The affair between the ex-president of the USA, Bill Clinton and the young White House trainee, Monica Lewinsky was revealed twenty years ago. Now, twenty years later, we start to understand how politics and the dynamics of power work, but Monica Lewinsky still cannot get rid of the shame.On the 17th of January 1998, Drudge Report online magazine – which was famous for creating provocative contents even before that – was the first to bring news about the scandalous affair of the President of America. Editors of Newsweek magazine had already known about the fact that Bill Clinton had an affair with a young White House trainee named Monica Lewinsky, but they did not make it public.
The story created a huge media storm, and the mainstream press including the Washington Post eventually published articles about the scandal on the 21st of January, involving the name of the young trainee, and the story was in the focus in the rest of Clinton’s presidency.
Twenty years later, and a few months after Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment scandal and the #meetoo movement, we start to figure out how complex and harmful it could be when sex and power meet.
In 2014, in a Vanity Fair interview, Monica Lewisnky said that her relationship with Bill Clinton was based on mutual consent, however, she thought that her boss had only used her back then.
It can hardly be argued that one of the most influential people of the world had a great power over a much younger trainee who was only at the beginning of her career (Lewinsky was 22 years old, while Clinton was 49 when the scandal was revealed). Even if their relationship was based on mutual content, it does not mean that they were involved in it as equal partners, and even the consequences were not equally shared. It is also worth recalling that Lewinsky’s relationship with Clinton was partially revealed by the fact that another woman, Paula Jones sued the president for sexual harassment.
The case was known as the Lewinsky-scandal, although it was in fact Bill Clinton’s scandal.
During the years after the scandal, Monica Lewinsky tried to find her place, but she was not succeed. At first she tried to make a living by using her name: she designed bags and participated in talk shows, but later she tried to get away from her past and learnt social psychology in London and she withdrew from the public.
Twenty years ago everyone was laughing at her, and she became the main character of the first major online humiliation. She was the woman who was blamed for everything, she had all the responsibility, and her sexuality was in the spotlight.
On the twentieth anniversary of the scandal, she wrote on Twitter: “I survived the unimaginable.”