I was a teenager when the news broke of the “inappropriate relationship” between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky. I remember it fairly well, as it was huge in public consciousness at the time. I also remember seeing the jokes and public mocking of Lewinsky, and sadly, I remember not thinking anything much of it. It was the kind of thing I heard all the time. It was normal. The slut shaming, the jokes about clothing, her looks. This is always how women have been talked about, and it barely registered in the moment.
It’s only looking back now, with twenty-five years of additional experience and awareness, that I can fully comprehend how utterly horrible this was. The rampant sexism and judgement, the bullying, and the laughing.
I give Lewinsky so much credit for emerging in recent years with both a sense of humor, and a sense of purpose.
This video is from the great segment that John Oliver did on Last Week Tonight on this topic. I’m only highlighting the interview with Lewinsky, but it’s all worth a watch. You should also check out his interview with Anita Hill, who went through similar hostility in the public eye for speaking out.