Monday, August 31, 2015

Victimizing women stops when we no longer make them victims

At a dinner last night, Monica Lewinsky was mentioned again. Although she disappeared for quite sometime after her involvement with Bill Clinton, her name seems to come up whenever the Clintons are discussed in any political climate. Yesterday, it was about Hillary Clinton's progress and potential 2016 election win.

There's no question that the Clinton's have won the ire and skepticism of the public for some time now. It's not clear whether their negative reputation stems from their own doing or whether it's just all political. Bill Clinton was widely respected during his time in office, although Hillary just had a knack for pissing everyone off, whether or not it was political.

So far, Hillary is ahead in the polls as the Democratic candidate for president. She has definitely come a long way since her last run. Only now she has to contend with the likes of Donald Trump, who as of this writing has moved ahead as the top conservative pick. Yet she also has to contend with the Monica Lewinsky scandal as well. That's not the case with Bill though. He has managed to move on with his life despite his manipulation of Lewinsky, who was a naïve, young intern at the time the scandal broke out. On the other hand, Hillary is still plagued by the affair, as recent remarks were introduced by conservatives somehow tying the infidelity to her competence.

To some, this blog post appears to be another attempt to victimize women again. To distract from the campaign and somehow turn what is political into a personal vendetta against women. If so, it's because those are the circumstances that women confront to this day. Just ask the conservative who likened Hillary Clinton's competence as a former Secretary to her husband's Lewinsky affair.

Last night's conversation took a different approach. The discussion switched briefly and subtly to whether or not Lewinsky was manipulated or the manipulator in her affair with Bill Clinton. It was a deliberate attempt to provoke and take the conversation to a more heated debate, one that my guests were more than welcome to engage in. The fact that a young woman who was undoubtedly enamored by the prestige and position of her person of interest is still discussed in terms of making the victim out to be the aggressor just magnifies the challenges that women continue to face.

Hillary is ahead at the polls, and that's a good thing. But so is her husband's affair and it's not to judge the willing party, but to judge her competence as a leader. That's a bad thing. Whether it's at the dinner table among friends, or splattered across media headlines, it just goes to show the hurdles that women have to overcome. If this is a tale of victimhood really depends on the reader's perception. If we want to stop victimizing women - whether it's through unfair judgments shared by the media or through manipulation of naïve interns - means that we need to stop turning those women into victims.

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