I'll begin by answering this question: Can a very attractive woman ever be so good at what she does for a living that her attractiveness is ignored by men? I think the answer is no. No matter how equal the sexes ever become. And I get why that totally sucks for professional women.
That could be under federal or state law for initial or subsequent distribution. The legal complexities of this situation make my head spin.
But I don't think we'll find this person. Why? Because the most brilliant computer minds in the country can't track down those who upload viruses on the Internet. Why do we believe we'll be able to find one pervert who uploaded the Erin Andrews peephole video in a country filled with millions of perverts?
And are the millions of perverts to blame? Did the sexual undercurrent of sports culture make something like this, frankly, unsurprising?
Let's begin with a thesis that I think most men will agree with: "If women truly knew how much time we spend thinking about sleeping with them, they'd never sleep with us."
Probably for the betterment of our society most women have no clue how sex-obsessed we men are in our ordinary lives. I know many women claim to understand, but they don't actually get it. It's like men claiming to understand the pain of giving birth. In theory, we get the concept, but we can't really grasp it. Men help hide this obsession because deep down we're all a little embarrassed by how much sex or the pursuit of sex motivates our actions. At least those of us who are smart enough to realize it. Marketers, television executives, movie producers, and others who make a living off society at large are not surprised by these obsessions. It's why every time I see one of those CSI-type shows, it involves a sex-crime gone awry. Often with a hot, young victim.
Remember back when Cinemax's softcore porn got you through high school? Well, now we live in a softcore porn universe. Everyone toes the line as best they can because sex moves products. Unless, God forbid, Janet Jackson's nipple gets revealed. And then, my God? What of the children?
Jamie Squire, Getty Images
Mark Cunningham, MLB / Getty Images
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Joe Robbins, Getty Images
We've drawn a weird line here that allows some companies in America to make money off sex while claiming that they aren't actually selling sex. Meet sports leagues. They support the troops. They would never sell sex. Except when they do.
Which ties right in with Andrews. Let's be clear, she's smart. She's good at what she does on the sideline; she's well-prepared, hard-working, professional, and always ready when the camera cuts to her. But, and this is the kicker, how many people in America could do Andrews' job for ESPN every bit as well as she does? I'll tell you, tens of thousands. Maybe even a million. Put plainly, Andrews wouldn't have her job if she looked like YouTube signing sensation Susan Boyle. No matter how good she was. She just wouldn't. Her looks open doors for her that no one else gets to walk through.
Now, once she's through that door she can demonstrate that she deserves the opportunity, that she's actually good at her craft. But it's her looks that open that door. And ESPN put her on television for one reason, because viewers, mostly male, are sexually attracted to her. Put it this way, if Andrews comes on the screen and the television is muted while I'm doing work, am I more likely to turn on the television to hear what she says than if it's an unattractive woman or Chris Berman?
Does that make me stupid?
Does that make me like just about every other male watching television?
I think so.
And Google proves it. While we all may be wagging our heads and tut-tutting about the immorality of the video in question, Google search knows all of our private obsessions. And Google search confirms that come Monday morning, "Erin Andrews" and derivatives were the two most popular search terms in Google; the search graph looks like a bull market. Even by Tuesday afternoon as I write this, she was still sixth, seventh and eighth.
Why is this?
Because ESPN has been selling us softcore sex via Andrews for several years, building up demand for a moment just like this. If you counted how many times men have mentally undressed Andrews while she's giving sideline reports, it would be in the billions. So it's no surprise that tens of millions have viewed the videos. Men from all walks of life, from neurosurgeons to janitors, ESPN executives to the local fan.
But I bet it is a surprise to Andrews. And that really sucks for her. And for women everywhere. It also illustrates how much difference there is between the sexes. Is there any man on earth who women would flock to see ironing clothes naked? I mean for another reason besides confirming that some men do iron clothes for themselves. President Obama? Clooney? Denzel? Mangino?
Nope, nope, nope and yikes. So, right now most women are either offended or befuddled by men's interest. Our minds aren't meeting. And it ain't the first time. The Erin Andrews video is just the latest fault line in sexual politics. Only this time, sports are intimately involved.
I'll put this in a personal context. My wife was a Tennessee Titans cheerleader. I didn't really enjoy it very much to be honest. I was happy when we moved away and she couldn't try out again. Why? Because every time the cheerleaders danced on the field and everyone stood up in the crowd, I knew most men were picking out the girl they'd most like to have sex with. I'd done it for years. Chances are if you're male and you're reading this, you've done it too. There's no other real reason for the football cheerleaders to exist from a male perspective. They're sexual fantasies brought to life.
My wife disagreed that their cheerleading role was entirely based on selling softcore sex. She enjoyed the performance aspect, learning the dance routines, the friendships with the other girls, meeting young children across the community. And that's all a part of it. But more than anything else the leagues are selling sex to their male fans. And most women have no idea how deep that river of desire actually runs.
Then one day a little girl came up to her. "When I grow up, I want to be a Titans cheerleader," the girl said, holding her dad's hand.
"Well, you can do this, but you should want to be a doctor or a lawyer," my wife said.
"Naw, cheerleader'd be good," her dad said, leering.
Later my wife pulled me aside, "Clay, I think most Titans fans would rather their daughter grow up and be a cheerleader than a lawyer."
"I think you're right," I said.
Because I think the message we're sending, fair or foul, is that no matter how good any woman is at her job, to a large majority of the men watching her at home, she's just the hot chick that they want to see naked. And you can't tell me that ESPN executives didn't know that too. That, even as they commiserate with Andrews via e-mail, phone calls or whatnot, a large percentage of her co-workers have probably sought out the Erin Andrews video somewhere on the Internet. Because they've probably been picturing her naked, too.
Men all say we all want a son to carry on the family name. But I think in this day and age that's not true anymore. I think we all just fear having a really hot daughter.