After nearly two decades America’s “Biggest Slut” finally speaks up

by Alexis Book

Lifestyle Contributor

Bill Clinton, a blue dress, and a national scandal. In 1995 a 22-year-old by the name of Monica Lewinsky started interning at the White House, where she later engaged in sexual relations with the then-president Bill Clinton. When news of this affair broke out Lewinsky was publicly shamed and her name was left to be thrown into the punch lines of bad jokes and rap songs. People gathered on the internet to attack her and the President and she had soon become a worldwide symbol for promiscuity and indecency. After nearly two decades of criticism, on March 19 Lewinsky finally spoke at a TED Talk entitled The Price of Shame.

The Price of Shame provided not only a personal narrative of the “Lewinsky Scandal” and her side of the story, but more importantly touched on the issues of cyberbullying, slut shaming, and the fueling of what Lewinsky called “a marketplace for public humiliation.” Lewinsky joked about herself while telling her tragic tale of having the internet attack her when she was weakest. She recalled her mother sitting by her bedside and making her shower with the door open, both of them afraid that the world would embarrass her to death.

Now Lewinsky has channeled her negative feelings of the media and cyber critics to a larger cause and hopes to help combat cyber bullying and to persuade Americans to become more empathetic while on the internet. She provided the audience with startling statistics from ChildLine about how calls related to cyberbullying have increased 87 percent since 2013. Lewinsky continues her statistics, “humiliation was (determined to be) a more intensely felt emotion than happiness or even anger.”

Her assessment of cyberbullying was followed by her critique of gossip magazines and hackers. Lewinsky touched upon the leaking of celebrities nude photographs from earlier this year and the Sony Pictures cyber hacking. “This invasion of others is a raw material, efficiently and ruthlessly mined, packaged and sold at a profit. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry. How is the money made? Clicks. The more shame, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more advertising dollars.”

Lewinsky’s TED Talk shocked and amazed those in the audience. She brought light to not only the issues that she faced but the issues that other young people around the world face with the new digital millennium. Lewinsky finished her speech triumphant, leaving a feeling that she was poised and proud — no longer so deeply affected by the negative words that have been thrown at her since she was twenty four. After keeping silent for almost a decade, Lewinsky proved that it’s never too late to fight back against negativity and to keep your head held high.

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