What Monica Lewinsky understands about feminism that others don't

Still, today it seems Lewinsky has more clarity on her behavior than many feminists. As soon as the Vanity Fair article emerged, the conversation turned to one about whether or not “feminists” failed Monica. Certainly feminists at the time ignored the Democratic President’s misbehavior and viciously attacked Lewinsky. The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd is the name that comes to mind for describing Lewinsky as “a ditsy, predatory White House intern.”

That depiction was nasty and exposed a double standard within feminism, but the re-emergence of Lewinsky as an innocent, agency-less, victim is also off-the-mark. The new message is that Lewinsky was not responsible for her actions. That she ought to have been coddled by other women, when Lewinsky herself acknowledges she was fully capable of making decisions.

So why have feminists today suddenly turned their backs on the idea of “agency?” Why have progressive women who once saw “agency” in every dissatisfied housewife who left the domestic sphere, suddenly become so intent on stripping women of any functional power at all (except, of course, on the issue of abortion)?

Ultimately we do women a grave disservice by ignoring their agency.