Many of us might think the reason Stormy Daniels has been treated so much better than Monica Lewinsky by the mainstream media is that she is threatening a Republican president rather than a Democrat, as Lewinsky was.
But according to the New Republic, this is a healthy development we can thank “feminist activists who, in the intervening decades, fought against the shaming of women over consensual sex.
“As a result of that social change, Daniels has emerged as a potent adversary of President Donald Trump, whereas Lewinsky was forced to flee the spotlight.”
The Jeet Heer piece headlined “A Tale of Two Women, and Two Eras,” seeks to explain why Lewinsky was vilified and Daniels has been “praised or ignored.”
Part of the reason Lewinsky was treated harshly because it served just about everyone’s interests, Heer said.
“Both Clinton’s supporters and detractors were politically motivated to paint Lewinsky in the worst possible lights,” he wrote. “To the former, she was a narcissistic sycophant who tarnished the most effective liberal president since Lyndon Johnson. To the latter, she was a tramp who proved the Democratic president’s depravity.”
Moreover, Lewinsky was much younger – 24 when the scandal broke – when she found herself in the spotlight. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is 38 and has been in the adult entertainment business – as a stripper, porn actress or director – for most of her adult life.
“So, they say, ‘Hey, you’re a whore … ‘I’m like, ‘That’s successful whore to you,’” she told CNN.
Meanwhile, Lewinsky continues to try to move past events that occurred 20 years ago. According to Heer, she told Vanity Fair in 2014 she had become “not a person but an archetype: ‘Me, America’s B.J. Queen. That Intern. That Vixen. Or, in the inescapable phrase of our 42nd president, that woman.”
But the big difference is that women in Daniels’ position are viewed differently now thanks to those trailblazing feminists, Heer wrote.
“Daniels’ forthrightness has been enabled by the last generation of feminist activism. Over the last decade, sex-positive feminists have waged a war on ‘slut-shaming,’ and this has changed how sex scandals play out politically. For instance, attempts to tarnish first lady Melania Trump for her past as a semi-nude model, both in the 2016 campaign and after, have fallen flat.”
The right has been “relatively quiet and tame” in its coverage of the Daniels story, Heer writes, and they’re holding back for fear she might have evidence to prove her affair with the president and because they figure he probably did it.
“The reticence of the right might also be motivated by their awareness of Trump’s character,” Heer writes. “While Clinton’s infidelities were also widely known, it still seemed shocking that so astute a political figure would risk wrecking his presidency on an office fling. With Trump, few will argue that it’s implausible he had an affair with a porn star and paid her hush money.
“We all know what Trump is,” Greg Gutfeld said. “That’s why this Stormy Daniels thing doesn’t really resonate with Americans. Americans know what they were elected. So Donald Trump is attracted to adult film stars. I think that’s not shocking.’”
There is nothing hypocritical about liberals championing Daniels after having attacked Lewinsky, Heer said.
“The difference is less the result of partisanship than the evolution of social mores,” he wrote. “It’s no accident that Lewinsky herself is being treated more favorably by liberals in recent years – and that there’s a growing belief on the left that Clinton should have resigned.”
It’s easy to call for the resignation of a president who has been out of office for 18 years. It’s easy to put it all down to evolving social mores and swashbuckling feminists moving the fences back. But the fact is the mainstream media protected Clinton and jumps at anything to attack Trump.
And the story they keep waiting for Daniels to tell has already been told.