WOMEN
05/07/2014 09:45 am ET Updated May 07, 2014

Monica Lewinsky's Return To Public Life Is Brave. Are We Brave Enough For Her?

Scott Gries via Getty Images

In 2006, I found myself at the center of an online controversy after posing in the center of a group photo with President Bill Clinton. I had the audacity to bring my breasts with me that day, and soon conservative bloggers were attacking me for wearing a shirt that was too tight – and for "posing" so as to "make [my] breasts as obvious as possible". Perhaps not shockingly, I was called a "Monica"; online comments were along the lines of "Who's the intern?". A well-known law professor and blogger even said that I "should have worn a beret" and that a "[b]lue dress would have been good too.”

Despite hundreds of blogs debating my feminist bonafides because of a Gap crewneck sweater and an onslaught of sexually violent emails, the harassment was relatively short-lived. (Though it did take a few months for the first Google search of my name not to be "Jessica Valenti boobgate".)

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