When the details leading to Matt Lauer’s firing broke a couple of days ago, my first thoughts were with his victims and my second take was, “Did he really think exposing himself was alluring?” This was not a new question. I had already wondered the same about Harvey Weinstein, Louie C.K., Charlie Rose and John Conyers.
This is one of the differences between men and women. Research* into women’s pornography-viewing habits reveals that women find the female body more attractive than the male’s; certainly artists have shared that belief for centuries. Men apparently don’t. I learned as the mother of two boys that at a very young age, males are proud of their genitals. I also have a daughter and the subject never came up. My sons were sensitive little guys, so they even sympathized with me for not being as lucky as they were.
Now we have grown men acting as if they never got beyond the pride of a four-year- old. Judging from the behavior of the aforementioned group, those men believe women are going to be shocked and awed into submission by the sight of their private parts. Women just don’t think that way. It is hard to imagine even the most predatory, powerful female CEO inviting a male subordinate into her office, locking the door, and dropping her designer pants.
Like many people, I wonder how many more days I will wake up to the news that one more famous man has taken advantage of the power of his position to force himself on unwilling women, men or children. To the men who are waking up during the night, wondering when they will be “outed” and lose their jobs: it is too late to undo past bad behavior but it is not too late to grow up. My mother-in-law would have said, in a different context, “pull up your socks.” To the sleepless transgressors out there: you know what you need to pull up.
*Yes, I really do research these weekly essays.