Out magazine finds only nine gay women powerful

Out magazine‘s “Power 50,” just like their Out 100, is always male-heavy, but this year, there are even less women than usual on the list. From last year’s 12, we’ve gone down to nine, and most of the ones on the list have dropped in placement, as well. And it also appears that Out has a small list of women that are allowed on the list that they will continue to shuffle around every year.

Ellen Degeneres is at number one this year, where she was two years ago before dropping to number two last year.

Also returning: Rachel Maddow (#4), lesbian House Representative Tammy Baldwin (#9), Wanda Sykes (#36), Suze Orman (#27), New York City council speaker Christine Quinn, Time Inc. group editor Martha Nelson (#39), Urvashi Vaid (#50) and Jodie Foster (#41) who they refer to as “the highest paid openly lesbian actor working in the industry today.”

And that’s all. What, no Lady Gaga?

I should also note that the percentage of women of color in the nine is also an accurate percentage of how many men of color are on the list as well. Read: very few.

Now, I’m aware that everytime a list like this comes out from Out or The Advocate I am rolling my eyes and myself or one of our bloggers are taking the opportunity to plead for more women. But I really have to say that there is no better time than now. There are so many queer women that are eligible for this list. I think it all comes down to how you define “power.” Will Out always find Marc Jacobs and Tom Ford more powerful than Christine Quinn? And Neil Patrick Harris more than Tammy Baldwin? Probably. They definitely find them more powerful than Houston’s lesbian mayor Annise Parker or out multimillionaire and new Chicago Cubs owner Laura Ricketts.

Laura Ricketts and Jane Valez-Mitchell

And if they’re going to include actors/comics/pundits and other well-known pop culture figures, then Out has overlooked Jane Velez-Mitchell, Cat Cora, Jane Lynch, Lily Tomlin, Mariah Hanson, Jillian Michaels, Linda Perry and Christine Vachon. It just makes them look like they aren’t giving much of an effort to be inclusive. Instead, they have a handful of women they’ll allow on the list because they’d be completely misogynistic if they didn’t. Of course Ellen is number one in 2010, they couldn’t deny that.

I’m curious if anyone actually buys Out. The cover stories rarely draw my attention, unless they are lists like this, but then I always walk away disappointed. If lesbians aren’t reading it, then perhaps we shouldn’t expect more visibility in Out.

Do you think it’s pointless to get my hopes up that a male-driven magazine being more inclusive to women? Am I expecting too much from a magazine with a tagline proclaiming itself “The world’s leading gay fashion and lifestyle brand?” I’d love to be more hopeful and less cynical, but it gets harder every year.

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