She's been called some of the most spirit-crushing names in the dictionary, but Monica Lewinsky seems to have defied it all. On Thursday, Lewinsky shared a new anti-bullying video, detailing insults that she said have been hurled at her over the years. The anti-bullying activist endured intense public shaming following the revelation of her extramarital affair with former American president Bill Clinton in the late 1990s.
The video uploaded to Twitter is only 26 seconds long, but it covers the ground for some highly-charged names. "Slut, bimbo, floozy, vixen, tramp, that woman, whore, temptress, chunky, fat, Lardo Lewinsky, teacher's pet, then there was cry baby, and can't-take-a-joke," Lewinsky recalled in the video.
"Ditz, stalker, fame-whore, harlot, hussy, ho," she added as her voice faded away. At the end of the video, the hashtag #DefyTheName appeared and a message which suggested viewers to text DEFY to 741741 if they felt the need. The video is part of Lewinsky's new anti-bullying campaign, Defy the Name, which was launched in early October.
Lewinsky has been vocal about the harassment she received after Clinton's extramarital affair with her went public. In 2015, she said in a TED talk, "Now I admit I made mistakes — especially wearing that beret — but the attention and judgment that I received — not the story, but that I personally received — was unprecedented. ... I was branded as a tramp, tart, slut, whore, bimbo and, of course, 'that woman.' I was known by many, but actually known by few. I get it. It was easy to forget 'that woman' was dimensional and had a soul."
Lewinsky has been open about her thoughts on how social media influences user behavior and interaction with others. In some cases, the internet can be a vicious and lonely place. In an exclusive write-up for Vanity, Lewinsky wrote on the subject of her humiliation and how modern-day technology has the power to exacerbate the vulnerability of targets.
"We may not have become a crueler society — although it sure feels as if we have — but the Internet has seismically shifted the tone of our interactions," Lewinsky wrote for the magazine. "The ease, the speed, and the distance that our electronic devices afford us can also make us colder, more glib, and less concerned about the consequences of our pranks and prejudice."
So far, Lewinsky has received popular support for her social campaign from the likes of celebrities like Alan Cumming, Lena Dunham, Olivia Munn, Sarah Silverman, and John Oliver. Activists, too, have joined Lewinsky, such as comedian Maysoon Zayid.
With her campaign against name-calling and bullying, Lewinsky's core message is that people who are targeted with verbal harassment online and offline should not let those discouraging words define them.
Early in October, the former White House intern said the purpose of the campaign "is to show people that you can still feel something around the names and reclaim that power and move beyond it, to defy all those names."