one may conclude. When she tried to appear on tv we said, what a b***h she is using her scandal to get rich, yet when she went looking for jobs we never gave her one because of her past. This brings us to the present. Now we write about her poses in the Vanity Fair photo shoot. They are also writing how feminists failed her. Maureen Dowd thinks she is “striking yet another come-hither pose in the magazine” and claims that Ms. Lewinsky’s decision to tell her story is “like a Golden Oldie tour of a band you didn’t want to hear in the first place”. Yet, she writes an entire column about it. What no one seems to be bothered about is why we have to believe that Ms. Lewinsky was exploited or that she was this slutty intern ready to throw herself at the leader of the free world. Why can’t she be a 22-year-old girl who had a fling like any other girl of her age? We all were 22 once and we had our affairs and we all moved on, but no one defines us by those affairs. And then about the man. No one felt the need to define Bill Clinton as a sex addict, drunk on power 50-year old man who misused his position. Now was he the poor old man trapped by an ‘overripe office vixen.’ He was just the President who did what he had to do. No one told Bill Clinton that the way he sits gives the “come-hither” signal to women, or that it is ironic that his foundation works for empowering women. His autobiography “My Life” was not rubbished as an attempt to make money from all the scandals that he has been part of. He got a chance to carry on with life while she did not. But this is not about why the man was treated differently. We all know it’s a man’s world. This is about why we all felt a need to paint Ms. Lewinsky in black (the slut) or white (the exploited girl). Is it too hard for us to imagine that a 22-year-old was attracted to her boss had an affair and then moved on? Just like the rest of us. We owe an apology to Ms. Lewinsky because we defined her life for her and then never allowed her to change that. She is way more a rock star than Mr. Clinton because she refused to give in. She could have gone the Tyler Clementi way but she did not. And now when she wants to ‘give purpose to her past’ we will try to stop her again because in our hypocritical world, we need to define the woman who had an illicit affair as a slut or an exploited girl. Because we can’t fathom a world where a woman is independent enough to decide who she wants to give a blow job to and live without any repercussions. Ms. Lewinsky we are sorry and you are indeed right, Beyoncè should have sung “He Bill Clinton’d all on my gown” instead of “He Monica Lewinsky’d all on my gown.” (Anshul Rana is a consultant at the World Bank and a research associate at John Hopkins', university. He is obsessed by all things politics). The opinions expressed in this articles are the personal opinions of the author. The News Minute is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability or validity of any information in this article. The information, facts or opinions appearing in this article do not reflect the views of The News Minute and The News Minute does not assume any liability on the same.