Good for you, Monica Lewinsky

Monica Lewinsky ...

Posted: Sep 5, 2018 12:43 PM
Updated: Sep 5, 2018 12:43 PM

Monica Lewinsky cut short an event in Jerusalem on Monday after an interviewer asked her a question about former President Bill Clinton -- a topic she said she had told her interviewer, Yonit Levi of Hadashot News, in advance to avoid. "I'm so sorry, I'm not going to be able to do this," Lewinsky said before walking off the stage.

Later, she issued a polite statement via Twitter, saying she "left because it is more important than ever for women to stand up for themselves and not allow others to control their narrative."

Bill Clinton

Demographic groups

Females (demographic group)

Misc people

Monica Lewinsky

Political Figures - US

Population and demographics

Society

Immediately, others tried to control the narrative.

"Monica Lewinsky storms offstage in Israel after 'off limits' Bill Clinton question," blared USA Today. The AP and CBS used the same "storms offstage" language.

Conveniently, there is a video that plainly shows why it is quite a stretch to conclude that Lewinsky "stormed" anywhere. She was instead direct and polite -- apologetic even. No rage, no storm, just a direct assertion of her already stated boundaries.

To begin with, a truth that certainly every woman knows: women who assert themselves clearly, as Lewinsky did, are often branded as constitutionally "angry" -- and angry women, it's understood, are illogical hysterics. Angry men? They are rewarded: they are seen as more competent than men who express sadness or regret, and their anger is read as righteous and authoritative.

Just look at our current President, who draws crowds with his rants and his rage-chants of "build a wall" and "lock her up." A woman who exhibited even a fraction of that level of unfettered rage would be cast as simply deranged. He's the leader of the free world.

Had Lewinsky exhibited anger, it would have been more than warranted. This is a woman, now in her mid-40s, who has spent her entire adult life defined by a dumb affair she had as a 20-something intern. She was bright and ambitious enough to score a White House internship in the first place. Had her affair with Clinton never happened (or had it never been discovered), it seems likely that she would have gone on to have a successful career; it's less likely she would be famous, but she probably would have gotten to chart her own course.

Instead, she was at the center of a national scandal. Clinton weathered it well -- he avoided losing his job, and went on to form a prominent global foundation and see his spouse nearly become the first female president. Lewinsky, on the other hand, remains defined by a few months of the mid-90s.

She's tried to break away in seemingly any available direction, getting a degree from the London School of Economics, writing a memoir, doing reality TV, and even trying a brief stint as a handbag designer. She kept winding up a punch line.

And so she has leaned in to confront what, unfortunately, she knows an awful lot about: being the target of online and tabloid mobs. Her anti-bullying campaigns aren't the soft pap of the current first lady, who is, inconveniently, married to the bully-in-chief. No, Lewinsky speaks from experience and from the heart. She knows personally the perils of being seen as only a subject for mockery instead of a real person.

She's also figuring out how to do this work while, for the first time in her life, successfully shaping her own narrative. The Clinton affair is a part of her story, but that doesn't mean that if she's invited onstage she's obligated to talk about it. She's not an elected official or someone in public office. She's an advocate for a cause -- and she wants to talk about that, not what she did 25 years ago, and not how a more powerful man should address her today.

She did what a great many celebrities and less-than-celebrities do before public appearances: she agreed to particular parameters for the conversation, and she expected that agreement to be upheld. The interviewer clearly thought it was OK to disregard this, knowing Lewinsky would be the one to pay the price and look like a diva if she refused to answer or cut the interview short.

And indeed, that's what happened with the "stormed off" headlines. Luckily, Lewinsky has had decades to become a sharp advocate for herself. Instead of apologizing, she's telling the truth about what happened, and making clear that this isn't just about one bad interview; it's about an expectation that women are compliant and contrite even when someone -- another woman, in this case -- knowingly and purposefully ignores a woman's stated desires.

Monica Lewinsky walked off a stage and that tiny act of self-preservation and self-respect has become an international news story. Good on her. Next time maybe she should storm.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
Clark12715190
Madison12367337
Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
LaPorte11204204
Delaware10382184
Howard9698211
Kosciusko9165114
Hancock8014139
Bartholomew7913155
Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
Decatur279592
Fayette277362
Greene271085
Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
LaGrange255470
Randolph236080
Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
Vermillion166343
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
Crawford97914
Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1058395

Reported Deaths: 19033
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1229981360
Cuyahoga1080042072
Hamilton785031170
Montgomery50326998
Summit45710915
Lucas40568768
Butler37858572
Stark31586896
Lorain24333473
Warren23964293
Mahoning21029584
Lake20143365
Clermont19480229
Delaware18162130
Licking16185207
Fairfield15796197
Trumbull15666461
Medina14961259
Greene14765236
Clark13697293
Wood12828185
Portage12481196
Allen11374229
Richland11102198
Miami10568214
Muskingum8729127
Wayne8619209
Columbiana8589226
Pickaway8454121
Marion8409135
Tuscarawas8393240
Erie7644154
Hancock6746124
Ross6727146
Ashtabula6563166
Geauga6563146
Scioto6314101
Belmont5657159
Union560247
Lawrence5483102
Jefferson5372149
Huron5333114
Darke5285121
Sandusky5208120
Seneca5163120
Washington5095108
Athens509256
Auglaize477683
Mercer473785
Shelby458092
Knox4418108
Madison426559
Putnam423199
Ashland414488
Fulton411667
Defiance405596
Crawford3894102
Brown387755
Logan375176
Preble372498
Clinton364060
Ottawa359578
Highland348460
Williams330074
Champaign322357
Jackson309351
Guernsey308749
Perry290949
Fayette278448
Morrow277239
Hardin265964
Henry265066
Coshocton261058
Holmes255199
Van Wert239863
Pike234231
Gallia233346
Adams230252
Wyandot228354
Hocking210759
Carroll189747
Paulding169239
Meigs141738
Noble133037
Monroe129041
Morgan107723
Harrison105936
Vinton81614
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
46° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 39°
Huntington
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 41°
Fort Wayne
Partly Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 39°
Lima
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 37°
Patchy frost is expected Thursday night and near seasonable highs are on the way for Friday afternoon.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events