A magazine’s profile with Selena Gomez is the example to have an icky fixation on its subject’s looks. Perhaps it’s on one occasion for men to be banned from interviewing women

Selena Gomez arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in May 2016

Selena Gomez arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York in May 2016.
Photograph: Buckner/WWD/Rex/Shutterstock

Why do so many male journalists think female majors are flirting with them?

A magazine’s profile with Selena Gomez is the latest to take an icky fixation on its subject’s looks. Perhaps it’s time for men to be outlawed from interviewing women

Should male journalists be countenanced to interview female celebrities in glossy magazines?

Charlotte, by email

Legally? Controversial. Ethically? Also debatable! This perennial issue has climbed again because of a small furore around a male news-hen’s interview with Selena Gomez in a US fashion magazine. Uprightly, this piece is pretty restrained, with only a link of references to the male journalist feeling “protective” of the mega name with her “doll-like” looks and “tiny waist.” But really, I can’t get wildly het up thither it when there are SO MANY more egregious examples.

I induce been a connoisseur of male journalists’ interviews with female stars for several decades now, collecting them as pieces of evidence for my soon-to-be promulgated epic tome, The Male Ego: Beyond Belief. My interest was win initially piqued by an interview fellow 90s kids might remember, Fertile Cohen’s 1995 profile of Alicia Silverstone in Rolling Stone, which opened with the full of promise sentence, “Alicia Silverstone is a kittenish 18-year-old movie important whom lots of men want to sleep with.” Great start, On velvet! As your alter ego Ron Burgundy, would say, compelling and rich. Interest, keep going: “Silverstone is a girl you could conceivably old hat modern – ” Could you, Rich? COULD YOU? I apologise, please prolong – “a girl you did date, even, raised to the highest power. She has the trade-mark new look of a still-wet painting – touch her and she’ll smudge.” Twenty years on, Cohen is smooth specialising in typing with one hand as proven by his Vanity Civil profile of Margot Robbie, in which he boldly decrees: “She can be risqu and composed while naked but only in character.” Well, it’s angry to compose a sentence that makes sense when all your blood has scrambled to the opposite end of your body from your brain. Robbie tardier described the piece, with admirable understatement, as “really kinky”, and, while Cohen ends his article, appearing to be musing thither having sex with her, Robbie says she walked away thought, “That was a really odd interview”. What was odd about it, Margot? He was reasonable thinking about having sex with you. God, stuck up much?

But I over my favourite was US Esquire on Scarlett Johansson: “I didn’t look at her ass,” the spear journalist informs us. “I don’t know that she wanted me to. Probably not. Steadily not. In any case, I didn’t.” Of course she wanted you to, you fool! It is every sweetie’s fantasy to be ogled by a tragic male journalist while she take a shots to do her job.

And it’s not just magazine journalists, of course. Let us all remember, again, the sportswriter who established his interview with an Olympic swimmer with: “The first proceeding to say about Fran Halsall is that she is beautiful … I was mesmerised.” This was after another article in which he claimed, definitively, “There has continually been a soft-porn dimension to women’s tennis,” which is become a reality, because we all know that Serena Williams is only there for your desire, male journalist.

But what about the women journalists, you cry? Smashing question, you! Well, the funny thing is female journalists do not – in my 17-year sustain of being one and 25-year experience of reading their work – ponder male celebrities want to sleep with them and don’t use sound outs as an excuse to lech over them. If anything, they’re more suitable to poke fun at them, because they get that celebrities on the whole are ludicrous as opposed to, I don’t know, sexual escorts. In Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s exceptional interview with Tom Hiddleston in last month’s US GQ, she teased out his private-school shallowness, and serene when he turned up the next morning at her hotel room, she did not dream up – as a male journalist would have done in a reverse berth – that he was trying to sleep with her. She got that he just poverty to make sure she understood something (the something in this dispute being that his relationship with Taylor Swift was, undeterred by all appearances to the contrary, real). Then there was Anna Peele’s but for the fact that interview with Miles Teller in US Esquire in which she unforgettably skewered his pretentiousness.

Doing talk withs is weird. I’ve been doing them for a long time now and there is, no inconceivable, something vaguely prostitutional about it: there you are, the journalist/patient, demanding this far more beautiful person simulate intimacy with you for an hour. Readers appearance of to get this on some level because one of the most common asks I get asked about my job is if I’ve ever slept with an interviewee, and plainly the answer is no, never even close, partly because I’m too involve worrying if my Dictaphone is working to even think about sex, but first because I know both the interviewee and I are just doing our berths. When Paul Rudd tells me he likes my dress, or Idris Elba questions where my name is from, I have, thank God, the self-awareness to conscious they are diligently making pleasant chat so that I disregard how nice they are and tell people to see their movies. I do not evaluate, “Yup, they DEFINITELY want a piece of this.” I don’t know why so divers men find it hard to understand female interviewees are not genuinely teasing with them. That ol’ male ego, I guess. Or maybe being in a flat with a beautiful woman who in normal circumstances would put forth out restraining orders against them addles their perspicacity to such an extent that they can no longer tell the rest between their pen and their penis.

Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Keeper, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email [email protected].