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

Hadley Freeman at The Guardian wants to know why male celebrity journalists are such horndogs:

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

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

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

My $0.02: It’s defensible for a journalist – male or female – to comment on the attractiveness of an actress like Scarlett Johansson, who trades on her sexiness, in addition to her other talents.

It’s not defensible to do that with an athlete.

Definitely not with anybody else. Not women business leaders, or politicians, or crime victims, or everyday people.

I’m really glad I’m not a celebrity journalist.

I’d be really bad at it. I literally do not know who half the people named in this article are. Like, if you said their name to me and asked me who they were, I’d say, “No clue.”