The year was 1998, and an unknown White House intern named Monica Lewinsky changed the face of American culture, sex and politics forever.
It was a twenty-something-Lewinsky who would have an illicit affair with U.S president Bill Clinton—the most powerful man in the world—from November of 1995 to March of 1997, that would eventually lead to Clinton being impeached—and later acquitted—and also become the first sitting president in over 150 years to be censured by the U.S. Senate.
His role in the Lewinsky tryst forever redefined political marriage and sexual harassment in today’s pro-feminist, gender-equal culture, as the now-infamous words, “I never had sexual relations with that woman” are forever etched into American lore.
The Millennials of today may not know who Lewinsky is, but all they need to do is do a Google search of “Monica Lewinsky” or “Bill Clinton scandal’ and her past will be there for all to see and judge.
Thanks to Lewinsky, office sex and politics have also been transformed into something more awkward, yet stereotypically normal. While she didn’t make it popular, having sex with one’s boss is more attainable than they of a mere fantasy.
Although the affair happened 16 years ago—before the current Age Of Social Media—it’s influence it still felt even today in various aspects of culture in TV shows such as Madam Secretary, State of Affairs, House of Cards, The Good Wife and Scandal have burrowed heavily in channeling Hillary Rodham-Clinton in having strong female characters stand by an embattled spouse and public figure of power.
Then came the news yesterday of Lewinsky, now 41, and living in self-imposed exile the last decade and a half, joining Twitter writing an essay in Vanity Fair titled Shame and Survival and heading up a new cyber-bullying activist campaign after other ventures in publishing, reality TV and fashion flopped epically.
While Lewinsky’s return to the spotlight—and into social media—is a brave and daring venture, she needs to realize that the world today is more sensationalist, less forgiving and has not forgotten her past.
And neither has Washington, nor the public.
With Lewinsky returning to the spotlight, Republicans get an old—and easy target to attack non-stop on all avenues of social media—and Democrats regain an old albatross that they once thought was gone, that has returned to haunt them again, are still bitter towards her for tarnishing Clinton’s name and legacy.
Feminists will never forgive her for tarnishing their name and cause in sleeping her way to the top, and married wives who have husbands that work with attract female interns, have her to blame for the inevitable affairs to come.
They say that time heals all wounds and while her new life as a reborn crusader against cyber bullying is a noble one, an old misdeed from her never-forgotten past is now back in the very public eye of social media to see once more. #HereWeGo