Players: Famed musician Courtney Love; women's interest blog Jezebel
Opening Serve: This spat actually has several opening serves all of which involve Courtney Love, while simultaneously pitching her own anonymous Jezebel column, accusing the site of "slut shaming."
- Part One: The singer's love-hate relationship with the feminist site began back in December of last year, when Love took issue with a post on Hugh Hefner's sex routine. Love tweeted at Jezebel's Jessica Coen, "site is seriously befuddling, oh you ARENT a feminist site thats right your 'owned' by the bitches (men) at Gawker i forgot!" and "im really confused, i just read the 'holly madison slut shaming butt sex' piece, i might seem 'nutty' on twitter, but you lose." Despite an apparent distaste for the site, Love reached out to Coen not but a month later to pitch an anonymous "not really gossip...but sort of bitching" column for the site. The indecipherable yet wonderful query can be read here. Coen insists that she embraced the column idea but never heard back.
- Part Two: Courtney Love returns. This time, it was a twelve-word post in which Jezebel editor Dodai Stewart muses what advise Courtney Love would give self-described "crazy" actress Taylor Momsen, that sparked the aspiring columnist's ire. In yet another confusing email, Love tells Stewart, "I'm a big fan of the site when you are not slut shaming" and muses on Momsen for a while. She also makes a couple plugs for her already-approved column.
- Part Three: Apparently unaware that, despite now twice accusing Jezebel of "slut shaming," her anonymous column already had been given a go, Love decided to take her thoughts elsewhere: Sassy and Jane magazines founder Jane Pratt's new site xoJane. The inaugural edition of "Courtney's Diary" starts off with this clarification:
I'm only doing this because I love Jane magazine, and I loved Sassy before that, and obviously, I just love Jane. I'm really glad that she's returned to us. I kind of want to slam Jezebel, but I won't. I'll save it. Because otherwise the Gawker people will torture me for the next two weeks. Because Jezebel I used to read, but then they do slut shaming. Jane is anti-shame. Pro-slut.
Return Volley: This last throw finally elicited a reaction a public reaction from Jezebel, written by Jessica Coen. While admitting that "this breaks my tiny heart a bit, seeing as the better part of my teenage years were spent adoring Courtney Love," Coen asks, "why does Courtney think this of Jezebel, a site that employs a staff of free-fucking women, including one who notoriously went by the pseudonym Slut Machine? Not quite sure, frankly. Because we don't slut-shame. Plain and simple." She details the aforementioned saga of Love's tweets and emails before declaring: "Well we're not [anti-slut], obviously, and it's not like Courtney's insanity isn't well-documented (despite her being sharp as a tack, which she is)." She continues:
And we're not feeling particularly defensive about the mischaracterization — if we were, we'd take the time to link the hundreds of posts we've done about happily slutting it up — though I realize writing this may suggest that we are. Really, I'm just a little baffled that she (a) even remembered thinking we were slut-shamers; and (b) has emerged, almost like clockwork, to remind us (and now everyone) of that opinion. I guess our thoughts on assfucking with Hugh Hefner really left a mark. I do wish she hadn't read the site, some five months ago, in the way that she did. And to the xoJane editor — Pratt herself, perhaps — charged with editing Courtney's diary: Bless you, because that must be an experience.
In the end, though, it all comes back to Hefner and the original article about his sexual activities with his girlfriends. Coen concludes, "That said, butt sex with a lubed-up, Viagra-fueld octogenarian is not our cup of tea, and we'll stand by that."
What They Say the Fight's About: Love considers Jezebel anti-slut, really, anti-feminist because of the site's non-endorsing coverage of Hugh Hefner's love interests and assertion that "Taylor Momsen is not a role model!" Coen and the Jezebel crew insist "we're pro-sluts. Go sluts! Slutwalk on with your bad selves." Coen also insists that she is pro-Courtney Love, but suggests Love's anger towards the site might stem from her proven craziness.
What the Fight's Really About: There's hardly a hidden meaning to this one, and at the center is Jezebel's acknowledged distaste for Hugh Hefner's orgies, as described by his ex-girlfriend. Based on her correspondence, Love seems to identify in some way with the women she accuses Jezebel of "shaming." Coen, for her part, clearly wants to clarify that "it's entirely possible--dare I say common--to find a guy and/or his proclitives unattractive and still not pass any judgement on the women involved with him." Moreover, Coen really just wants it known that Jezebel loves Courtney. "I gave her my phone number but, alas, she never emailed again. She didn't even call or text (and I was really hoping for some text messages)," she confesses.
Who's Winning Now: The ball is back in Love's court. Though she's now writing for xoJane, "Courtney's Diary" is hardly the anonymous Jezebel column she had in mind. Jezebel, it seems, is still here for Court if she'll have them, so maybe, if Love can at least agree to disagree on the whole "slut shaming" thing, a column by an "Anonymous Rock Star" might be in the future. If so, all of us, fans of both sides included, will win.