From blue dresses and White House scandals before there was the television show Scandal, to a line of failed (?) purses (see article in New York Magazine from a few years back), to social activist, Monica Lewinsky has spent years being an unfortunate household name stemming from poor choices made literally as a kid while a White House intern.
She opened up about the blue dress years and the aftermath of being a fallen star in the Clinton universe in the June 2014 edition of Vanity Fair. It was her article and it was fairly well written and interesting, I must admit.
Like millions of others at the time I remember thinking “What was she thinking and why can’t this politician keep his pants zipped?” (Face it, Clinton might look like the grand papa bear of Democrat politics today, but the man has had his issues with the ladies à la Pennsylvania’s own Ed Rendell, right?)
I don’t have the moral code that is able to justify cheating, or justify why a very bright young woman couldn’t stay away from a married man who happened to be the President of the United States, except I am guessing that was exactly why she couldn’t stay away. However, after the first few weeks of hearing about her and that, I felt as if it was enough already. There were after all, far bigger issues going on in the Clinton administration, weren’t there?
So now Monica is what? About 40 years old give or take? And she made a whopper of a mistake and has spent almost 20 years paying for it.
Yesterday she spoke in Philadelphia on the subject of cyber bullying.
I have to give her props for stepping out onto the stage at the Forbes Under 30 Summit. That took guts, all things considered. I am sure she was amply compensated for her time but her topic was of personal interest to me. Her topic was cyber bullying and that is also apparently now her personal cause.
I listened to the replays of her speech and could totally understand when she said “It feels like a punch in the gut.” After all, cyber bullying = abuse.
That isn’t the first time I have heard a similar description applied to being cyber bullied. Of course those who perform the cyber bullying always blame their victims. Much like abusers who tell their victims it’s their own fault they had to beat them.
I make no bones about the fact that I have perverse admirers, otherwise known as cyber bullies. In part, when you become a writer or a blogger it sort of comes with the territory. It shouldn’t, but it does. Only my main bully doesn’t bully me because I am some random blogger she doesn’t like, for her it’s personal. She used to know me, and used to be in my life.
It is odd to think about this late middle aged woman from several states away being so angry and so hateful because well she was someone very supportive of me when a few years ago now, my ex abandoned me and his old dying dog quite literally and then a year or so after that when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and isn’t that strange? How can someone go from being caring to being pathologically angry and hateful when there was no fighting or anything like that? This person chose to leave my life so what was I supposed to do? It was her choice and I tried to respect it. It’s like she had this weird unrequited crush on me and I am being punished for ignoring that, and her. It’s truly bizarre.
It came as a shock when I realized I not only had cyber bullies, but they had been essentially stalking my life. I am not a public figure. I am just an ordinary woman living my life. Yes, I write, and I am not just a blogger given my published bylines here and there (albeit local and regional), but I am just a regular person. I write more about my recipes and gardening these days than anything else. I share my photography, as well. Apparently and ironically, it is very upsetting to people when you are happy. And apparently it’s all my fault they have to bully me because I am happy in my life and they are miserable and stuck. Bullies like other forms of abusers have a limited sense of personal accountability, have you noticed?
Since this cyber bullying and cyber stalking began shortly before my 50th birthday I have been fascinated by the people who have supported the efforts. People I have never known or spoken to. And why do they cheer on negative and spurious activity that there are laws against? I guess because at some point in time I wrote something they didn’t agree with and isn’t that so bizarre coming from “adults”?
But as far as adults go, I have seen a lot of strange behavior. Especially recently. Take for example parents of teenagers who not only support their teen’s scorched earth bullying behavior, but in essence bully other parents themselves and how crazy is that? People who are parents and who you know love their children but who can’t see right from wrong on their own?
People spend so much time hating and why put all that negativity out there? Its not so much a Zen or spiritual thought as it is that I just don’t get people of any age who wake up with the intent to be mean or malicious. Life is a precious gift and having survived breast cancer I know full well we are all on borrowed time on this earth so why not try to be better human beings, not worse?
Cyber bullying is as pervasive and invasive as physical bullying. And there is a certain disconnect from reality with it on the part of the bullies. These bullies seem to think in their minds their behaviors are justified, and that they are invincible, which of course couldn’t be farther from the truth. They also only have power if you allow them to have power because the truth of it is, bullies are cowards. They only accept their version of reality as the ultimate reality and get totally tweaked if you mess with their perception of how it should all be. With mine I marvel at how literally crazy and unbalanced they are and pity them at the same time. This hatred is all they have to do all day, and that is truly and incredibly sad.
Cyber bullying is something, however, that not enough people take seriously even if it is illegal. So if Monica Lewinsky wishes to use her unfortunate celebrity to shine a light down the dark rabbit hole of bullying, I am all for it. After all, bullying happens most often to the less obvious in this world: ordinary people both adult and kids.
Monica Lewinsky being a social activist will take some getting used to. Of course she was immediately trolled after doing this. In addition to the article excerpts below, follow this LINK and check out an interesting perspective in the Washington Post and another CNN article.
Thanks for stopping by today.
(CNN) — Monica Lewinsky told an audience in Philadelphia on Monday that her new mission in life was to end cyberbullying. Her speech — and her goal — come as the former White House intern steps into the public eye after years of trying to live privately.
“Having survived myself, what I want to do now is help other victims of the shame game survive, too,” she told the audience at Forbes’ 30 Under 30 summit. “I want to put my suffering to good use and give purpose to my past.”
Lewinsky, who as an intern in 1995 had an affair with President Bill Clinton, said she was “patient zero” of online harassment.
“There was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram back then,” she said. “But there were gossip, news and entertainment websites replete with comment sections and emails which could be forwarded. Of course, it was all done on the excruciatingly slow dial up. Yet around the world this story went. A viral phenomenon that, you could argue, was the first moment of truly ‘social media’.”
Clare O’Connor Forbes Staff
Monica Lewinsky has broken a decade-long silence to announce her campaign to end cyberbullying and today’s toxic culture of internet shaming.
In her first ever public address, the former mistress of President Bill Clinton revealed her plan to launch a “cultural revolution” against the sort of online harassment she experienced firsthand in the late 1990s…..Lewinsky described her life since the 1998 sex scandal that resulted in Clinton’s impeachment by the House of Representative and subsequent acquittal by the Senate as one marred by a deep sense of shame and even suicidal thoughts….She intends to share her story with victims of cyberbullying and online harassment. There are many of them: almost 54% of young Facebook users describe being bullied or harassed online.
(Click on hyperlink above to go to the Forbes website and read the full transcript.)