Although Monica Lewinsky has always made it clear that she doesn't view herself as a victim of Bill Clinton, she's been outspoken about the way she was treated when their relationship came to light in 1998.
"Any 'abuse' came in the aftermath, when I was made a scapegoat in order to protect his powerful position...The Clinton administration, the special prosecutor’s minions, the political operatives on both sides of the aisle, and the media were able to brand me. And that brand stuck, in part because it was imbued with power," Lewinsky wrote in a 2014 Vanity Fair article.
Although Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives, the Senate voted along party lines and acquitted him. Amidst the news of their affair and allegations of other sexual misconduct, some high-profile feminists defended Clinton without extending the same courtesy to Lewinsky. And, before we say, "That was 20 years ago and things have changed," take a look at today's headline that Lewinsky fixed before posting it to Twitter:
The so-called "Monica Lewinsky Scandal" has way more to do with Bill Clinton than Lewinsky herself because — just for starters — he was the (married) President of the United States and she was a 22-year-old intern. HLN's title implies that the blame for the scandal lies at her feet when, in reality, Clinton is the one who committed perjury while holding the highest office in the land.
HLN's title, "The Monica Lewinsky Scandal," is another reminder of just how terribly Lewinsky was treated at the time. Maureen Dowd won a Pulitzer Prize for an article in which she described Lewinsky as a "ditzy, predatory intern." Katie Roiphe wrote that the true source of outrage wasn't Clinton's affair but the fact that "Lewinsky's not that pretty," as reported by The Guardian.
And yet, Clinton himself emerged virtually unscathed. He's currently a best-selling author and a highly paid public speaker. While millions laughed along at his endearing excitement over the balloons at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Lewinsky, on the other hand, is still branded "the other woman" (and worse), despite the fact that she's forged a successful career as a writer and activist.
Perhaps the tide is changing. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York's Democratic senator – who has close ties to both Hillary and Bill Clinton – recently stated that she believes Clinton should have resigned over the affair. As sexual misconduct allegations emerge in Hollywood, Washington D.C., and elsewhere, The Atlantic recently observed that Democrats are having "a reckoning" with Clinton's sexual indiscretions and misconduct allegations...which were conveniently overlooked for years.
All of that is encouraging. But as Lewinsky's tweet proves, sexism still reigns.