After almost a decade of silence, Monica Lewinsky is using her life story to draw attention to the toll that slut-shaming and cyberbullying exacts upon its victims. As she told the New York Times this weekend, Lewinsky refers to herself as “Patient Zero” in the humiliation news cycle that we’ve all grown accustomed to “which meant that, virtually overnight, she went from being a private citizen to, as she put it, ‘a publicly humiliated one.'”
Her recent TED Talk entitled “The Price of Shame” (watch below) shed light on Lewinsky’s struggle to stay afloat since the Clinton years. The Times reports that at 41, she has made a life without many of the comforts of middle-age or even youth: a permanent residence and a clear source of income. Lewinsky said she’s had trouble getting work.
Lewinsky drew a comparison from her own experience with public humiliation to Tyler Clementi, the Rutgers student who committed suicide after his roommate secretly streamed him kissing another man, in a Vanity Fair essay entitled “Shame and Survival.” She wrote:
“I would never be so presumptuous as to equate my own story with Tyler Clementi’s. After all, my public humiliation had been the result of my involvement with a world-renowned public figure—that is, a consequence of my own poor choices. But in that moment, when I felt the depths of my mother’s anguish, I wished I could have had a chance to have spoken to Tyler about how my love life, my sex life, my most private moments, my most sensitive secrets, had been broadcast around the globe.”
As Lewinsky said, “No longer. It’s time to burn the beret and bury the blue dress. And move forward.”
Watch her TED talk below: