Thursday, September 1, 2016

Monica Lewinsky and Shame

This study examines mainstream newspaper coverage of Monica Lewinsky in 1998, the year her relationship with President Bill Clinton came to public light. It looks at how a private citizen became a media phenomenon and takes into account Lewinsky's 2015 TED Talk, in which she discussed her public shaming. The analysis of 175 articles in the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times showed that Lewinsky was among the first viral internet sensations. As she noted in her talk 17 years later, the news media exploited and shamed her, speculating about her life to an extent that no other private figure had endured. The news frames used by the newspapers reflected stereotypical shaming narratives about sexualized women who do not conform to the traditional, passive role prescribed by the dominant patriarchal ideology. Lewinsky was portrayed solely in the context of her association with men. The newspapers also portrayed feminists as a homogeneous group that was hypocritical in its responses.

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