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Another woman has charged that when she asked him for a job he invited her into his private office, fondled her breasts, and placed her hand on his crotch. A third woman confided to friends that when she was a year-old intern she began an affair with the man—much older, married, and the head of the organization whose lowliest employee she was. Actually, it was less an affair than a service contract, in which she allegedly dashed into his office, when summoned, to perform oral sex on him. After their liaison was revealed, he denied everything, leaving her to be portrayed as a tramp and a liar.

Let us not even mention the former lover who was steered to a state job; or the law-enforcement officers who say the man used them to solicit sexual partners for him; or his routine use of staff members, lawyers, and private investigators to tar the reputation of any woman who tries to call him to for his actions. Can you find the problems with his behavior?

Take your time: these problems are apparently of an order so subtle as to escape the notice of many of the smartest women in America—the writers, lawyers, activists, officeholders, and academics who call themselves feminists. With very few exceptions, feminists were either silent Clinton older single women dismissive this time. It was not until former White House volunteer Kathleen Willey appeared on 60 Minutes in mid-March to make public the allegation she had formerly made in a deposition—that Clinton had manhandled her during a private meeting in which she sought a paying job—that some feminists began to make reluctant noises of dismay.

Many others hung tough. But to come to any judgment now is definitely not something that I think is timely. My own sampling of feminist opinion found women offering an astonishing array of strategies for avoiding the elephant in the living room:. If the hypocrisy and the powers of denial are impressive, one must consider that these women have had a lot of practice. In the Lewinsky case, it has fallen to their enemies to state the obvious. Since when did the president use the interns as a dessert cart?

Clinton older single women Thomas was their enemy. Bob Packwood, a liberal Republican who was the next habitual boor to walk the plank, was a harder case for feminists, but in the end they tied the blindfold. Feminists are quick to say that any charges of hypocrisy lodged against them are the work of the anti-Clinton right. And if they can get feminism, even greater. So it seems appropriate to say here that I am a feminist and a registered Democrat. Yet I also feel something close to fury over their failure to call Clinton to for his actions.

To be sure, it is possible to find a reason, consistent with at least some brand of feminism, to dismiss every allegation that has been made against President Clinton. Monica Lewinsky was apparently an eager partner. The White House, in fact, broke its otherwise stony silence to besiege reporters with detailed catalogues of the many friendly notes Willey had written to the president since The individual pieces of the Clinton saga are complex, snaky things with their own tawdry confusions.

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But these are precisely the complications that Clinton has capitalized on. The truth is that, while a lot of the facts are murky, enough of them are clear. We know that there is extensive evidence of a relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky that has not been challenged by the administration.

We know that Arkansas state troopers have said under oath that Clinton used them to enable his sexual escapades in Little Rock. Instead, they have taken refuge in legalisms. But since when did feminists see their mission as defining and denouncing only that which is illegal? Clearly the Monica Lewinsky scandal is not a case of illegal sexual harassment. In their sudden and exclusive reverence for the law, feminists have jeopardized some of their greatest achievements. He is pro-choice; he ed into law the Family and Medical Leave Act, which had been vetoed twice by a Republican president; he favors affirmative action, which benefits women more than any ethnic group in the country; he has made child care a policy priority this year.

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According to the Center for the American Woman and Politics, Clinton has appointed 10 of the 21 women who have served in Cabinet-level positions, including the first woman ever to be secretary of state or attorney general. Anita Perez Ferguson, who is now president of the caucus, formerly worked in the Clinton administration, as a White House liaison for the Transportation Department, and at the Democratic National Committee.

Just because she is friends with Hillary. To this day, they remain angry at him for ing into law the radical welfare revisions ofwhich overwhelmingly affect poor women. But with that exception, there has been a sea change in their attitudes toward him. For one thing, after the congressional elections ofthey saw him as all they had standing between them and Newt Gingrich.

Yet today Clinton is accused of traducing every boundary we have uneasily set around sex in the workplace, and Americans—especially American women—reply with a yawn.

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And Bill Clinton is allowed to have this year-old servicing him, with blow jobs or whatever, and women support him overwhelmingly? And in some sense Bill Clinton is fulfilling a sort of secret fantasy of a lot of American women, of this kind of old-fashioned, virile man. It is still possible that women will turn against Clinton. Memo to pollsters: Keep your eye on soccer moms, who may eventually tire of trying to explain oral sex to their nine-year-olds.

But Roiphe is onto something —a shift in elite opinion about both Clinton and sexual mores.

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The resulting exchange, published by the Observer in the February 9 issue, was galactically strange. It was the most embarrassing thing I had read in a long time. Forget the dog-in-the-manger, down-in-the-mouth neo-puritanism of the op-ed tumbrel drivers, and see him instead as his guests do: a man in a dinner jacket with more heat than any star in the room.

