I hate confrontation. I like a good discussion but I don’t like it when people tend to get overly aggressive about their opinions and who’s right or wrong. But here it goes. I’m putting it out there and then running away. I feel bad for Monica Lewinsky. There, I said it.
Lewinsky of course is the woman responsible for “interngate”, the blue dress, the famous Bill Clinton quote, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”.
She’s back in the news 17 years later. This time by her own choice. She did an interview with Vanity Fair, the New York Times and most recently a Ted Talk revealing how her affair with the worlds most powerful man practically ruined her life.
Lewinsky is now 41 years old. Her affair with the former president happened when she was only 22. He was pushing 50. I think it’s NEVER appropriate for anyone to have an affair with a married person so I’m definitely not trying to give her a break. But she was just 22 and was being seduced by the President of the United States. Put yourself in that place for just a moment. I’m not here to defend anyone’s actions. What bothers me the most about this scandal is how the two of them came out of it so differently.
It almost took down the presidency. For a while it looked as if Bill Clinton would be impeached. But he managed to survive and has now become one of the most respected men in politics.
Monika Lewinsky on the other hand was ostracized and basically went into hiding. Lewinsky says she wasn’t able to get a job and even contemplated suicide. Now she’s making a comeback. Maybe she’s doing it for fame and fortune. There’s no doubt she has everyone’s attention. She claims she wants to become a crusader against cyberbullying. I for one think if she’s truly committed she is the perfect person to speak about an issue that is out of control.
But why are we more likely to forgive a man for such a mistake than a woman. If the blame is going to be put on anyone it should be Bill Clinton for taking advantage of a young woman and cheating on his wife. It raises the age old issue of double standards. We as a society are quick to judge a woman’s actions over a man’s and I don’t really understand why. I’m as guilty as everyone else at times. But the resurgence of this story has reminded me to try to be less judgmental when these scandalous stories hit the media. After all, there really are two sides to every story. One thing I’ve learned from being a journalist is the so called facts in front of you can often be deceiving. Until you hear both sides it’s really not for anyone to judge.
I’m glad Ms. Lewinsky is getting her story out. Maybe she can finally become a successful spokesperson speaking out on issues that make a difference. When people think of Bill Clinton today Monika Lewinsky hasn’t necessarily been the first thing that comes to mind. She will instantly and forever be remembered as the woman that almost took down a presidency. But after 17 years maybe it’s finally Ms. Lewinsky’s time to move forward and be associated with a positive cause. And maybe it’s time for all of us who have judged, to finally forgive.