Monica Lewinsky Speaks Out — What She Has To Say Is Important For Women


(Photo courtesy of
(Photo courtesy of

Vanity Fair has announced that on May 8th they will release their exclusive interview with Monica Lewinsky. She is breaking her silence and speaking out about her affair with President Clinton.

After years of having her story essentially told for her and being called everything from a White House plant to an opportunistic whore, Ms. Lewinsky says she is determined to reclaim the narrative that has been written about her. ?She writes:

“It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress.”

She also says:

“I, myself, deeply regret what happened between me and President Clinton. Let me say it again: I. Myself. Deeply. Regret. What. Happened.”

Lewinsky, who is now 40, says it is time for her to stop, “tiptoeing around my past?and other people’s futures. I am determined to have a different ending to my story. I’ve decided, finally, to stick my head above the parapet so that I can take back my narrative and give a purpose to my past. (What this will cost me, I will soon find out.)”

Lewinsky firmly maintains that her relationship with the President was between consenting adults, but some would say that is impossible due to the power difference involved.

“Sure, my boss took advantage of me, but I will always remain firm on this point: it was a consensual relationship. 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.”

She certainly has a major point. If her affair had never been made public by people who all had agendas this would have likely been ?little more than a part of her past that she may or may not have recalled favorably. Instead, she became a national joke and has been slut shamed continually for a decade. Monica got labeled as a power-hungry whore, Hillary the stupid wife, and all the while the president was just being a guy.

While Bill Clinton will always have the specter of the sex scandal hanging over his head, he is seen as overcoming having had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky (even though he lied about it). Whereas Monica Lewinsky has been expected to wear the fact that she had sexual relations with Bill Clinton as a personal scarlet letter forever.

According to Vanity Fair, Lewinsky writes that she is still recognized daily, and her name shows up daily in press clips and pop-culture references. There is one reference she wants to set straight, regarding the lyrics to Beyonce’s recent hit ?Partition? — Lewinsky writes

“Thanks, Beyonc?, but if we’re verbing, I think you meant ?Bill Clinton?d all on my gown,? not ?Monica Lewinsky?d.?”

So why now? Lewinsky writes, when?Rutgers freshman?Tyler Clementi committed suicide in September 2010 at just 18 years old after he was secretly streamed via Webcam kissing another man,? it brought her to tears. She writes her mother was especially upset.

“She was reliving 1998, when she wouldn’t let me out of her sight. She was replaying those weeks when she stayed by my bed, night after night, because I, too, was suicidal. The shame, the scorn, and the fear that had been thrown at her daughter left her afraid that I would take my own life?a fear that I would be literally humiliated to death.”

Lewinsky is clear she never attempted suicide, but admits to some dark days when she was tempted. She writes following Clementi’s tragedy:

“My own suffering took on a different meaning. Perhaps by sharing my story, I reasoned, I might be able to help others in their darkest moments of humiliation. The question became: How do I find and give a purpose to my past?”

She added that ?in 1998 when the affair broke not only was she the most humiliated person in the world, but “thanks to the Drudge Report, I was also possibly the first person whose global humiliation was driven by the Internet.” She says her current goal “is to get involved with efforts on behalf of victims of online humiliation and harassment and to start speaking on this topic in public forums.”

She certainly has the name, story, and experience to do just that.


Edited by DH.


Laurie Bertram Roberts is the president of Mississippi National Organization for Women, a feminist activist, full spectrum doula and writer in Jackson, MS. Her family suspected she was trouble when at age 8 she preferred reading weekly news magazines over girly magazines. Her early fascination with liberal ideals, women's rights, was not quite welcome in her conservative fundamentalist Christian home. She is incredibly passionate about reproductive justice and fighting all forms of oppression. When not speaking truth to power she is likely hanging out with her children watching sci fi or doing other nerd like things.