This is precisely the sort of retro whipped cream that feminists are supposed to be able to see through; once upon a time, they construed it as their job to help the rest of us do the same. As has been noted elsewhere, class dynamics, almost as much as politics, drove the differing reactions to Anita Hill and Paula Jones.

Hill was a well-spoken, Yale-educated lawyer; Jones was of the lower middle class. But when they decided, for other reasons, to keep their distance from her, her Ozark roots made her an easy woman to ignore. Other factors may have made her more credible than Paula Jones—her reluctance to come forward, for example.

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But it was surely not a coincidence that some feminists saw the light only when confronted with a gorgeous, mature woman whose voice, clothes, makeup, and manner all gave off the vibes of the upper-middle-class suburbanite. But in status terms—the terms that matter in the East Coast elites—she is irretrievably tacky, a creature from an Aaron Spelling show. Clearly this is a bunch of Wellesley girls saying that Wellesley girls and Yale graduates are worth fighting for, and high-school gr and hairdressers and lounge singers can be destroyed.

In easing past the contradictions of the feminist class system, Hillary Clinton is the crucial figure. But less appreciated is a second, more subtle way in which Hillary has shielded her husband. She is, in effect, his feminist beard: the symbolic guarantor of his political bona fides. He may hit on women like Gennifer Flowers and Paula Jones, her presence says, but when it came to sharing a home and a presidencyhe chose a woman like me.

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Again and again, feminists cite the Hillary factor as mitigating evidence. We were supposed to be doing away with the Madonna and the whore—or at least trying to integrate them. You know, his tone said, that crazy woman, that fantasist, that lying home wrecker.

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Far from protesting, many feminists have piled on. At the end of the Observer gathering, Erica Jong congratulated herself and her companions on their sisterly solidarity. If feminists had stopped to think of Lewinsky as a real person, it might have slowed them down.

So what should be the response of the person in moral authority? But feminists have an important stake in seeing Lewinsky as a competent young sexual adventuress: a portrait in avid consent. If there was consent, there was no victim; no victim, no problem. We need to trust the women here. To be sure, the May-December romance is always a complex, two-way transaction.

But what little we know of the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship suggests that in all of the specifics that matter—when he called, when and where they met, what they actually did with each other, and even when she was allowed to speak to him—the relationship was controlled duh!

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Why do feminists find it so hard to acknowledge the ugliness of this arrangement? Her eagerness to jump into the alleged affair, her apparent concept of herself as someone who could get power and self-esteem by having sexual affairs that she talked about widely, mark her as a clueless child of the sexual revolution.

At least Kaminer believes this argument. Paglia, for one, finds it hilarious that her views have so many new converts. Among the most honest women I interviewed for this piece was Marie C. Wilson, president of the Ms. Foundation for Women, who related her experiences, early in her career, as a lobbyist for liberal causes in the Iowa legislature. And this is why the feminist failure matters. Much social abrasion and anxiety went along with this shift, and much derisive complaining about the overreactions that uncertainty bred. But by and large it was a very healthy thing: a new social compact suggesting that behavior of the kind Clarence Thomas was said to have exhibited might or might not be a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, but that in either case it is outside the bounds of acceptable behavior.

A helpful analogy might be the episode in which candidate Clinton played golf at a club that admitted only whites. Everyone recognized that violence instantly, and Clinton, with the belated sensitivity of self-preservation, apologized. This is why even those feminists who were converted to indignation by Kathleen Willey are offering too little, too late. But the social sanctions against the behavior will be irretrievably damaged.

If you doubt this, look around. In the weeks that followed the Lewinsky scandal, those who had been most affronted by the awkward new social arrangements lately demanded of them shambled out of their caves to beat their chests. Conservative columnist John Leo, for example, crowed in U. These are all irrelevancies. This mess is on our hands, and we do not have the luxury of arguing with its existence; the Clinton older single women we can do is call it what it is.

Finally, feminists have a special responsibility to loathe the lies, implicit and explicit, with which Clinton has consistently tried to cover his tracks: feminism, at its Clinton older single women, is about helping women to respect what is true over what is convenient. Must he hide behind the rest of us too? The version of Gaslight stars Charles Boyer as the sinister new husband of an innocent young woman played by Ingrid Bergman and named, as luck would have it, Paula.

Boyer, who plans to do away with his wife, first plots to drive her crazy—or at least to convince her and the rest of the world that she has lost her mind. He does this by stealing little objects and then convincing her that she has lost them; by dimming the gas-fueled lamps and then telling her that she is imagining the waning of the light; by insisting, in sum, that she cannot trust the evidence of her own senses.

But we have no such excuse. Denial is insidious; it always claims more than you think you have ceded to it. Having said that, if Clinton had raped women, beaten up Hillary—real private sins would not be forgiven, no matter what the value of the public behavior. She died of cancer in January at the age of Vanity Fair. In. Our essential daily brief on culture, news, and style, plus a must-read weekly edition. And it's on the house. Share .

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