Her Ladyship

Notes from the gutter.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Washingtonienne

Well well well, look who's back. Washingtonienne, aka Jessica Cutler, just released her "book" that is based on her real-life experience here in Washington as an intern who sleeps with powerful men on Capitol Hill and accepts money from them. But she's not a prostitute, nosirree, she's just an intern struggling to get by on the paltry sums Hill types are paid.

Last summer, this all blew up when she posted on her blog tawdry details about the deals, including, gasp! anal sex with an uptight conservative type. Wonkette picked it up and for a day, all of work in DC stopped as emails raced around and people tried to figure out who the blogger was. Soon enough, her real name came out, as well as the office that she worked for (a Republican. HAH).

The thing was funny at the time because of the salacious details.

However, it did bug me then and it continues to bug me now.

Washingtonienne - let's continue to dehumanize her with this nickname, since she had no problem in turning herself into a stereotype - used her (so-called) good looks and sexuality to get ahead. How is this different from Hollywood starlets or NY actresses? In my mind, the crucial difference is that DC's work is supposedly mental. In theory, it's your brain power and hard work that will take you places here. Yes, I know, nepotism and connections are important in DC as well as everywhere else, but at least it's your intelligence that gives you your primary leg up.

Not for Washingtonienne, though. Her blog - haven't read the book, don't intend to - showed a complete disdain for doing any real work in DC. I have had a plethora of crappy internships, so I feel well-placed to criticize this attitude of entitlement. While not every internship I've had was that great, I really and truly was so happy to be here and part of a team that it made it acceptable. So as a former intern, I think that her mentality makes us all look bad.

But what even is more troublesome for me is that it's a young woman who's doing this. As a female who's been working in a male-dominated field for, christ, seven years, I can attest to how difficult it is to be taken seriously. The glass ceiling does still exist, even if it's more pliable than it used to be. I - and every other woman who's worked in my field - could tell stories of overt and subconscious slams against my professionalism and capabilities. When you have someone like Washingtonienne who doesn't even pretend to have a brain - and don't give me "the prostitution is empowerment, I am the puppetmaster" argument she used to say that she was manipulating the men and therefore stronger than them - then she really hurts the rest of us XX chromosomers. Not that I'm saying she and she alone has set back women's advancement in Washington, but things like this certainly don't help.

It does bring to mind (yet another) pet peeve of mine. Women here are discouraged from being feminine and attractive. It's almost like you can be that, or you can be respected and considered competent: you can't be both. There's a reason why Washington women are atrociously bad dressers. You can often see women on the Metro wearing those floppy bow ties and shoulder pad shirts that hearken back to the days of Mr. T. And don't get me started on how many times I've seen flowsy, unconditioned hair on passer-bys. It's almost like it's saying one is shallow to have opened a magazine in the past two decades, and for this I do blame the women themselves. Ladies, fight the power! Don't let The Man keep us down any more!

2 Comments:

  • At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am so utterly disgusted by Washingtonienne's blog (which I read after reading your own blog this afternoon-thanks for forcing me into the loop), that I feel I have to vent.
    First off, I question whether Washingtonienne and her half-empty brain (which seems to have been choked of both values and air while her mouth and nose and every other one of her bodily orifice were filled with the hard-on of some pathetic Senate Aide) warranted a whole blog from you at all. That acknowlegdes that people like her exist, which is so depressing I'd rather go on living my life where politics and sex-scandals are not interchangeable.
    And if she does warrant a whole blog--maybe she does, if the purpose was to attempt to empower us women--then I think you were far too lenient in your lack of Jessica-Cutler-bashing.
    This is a "woman" with no repsect for herself or anyone around her (apparently not even her parents, judging from the how much she is shamelessly capitalizing off of her pathetic sex-life), no sense of right or wrong, and no desire to please anyone but herself and her tan-line; she is the sluttiest woman I have ever seen off of the big-screen, and that is neither an exageration nor a small feat. Consider this as a good character indicator: She enjoys throwing up after a night of drunken sex because it fits into her sick anorexic life style! For the love of all that is good, what's wrong with this girl??
    I mean really. Women have it hard enough proving that they are worthy of respect in DC. I used to be thrilled to go into politics. Now I would rather light my hair on fire and put it out with a towel soaked in vomit than enter a world in which women like that are setting the precedent.

     
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