3. She Googles herself. This counts as bravery, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve done one season of reality TV, and even I don’t Google myself because of the horrible things people write on the Internet. You have no idea (or maybe you do, because sometimes they’re in the comments section at The Root). And I have no sex scandal to speak of. Still, she looks, usually when she gets a call from her doorman that the paparazzi have shown up at her building. She Googles to find out what she’s in the news for this time.
Lewinsky provides a “snapshot of a scenario I’ve grown all too accustomed to,” most recently when a conservative website unearthed exchanges between Hillary Clinton and a close friend that mentioned Lewinsky.
“My heart sinks,” she writes. “I know what this means. Whatever day I’ve planned has been jettisoned. To leave the house—and risk a photo—only ensures that the story will stay alive.”
4. She’s disappointed in feminists (and isn’t one). Lewinsky expected feminists to come to her rescue, “given the issues at play—gender politics, sex in the workplace,” but expressions of support were few and far between.
“I still have a deep respect for feminism and am thankful for the great strides the movement has made in advancing women’s rights,” Lewinsky writes. “But, given my experiences of being passed around like gender-politics cocktail food, I don’t identify myself as a Feminist, capital F.”
5. The essay’s timing has nothing to do with Hillary Clinton’s likely White House bid. The first thing I thought about when I heard that Lewinsky had penned a personal essay for Vanity Fair was the timing of it in relation to all the buzz about Clinton running for president in 2016. I was—am?—sure that the heightened interest in Clinton meant that there was automatically a heightened interest in Lewinsky, the woman who notoriously had an affair with her husband. Lewinsky says that I—along with other people who think like me—am wrong.
“In 2008, when Hillary was running for president, I remained virtually reclusive, despite being inundated with press requests,” she writes. “Recently, I’ve found myself gun-shy yet again, fearful of ‘becoming an issue’ should she decide to ramp up her campaign. But should I put my life on hold for another 8-10 years?”
Later in the essay, she states definitively, “Despite what some headlines will falsely report about this piece, this is not about Me versus the Clintons … I wish them no ill will.”
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. Follow her on Twitter.