Oh, wow. If I were to ask any of our parricides to watch a presentation to demonstrate that life goes on, that it is possible to reclaim their own narrative, this is it.
“Who didn’t make a mistake at 22?” asks Monica Lewinsky. Who didn’t make a mistake at 11, or 14, or 16?
You have to admire the way that 17 years after the fact, Monica Lewinsky has stepped out of the shadows of “a life of approbation,” a life of being the punch line of hundreds of cruel jokes, and using her experiences to elevate the way in which we all treat one another.
In a talk titled “The Price Of Shame,” given last week at the TED 2015 conference, Lewinsky does not shy away from her role in the 1998 scandal that bears her name. In the ensuing public scrutiny of her private life, she “was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo, and, of course, ‘that woman.’
“I was known by many, but actually known by few,” said Lewinsky. “I get it. It was easy to forget ‘that woman’ was dimensional and had a soul.”
For Lewinsky herself, it was the death of Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide after a roommate secretly filmed his tryst with another male student, which spurred her into action. Having been harassed, mocked, and bullied, she demands in no uncertain terms that “public humiliation as a blood sport has to stop.”
To her it comes down to a question of compassion. “We all deserve compassion,” she concludes in her speech, “and to live both online and off in a more compassionate world.”
You can watch her entire TED talk below:
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