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Did Someone Forget To Tell Jessica Cutler She's Not Allowed To Be Happy?

Illustration for article titled Did Someone Forget To Tell Jessica Cutler Shes Not Allowed To Be Happy?

Where have I heard this before? Ever since word came out that former Washingtonienne and author Jessica Cutler became engaged, there have been a lot of people — mostly those who know nothing more than she had a bunch of sex with people and wrote about it — who have openly shit on her happiness. Interestingly, many of those people are female. Apparently, when a woman like Cutler, who is openly, unabashedly sexual, up and decides to get married to someone she, presumably, loves a great deal, the odds-makers come out start speculating about the inevitable divorce. What's up with that?


Cutler's fiancé, Charles Rubio, is a 28-year-old New York lawyer that Cutler told Gawker she met in a bar last March. I think we can all assume that Rubio has basic reading and Google skills and — having known Cutler for the last 9 months or so — a pretty good idea of what she's done, who she is and why he wants to spend his life with her. Why is is so improbable that a woman who enjoys sex, has had multiple partners, has written about it and who has had heaped upon her humiliation, public opprobrium and a lawsuit by an ex-lover, could fall in love? Is it so improbable that a woman such as Cutler could have found love, could be ready to build a life with someone that loves her, or could manage to beat the (statistical) odds of divorce that confound every couple willing to take the plunge?


But, let us be honest here. It's not because people think Cutler has "issues" — plenty of people with issues get married every day, and some of them stay that way. It's not because people know enough about Cutler to assess her ability to have and maintain long-term relationships — although, to point out, the blog that catapulted her into the public spotlight was meant for several long-term friends of hers, so she can apparently maintain relationships with people over the course of a few years. It's not because anyone commenting snidely on her chances of being happy knows anything about how she comports herself in a relationship, feels about Rubio, how Rubio feels about her or what they both want out of a marriage (and whether they've discussed that). It's because they think that, having allowed a number of different men into her bed, she's not the "kind" of girl who can settle down.

Let's try thinking about what Cutler and Rubio have going for them. Rubio can hardly have any illusions about the woman he's marrying — but he loves her and wants to spend his life with her. And, honestly, that's kind of sweet, and cool, and what you want in a life partner — someone willing to shoulder your burdens with you and take on the world with you. And Cutler, sure, she's slept with a bunch of guys and maybe drank too much, but there was something about this guy that made her want something more. He bought her a bracelet she liked because he thought it would be harder to lose than a ring, and she didn't whine about not having a ring just because it's what society demands. She likes that he asked her father first, and, when e-mailed for comment, he deferred to her for comment. It actually sounds like they know each other pretty well and have their shit together. So why is it that people seemingly think they are so much more likely to end up screaming at one another in divorce court?

Which is not to say they won't. Marriage is tough. Maybe it will all blow up and the people who like to point and tsk-tsk about women who aren't ashamed to have lots of sex will have another reason to say that women like Cutler don't get to be happy. But there is at least one person hoping that, despite the obstacles that will get thrown before them and the shitstorms that will rain down on them no matter what they do, that it does work out for them both... if only because seeing other people happy doesn't inspire disgust or envy as much as it helps keep alive the small flicker of hope that anyone can be.

Washingtonienne Jessica Cutler Engaged [Gawker]
Jessica Culter Is Engaged [DCist]

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I think there needs to be a definition of girl-on-girl crime. Like, (1) saying that something a woman does is fucked up does not equal girl-on-girl crime. Therefore, saying that Cutler is an asshole is not a g-o-g crime. (Calling her a bitch or a slut, however, is a girl-on-girl crime, because the use of those words as insults, gendered as they are*, is a crime against womanity.)

Having sex with a married man is more of a grey area, but I would hesitate to use the phrase girl-on-girl crime to define it. Girl-on-girl crime, I think, is hating on a woman because of something that is essential to her womanness (as in, not her actions or her general personality), or something that only women get hated-on for (like calling her fat/ugly/whatever), or using insults that have historically been used to silence and degrade women (like calling someone a slut or a bitch or a cunt, as an insult). Sleeping with a married dude isn't really a crime that someone does to another woman (presumably the wife of the dude you're boning), because the said sleeping-with-married-man lady never made any commitment to the wife. Is it kind of shitty? Possibly, and I think it depends on the situation. But it's not really fucked-up-creepy-bullshit, either.

Is sleeping with a married man, then posting personal information that could only lead to the devastation of the man's wife getting hurt very, very badly, and potentially ruining her life, simply to be mean a girl-on-girl crime? Most definitely. The only thing those women did to Jessica Cutler was to be the wives of men who cheat/solicit prostitutes. Because they are not culpable at all, in any way shape or form, and nothing they did led to their personal shit getting aired without their permission, in a very mean-spirited way, on the internet—the only thing they did was exist as wives. And that is hating on a woman for no reason except something about her that is essentially womanish (like being a wife) and also hating on them for something you wouldn't hate on a man for. So, Cutler is guilty of girl-on-girl crime in the worst degree, methinks, and she shouldn't be congratulated or defended for her bullshitty blog and the meanness she displayed.

Calling her a slut is also unacceptable.

To the people comparing her to Tracie—saying that what she did is shitty is not the same thing as saying that being a publicly sexual woman is the shitty thing she did. I think that excusing her behavior as an expression of sexuality (and therefore sacred in the courts of the Feminist) is to give privilege to female sexuality that blogs and posts like Tracies' aim to dispell. Being sexual and being a woman at the same time? Not. a big deal. So, if she's being sexual and a girl at the same time? Not. a big deal. It becomes a big deal, however, when she's deliberately posting things on her blog that hurt the women who are unknowingly married to the douches she slept with. To compare her behavior to Tracies' is absurd, and also insulting to Tracie and every openly sexual woman. I am not like Cutler just because I sleep around, even if I'm getting paid for it and even if I'm sleeping with married men. I'm only like Cutler if I'm then being mean about the women publicly.

And anyone who blames the married women for their husbands' cheating is fucked beyond belief. And anyone who blames Cutler for the mens' infidelity more than they blame the men for being emotionally devoid pricks who are seriously some of the shittiest people ever, are being naive and girl-hatey. They are the ones that made the comittment, they are the serious asses here. On the other hand, they never (to my knowledge) posted about their wives on the internet. Still, they are the reason for Cutler's knowing about their wives, and they deserve the harshest judment from the Feminist Court of Cimorene.

And can we please stop with the "slut" and "bitch," please? It's one thing to reclaim them. It's another to perpetuate the misogyny that's been around since men started hating women, and to participate in that hate and the double standards that are so sickening.

*Saying that you personally use the word slut to mean men as well as woman doesn't matter, because individuals don't determine the English language, the collective consciousness does, and the 21st century's English-speaking world's collective conscience says that slut and bitch are words for women.