First watch this video:
Second, know that I’m writing this in a vacuum which only contains this video and my vague awareness of the turn of events that sparked this frenzy when I was four years old.
Frankly it’s amazing that Monica Lewinsky went through what she went through and came out the other side as the person in this interview. That she can discuss this unimaginable experience with grace, humility, and a sense of humor is a testament to her character and fortitude.
Like John Oliver says—think about the worst thing you ever did when you were in your late teens/early twenties. Now imagine it being played out on the world stage and being reminded of it every single day for 20 years and your name mentioned in at least 193 rap songs.
The scandal is appallingly sexist. Think of the power dynamic: Bill is 49 years old, a man, and the President of the United States. Monica is 22 years old, a woman, and an intern in the White House. The person who holds more power has more responsibility, and clearly Bill crossed the line and should be held more accountable for the mistake. As Monica points out in the interview, the fact that the scandal was named after her is representative of the sexism. Also, let’s not forget that Bill cheated on his wife, Hillary.
Monica Lewinsky’s story, particularly how she got through the ordeal and became a genuinely good person who advocates for anti-bullying, is commendable. She deserves to be remembered for her triumph, not for her mistake.
P.S. The number of songs that mention her name, including one of my favorites “Partition” by Beyoncé, is absurd. It seems like one of those things rappers put into their songs because it’s kitschy to do so (see “grey poupon“).