Despite it being decades since the controversy broke out, Monika Lewinsky’s past is still something which fascinates people. Her much publicised affair with former US president Bill Clinton was a scandal that is still etched in public’s memory. But curiously, the man in question has moved on and about. While Lewinsky, who got demonised as being the other woman, the temptress and a home wrecker, still gets pestered for her past.

It must be tough for her to see old wounds scratched open by pestering people. The damning judgmental gaze she faces even today would make anyone’s ears burn red with shame. Yet, Lewinsky endures it. She has learned to take it all in her stride, battling the consequences of a decision she took then. But what have we learned? Have we learned to empathise with women and forget their so called “scandalous” conducts, as quickly as we do with men?

Lewinsky is currently in the news as a video of her storming off stage because of an interviewer’s “off limits” question about former President Bill Clinton, at an event in Jerusalem, has come to light

She has released a statement that she had made it clear to the interviewer in a prior meeting that she didn’t want to answer the said question. Yet, putting her discomfort and personal wish at bay, the interviewer decided to pull one on her in front of the audience. Naturally, Lewinsky stormed off.

I can just not imagine what would happen if some interviewer tried to pull the same trick on Bill Clinton. But it seems people have no regards to Lewinsky’s dignity or her comfort. They shamelessly throw questions at her about “that affair in the 90s” which, according to some, put her on the map. It makes you question why women carry the burden of their past more often than men do.

SOME TAKEAWAYS-

  • Monica Lewinsky recently stormed off the stage during an interview when the interviewer asked an off limits question about Bill Clinton.
  • Why can’t people empathise with women and let go their so called “scandalous” past conducts, as quickly as we do with men?
  • The onus of good conduct has forever hounded women in our society. Which means that the leeway for mistakes is almost non-existent for women.

The onus of good conduct has forever hounded women in our society. It thinks that men are too naïve, weak and gullible, hence it is always the duty of women to keep themselves and men on the moral right track. Which means that the leeway for mistakes is almost non-existent for women. They are forever trapped in the morality of their conduct, no matter what their opinion or stance in the matter is.

People forget that falling in love or having an affair is a two-way street. Men have equal involvement here. What happened between Clinton and Lewinsky is not uncommon. Yet, Clinton like other men, lives mostly free from the shadows of his past. While Monica and numerous women who got branded as home-wreckers or immoral or promiscuous have to live with such tags forever. People just don’t let them forget and move on.

This pestering of women, for being “immoral” one way or the other, at one point in their lives, stops us from sharing our grievances and struggles

We are so afraid of seeking help or sharing our troubles, because we know people will judge and they will do so for eternity. Women live in constant fear of being exposed and left vulnerable. This distrust leads to formation of a hollowed out society. Where everyone is moral and righteous on the outside and fearful and guilty on the inside. How is this healthy? All it does is to isolate us and make our lives miserable.

Which is why we must take a cue from Lewinsky and stand up to this pestering. Why give the power to hound us in others’ hands? Leaving a pestering conversation which aims to shame you doesn’t make you weak. It just puts your stance forward. That you will not tolerate this pestering. That you have moved on and so should others. If those around you cannot let go the past, then perhaps it is time to walk away from them.

Picture Source: Salon

Also Read: #MeToo Helped Monica Lewinsky Battle Isolation and Shaming

Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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