Media and Bill Clinton Fostered Decades of #MeToo Silence

Media, Politics
Reading Time: 3 minutes

A USA Business Radio Media Wrap Up

Editors: The scandalous affair between Bill Clinton and an intern named Monica Lewinsky provided a sobering opportunity that should have empowered women to rise up against oppressive and powerful men.  Instead, it forced women into an even “Darker Age” of oppression in the world of business and politics.  Part of this is due to the fact that there were virtually no consequences — in the end — for Bill Clinton.  Sure, he was “embarrassed” but seemed to be more so for being caught, not the behavior itself.  Meanwhile, young Lewinsky’s career and personal life was largely derailed for decades.  Somehow, she become the butt of jokes, she was seen as the “home wrecker,” it was a terrible situation for a young woman dealing with an incredibly powerful man. Lewinsky was described and treated in a terrible way for decades.  It is it any surprise that young women that saw this treatment chose to be silent? 

People are beginning to rethink the Clinton years.  The former President’s work of fiction — “The President is Missing” (or wishes he was) — is seen by many as a smoke screen  to distract readers from his own #MeToo behavior, during the 20th anniversary of that scandal.  

Allison Yarrow writes at the Daily Beast :

“I had never heard the word “intern” before Monica Lewinsky became a news fixture. I was 15 years old when the story broke. Kids in Macon, Georgia, spent summers working in food services, playing baseball, or going to camp. We weren’t pursuing careers. I assumed “intern” was a bad word, because of the way it was being used to describe Lewinsky. A pseudonym for bitch or slut, not somebody who worked for free.

“August 6 will mark two decades since Lewinsky’s testimony before a grand jury, where she was forced to recount the minutiae of her sexual relationship with Bill Clinton, the president of the United States. Since then, I’ve thought a lot about how humiliating it must have been for her to describe what occurred in front of all those strangers. One of the people questioning her reads a rote definition of “sexual relations” to Lewinsky, asks her whether she understands it, and then offers printed copies to the jury. Lewinsky is chastised for saying Mmm-hmm. She later thanks her tormentors.

“What I knew about sex at that time I learned through two distinct vectors—school-based abstinence-only education, and popular culture. Shaming and blaming female sexuality while praising and celebrating male sexuality was enshrined in the media and its marketers. It informed the teen magazine quizzes that asked ‘Are you a Boyfriend Addict?’ ‘Are You Obsessed with Him?’ or ‘Are You Jealous?’ It underpinned the television shows I loved, like Saved By The Bell, and Beverly Hills, 90210, in which the male characters tackled the meatier dilemmas and ogled girls, while girls groomed themselves in pursuit of male attention. And it appeared in nearly every marketing campaign I can remember, to sell shoes, school supplies, and even cereal—Honey Nut Cheerios… (READ MORE)

Allison Yarrow: “I assumed “intern” was a bad word, because of the way it was being used to describe Lewinsky. A pseudonym for bitch or slut, not somebody who worked for free.”

The following videos powerfully capture how the media fostered the decades of silence and how it has recently evolved:




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