Thursday 22 June 2017

Salacious siren and frigid wife – it's a lazy blame game

The story of Monica and Hillary highlights how women are always depicted in sex scandals, writes Carol Hunt

Official White House photo taken Nov. 17, 1995 showing President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky at the White House
Official White House photo taken Nov. 17, 1995 showing President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky at the White House
Carol Hunt

Carol Hunt

Timing, as they say, in love, war and politics, is everything. And what better time for Monica Lewinsky to pen a 4,000-word essay for Vanity Fair magazine than when Hillary gears up for a shot at the White House. Not that – as she says in her piece –Monica wishes the Clintons any ill will. But just because recently, she's been "thinking a lot about Hillary" and about "the fact that we might finally have a woman in the White House". I bet she's not the only one. All over America, Republicans are frantically trying to figure out how they can use "Cigar-gate" to best humiliate Hillary Clinton and scupper her chances for the Democratic nomination.

Because, as so often happens in cases where men behave badly, it's the women involved who take the punishment. They are the ones who are scrutinised and found at fault; for wearing too much or not enough make-up; for being too uptight or too sexually available; caring too much or too little; being helplessly naive or dangerously calculating.

In the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, both women became cartoons of pathetic, powerless femininity – lampooned in bars, clubs and at dinner tables world-wide. If Lewinsky was a slut, then Hillary must be frigid. We all colluded. I doubt if there's a person on this planet over the age of 20 who hasn't at some stage made a joke about cigars, deep throat, Lewinsky's blue dress or Hillary Clinton's sexual preferences. (Just last week radio host Glen Beck said, "Hillary Clinton will be having lesbian sex in the White House [if she is elected].")

Please sign in or register with Independent.ie for free access to Opinions.

Sign In

Don't Miss