May 14 2014

Lewinsky: Why the Feminists Did Her Wrong

Charlotte Hays

The resurfacing of Monica Lewinsky in a piece in Vanity Fair seems to have attracted more attention on the left side of the political aisle.

But conservative columnist Noemie Emery writes about an interesting aspect of the whole sordid saga today over at the Examiner:

Monica Lewinsky may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but even she wasn't born yesterday, and now, 16 years after the fact and her media frenzy, she has come to the rather belated conclusion that the feminist movement, that protector of women abused by employers, had done this ex-intern wrong.

Not only did feminists not defend the girl who was used by the president (and then defamed by the president and his defenders), but they wrote off or defamed her themselves.

"What is your concern with some little twerp named Monica?" Betty Friedan asked us. "We're trying to think of the bigger picture ... about what's best for women," was Eleanor Smeal's contribution. But writer Anne Roiphe put it most clearly: "It will be a great pity if the Democratic Party is damaged by this," she said.

Emery argues that the one good thing about the Lewinsky affair was its “ripping the mask from identity politics.”

The feminist treatment of Lewinsky showed that the movement, far from representing women, represented a narrow group of ambitious women with a particular political agenda (prominent on the agenda was power for the leaders of the feminist movement). Ruining a confused young woman to protect President Clinton was all in a day's work for the hard-nosed practitioners of realpolitick in the feminist movement.

Slate is to be commended for publishing an article on how New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd treated Lewinsky. Dowd went after Lewinsky with a vengeance, calling her a "ditsy, predatory, White House intern," though the ditsy, predatory columnist was originally sympathetic to Lewinsky.

The feminist movement is not the only one base in this particular way. The noble struggle for civil rights for African Americans has transformed itself into a movement that attacks anyone who veers from its orthodoxy and thus poses a threat to the personal power of its leaders. Emery points out how Senator Tim Scott, a black Republican from South Carolina, has been viciously attacked for his conservative politics. He is a threat to the personal power of the black political establishment.

If there is one thing to remember about the sad little story of Monica Lewinsky, it is about how callous and power hungry the feminist had become by then.

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