Three Past Examples Of Maureen Dowd Slut Shaming Monica Lewinsky

In her latest New York Times column, Maureen Dowd writes once again about Monica Lewinsky, the only reason she has a Pulitzer Prize.  In the piece, Dowd revisits an incident from 1998 when Lewinsky approached her at a Washington, D.C. restaurant.  President Clinton’s former mistress asked her why she was so mean to her in her columns.

Dowd doesn’t recount her reply.  That’s because it’s too embarrassing.

Back in the summer of 1998 when she first wrote about this moment, she noted that her response was simply, “I don’t know,” as she “shrugged, lamely.”  According to Dowd, Lewinsky “sashayed away, looking triumphant”.

Dowd tells a different story in 2014.

“Monica bristled with confidence when she talked to me, but then she retreated to the ladies’ room and had a meltdown on her cellphone with [crisis manager] Judy Smith…[now] a co-executive producer on Shonda Rhimes’s ‘Scandal,’…”

Did the judgmental Dowd follow her all the way into the can to get that “scoop”?  Smells like revisionist bullshit to me.

At any event, Lewinsky is back in the news because she’s written a piece for Vanity Fair.  Now 40, she is eager to do something positive with her terrible past mistake, namely be an advocate for those who have also been publicly slut shamed on the Internet.  (I would strongly recommend she contact Emily Linden of The UnSlut Project.)

And no one publicly slut shamed Lewinsky more than the awful Dowd.  Slate’s Amanda Hess offers several notable examples here.  Here are three she didn’t mention:

In a June 1999 column entitled The 16th Minute, Dowd snarked over Lewinsky’s plans to launch her own line of purses, totes & lipstick:

“For sheer cringe-worthiness, a Monica lipstick ad, focusing on those shiny pillow lips, would probably top a Bob Dole erectile dysfunction ad.”

Then she writes this:

“Given that Monica still doesn’t seem to appreciate the concept of a private life, much less that she was the occasion for a gross constitutional crisis, I suppose we should be grateful that she isn’t hustling her own line of lingerie ‘Made especially for you by MONICA.”’

Followed by this:

“The former intern would fit perfectly into the TV cosmos created by David E. Kelley, which features neurotic, boy-crazy women who use sexual wiles to get ahead.”

The Victorian snoot mentions Ally McBeal (“the female lawyers’ skirts come up and their hair comes down.”) and Snoops (“One of the detectives dresses like a hooker to blackmail a deadbeat dad into handing over his wallet.”)

In a May 1999 column entitled Leech Women In Love!, Dowd compared Lewinsky (and writer Joyce Maynard who had a secret affair with J.D. Salinger) to a fictional 1950s horror villain:

“Then there is the Gen-X Leech Woman, the indefatigably exhibitionistic Monica Lewinsky, who insists, all her alleged humiliation notwithstanding, on not going away.”

[snip]

“These two highly skilled predators keep trying to extract celebrity from old love affairs that were not only brief and puerile but sexually tortured. They want to gain immortality — and big bucks — by feeding off the detritus of their triste trysts with older, famous men.

If they were microscopic organisms, we would call them parasites. They are worse than social climbers. They are sexual climbers.”

Then she complains about Lewinsky complaining about the media’s sole obsession with her sexualized image:

“Monica got huffy on a recent publicity tour designed to drum up flagging sales of her book when interviewers had the temerity to ask about the book. As she hawked her affair, she took offense at the suggestion that it was all that is interesting about her. It is an essential characteristic of the Leech Woman to believe that she is independent, that she has a self beyond the self that preys. She is a cross between a vamp and a vampire who wants to be treated like a movie star.”

In a January 1998 column entitled Undercover Advisor, back when the affair was first reported, Dowd hoped Clinton “had sex with her.  Because the alternative explanation [regarding their frequent contacts] offered by Monica Lewinsky’s lawyer is far more disturbing.”

That alternative explanation being that Lewinsky was some kind of “policy advisor” who helped the President with important political decisions.  Oh my God.  The horror!

“White House officials must have been secretly relieved when the press assumed the May-December relationship was sexual. They figured Mr. Clinton could survive another sex scandal, but he could never weather a competence scandal.”

“The American people will only put up with so much. They would never stand for a 24-year-old running the country.”

By “They”, she clearly means herself.  In Dowd’s mind, being a mistress is less offensive than having a brain.  And being a mistress who refuses to be shamed into silence and who refuses to leave the spotlight is even more repugnant.

But lest we forget, it wasn’t Lewinsky’s choice to go public with all of this in the first place.  Thank her supposed friend, Linda Tripp, and the bloodthirsty Republicans for that.  And it also wasn’t her choice to be smeared and slandered by media professionals, feminists and politicians, all of whom should hang their heads in shame for their deplorable comments.

As Amanda Hess noted in Slate, Lewinsky hasn’t been able to move on from the affair because we won’t let her, no matter how hard she tries.  Bill Clinton survived his regrettable impeachment proceedings over it to finish his second term and today, like Jimmy Carter, has a better reputation now than he ever did as President.

How is this fair?  How can a married man who took advantage of a younger employee during a government shutdown and encouraged her to be fed to vindictive wolves like Maureen Dowd come out looking better than ever?  Why is it that the other woman is forever the other woman?

In her recent column, Dowd writes that she’s willing to take up Lewinsky’s offer to have a drink together.  If I was the former intern, I’d throw my drink in her face without saying a word and sashay away, feeling triumphant.

Dennis Earl
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Thursday, May 8, 2014
3:44 a.m.

Published in: on May 8, 2014 at 3:45 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is: http://dennisearl.wordpress.com/2014/05/08/three-past-examples-of-maureen-dowd-slut-shaming-monica-lewinsky/trackback/

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 108 other followers

%d bloggers like this: