I usually spend Saturday mornings catching up on emails and news articles that I find of particular interest. Yesterday, the one article that caught my attention was this week’s TED talk featuring Monica Lewinsky as the speaker.
If you are my age or older Monica Lewinsky needs no introduction, but many from the younger generation may only recognize her from rap songs, as her name has been used in over 40 of them. But before she inspired artists like G-Eazy, Monica Lewinsky, was the White House intern who became famous for having an affair with her boss, the President of the United States of America, Bill Clinton.
Once dubbed as a tart, a mature and poised, Monica delivered a serious message that is helping her redefine her own narrative and is giving a purpose to her past. She is now an activist that speaks out against cyberbullying.
Lewinsky was guarded as she delivered her speech, but through a tiny crack, she gave the audience enough of a glimpse, to remind us that she is a human being, who feels and who hurts. And that is something, that none one ever really thought about, when that scandal broke and as it replayed on a perpetual media loop until the public’s interest became completely saturated.
Lewinsky’s message was a blend of a relevant topic and the most personal of all accounts. The very human manner in which she shared her story and the pain of her mistake elicited a deep sense of compassion from the audience. It even took the spotlight off of her for a moment and shined it onto each of us, as we all did our part to in some way to perpetuate the scandal.
I myself am accountable: When Lewinsky spoke about the black beret and the blue dress I was reminded of my choice in Halloween costume that year. Resembling hair color, style and body type made me such a perfect Monica that even Bill Clinton wouldn’t have known a difference.
We all like to believe that these stories have nothing to do with us. But in reality we all do our part, no matter how small it might be, to contribute to the issue and perpetuate industries that, as Lewinsky describes, traffic in humiliation. By subscribing to gossip web sites, paparazzi, reality programming, news outlets and even political scandals we are all contributing to industries whose commodities are shame and public humiliation. And we all do our part to cast a stone.