Remember the time the horny old dude laid down an ‘interview’ with Margot Robbie that was so bad, we all considered getting restraining orders against both the journalist and the article? I believe we entitled it Another Man Writes Article From Perspective of His Own Dick. In fact, let’s call this entire genre of ‘journalism’ the Dick Gaze. The Dick Gaze is like the male gaze except it gets far more personal, with special time dedicated to writing about a woman’s hair, followed by vulnerability, eye colour and waist size.
This time it was Rob Haskell ‘interviewing’ Selena Gomez for Vogue. Why major publications continue to send out men to do jobs during which they are incapable of not staring inappropriately at women, I’m not sure. But I’m guessing it has something to do with the patriarchy. Oh, and no, this isn’t Haskell’s first rodeo – you might vaguely remember the name from the time he referred to Cara Delevigne’s sexuality as a phase in another cover profile for Vogue: “Her parents seem to think girls are just a phase for Cara, and they may be correct,” then later adding in the same interview that he also told Delevingne she should take his advice and “trust a man”. LOL, Rob. Lol.
In his Selena Gomez ‘profile’, Haskell cooks dinner with her. A simple task that definitely doesn’t involve looking intimately at someone’s hair, you might think. No! You are wrong: “As I slip an apron over her mane of chocolate-brown hair, for which Pantene has paid her millions, and tie it around her tiny waist, I wonder whether her legions have felt for years the same sharp pang of protectiveness that I’m feeling at present.”
Using the kinds of twists and turns that only a self-important man can use, Haskell also ends up comparing Gomez to Woody Allen in an unbelievable monologue that, as per the Dick Gaze, has absolutely nothing to do with Gomez:
“Gomez traces her shift toward the unfiltered back to a song she released in 2014 called “The Heart Wants What It Wants,” a ballad about loving a guy she knows is bad news. The title derives from a letter written by Emily Dickinson, though Woody Allen reintroduced the phrase when he used it to describe his relationship with Soon-Yi Previn. We can assume that Gomez is referring here to Justin Bieber, with whom she ended a three-year relationship at around the time the song debuted.”
And hi, over here, this: “Doll-like and startled in pictures but almost breathtakingly at ease in person.” And let’s not forget, as is the tradition when men are tasked with profiling young women, her “enchanting incongruities.” Which to Haskell, and most other male journalists, seems to be turning any kind of crucial emotional labour into a farcical, ‘coming of age’ feminine fragility. The conversation and ensuing write-ups always seem to come at the cost of the interview subject’s actual voice, when Gomez does manage to get a word in she is insightful; there’s a pretty distinct hard edge to her that Haskell skirts in favour of making her into a startled doll. Which, my friends, is pretty much the history of women under the patriarchy.
Vogue. Hire new people. Goodbye and goodnight.
On a roll? So is the patriarchy!