More than 20 years have passed since the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal, but why is only Monica Lewinsky still publicly blamed for the scandal?
The 90’s scandalous affair involved the then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and her boss and former American president Bill Clinton. Lewinsky was 22-years-old and Clinton was 49-years old. Things turned awry when news broke of their affair in 1998. On National TV, Clinton declared he “did not have sexual relations with that woman“. Like vicious vultures, tabloids and trolls were quick to blame and judge the young intern.
- Power dynamics of the infamous scandal
- Why isn’t Bill Clinton blamed for the Monica Lewinsky scandal?
- Why is Monica Lewinsky still publicly blamed for the scandal?
We use all forms of tactics to find what the woman did wrong. Maybe she was wearing short clothes or was drunk. Years of misogyny engulfs us
Power dynamics of the infamous scandal
While she was barely out of college, Bill Clinton was the much more powerful and older counterpart in the relationship. A person committing infidelity deserves the bigger pile of dirt, but it was Monica who was being called out as the predator. In an interview to “Vanity Fair”, Monica recalled
“The dictionary definition of ‘consent’? To give permission for something to happen. And yet what did the ‘something’ mean in this instance, given the power dynamics, his position, and my age? Was the ‘something’ just about crossing a line of sexual intimacy? He was my boss. He was the most powerful man on the planet. He was 27 years my senior, with enough life experience to know better. He was, at the time, at the pinnacle of his career, while I was in my first job out of college.”
Decades of trauma
For two decades, Monica Lewinsky has been working on herself, the trauma, and healing. The FBI investigation of the scandalous affair of Lewinsky and Clinton drew her to the point of considering suicide. Talking about the FBI questioning, she said,
“I would be hysterically crying and then I’d just shut down. And in the shut-down period, I remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this was to kill myself, was to jump out the window. I felt terrible. I was scared and was mortified and afraid of what this was going to do to my family. You know I was still in love with Bill at the time, so I felt really responsible.”
Monica was hustled into a hotel room by his staff and informed that unless she cooperated with them she could face 27 years in prison. Rubbing salt on her wounds was the fact that Bill Clinton never featured in the public shaming or receive any form of remarks like “she’s asking for it”.
Monica Lewinsky joined twitter in 2014. Years after the scandal, Monica was still facing the brunt of the 98’ scandal. Clinton again was nowhere mentioned. Despite years of discussions around gender equality, Monica Lewinsky was again name-called and humiliated about a consensual relationship that was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority and privilege.
Why isn’t Bill Clinton blamed for Monica Lewinsky scandal?
Monica Lewinsky is still publicly blamed for the scandal and not Bill. While many feel Clinton got more time in the public eye after the affair came into limelight, he got more time to repair his reputation. It could also be said he fooled everyone into forgetting, through his foundation and his wife’s career? Maybe.
Years after the scandal, Monica was still facing the brunt of the 98’ scandal. Clinton again was nowhere mentioned.
Investigation charges on Bill Clinton
An investigation led to charges of perjury and the impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was subsequently acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. Clinton was held in civil contempt of court for giving misleading testimony and was also fined $90,000 by Wright.
Why is Monica Lewinsky still publicly blamed for the scandal?
Time and again women are shamed and scrutinized in the headlines of leading tabloids. According to Dr Jessica Taylor, founder of Victim Focus, “It’s a mixture of misogyny and this really interesting theory called, ‘belief in a just world’ which is a bias that millions of people hold … So when something bad happens to somebody, what we tend to do is look for what they did wrong as it rebalances our understanding of justice … Another reason is self-preservation. We use all forms of tactics to find what the woman did wrong. Maybe she was wearing short clothes or was drunk.” Years of misogyny engulfs us. One of its primitive examples is Monica Lewinsky.
However, it is always up to us to stand with it or repeal the unfair. Do you agree? Let us know your opinion in the comment section below!