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Sexual Harassment

Q: I was recently reading an article about how difficult it is for feminist organizations to come to terms with Clinton's latest scandals:

Gloria Steinem asked: "Do I wish that Clinton were blameless? Do I wish that all this turns out to be false? Yes, deeply I wish that. But I am not blameless. How can I require a leader to be blameless?" "


I can't believe that Mr. Clinton is so special just because he's a Democrat. If that were the evil Newt Gingrich or that devil Bob Dole that was under investigation, would your group condone and excuse their actions?
Or perhaps what you're doing by trying to hide the truth is best for the women of the world. You're saying they can't decide for themselves: they're only women. I would appreciate a response. - Tony

Per your note to FEMINIST.COM--I noticed that you ended your letter stating: "You're saying they [women] can't decide for themselves: they're only women." I actually think it is you (and many others, too) who are underestimating the ability of Monica Lewinsky to decide for herself whether or not to have a sexual encounter with the President. My take is that both Monica and the President did decide for themselves. I wasn't 21 too long ago, so I am well aware of how in control over our sexual lives most women are at that age (or at least we are trying to be)--and Monica doesn't seem like any exception to this experience.

Another point was about Gloria Steinem's "hypocrisy." Although I can't speak for Gloria Steinem, I would like to point out that she has always been very clear that she is "for the rights and freedoms of all women everywhere"--this would include Monica's right to consensual sex--as well as Anita Hill's freedom from non-consensual sex.

And in response to one of your other points: "If that were the evil Newt Gingrich or that devil Bob Dole that was under investigation, would your group condone and excuse their actions?"--First, we are not "a group" that would make such a statement, we are a website that provides resources and information about women's lives. Second, the answer is: if Newt Gingich and/or Bob Dole were engaged in a consensual relationship with another woman--I wouldn't condone it. Consensual is the keyword. I also want to point out that infidelity cuts across party lines--as does relationships with younger women. Bob Dole left his first wife for a much younger woman. Newt Gingrich left his first wife while she was dying of cancer for a young second wife. George Bush was even having an affair during his presidency. As a feminist, I am not remaining silent to "protect Clinton"--I have actually been very clear about my belief that: If these allegations are true and if this was a consensual relationship--it is not my business to condemn or condone anyone. If we learn that Clinton did "force" Monica into an uncomfortable situation I will certainly think harder.


Amy

 

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