Are women’s magazines hoping for lesbian readers, or just finally addressing the ones they have?


If you read mainstream women’s magazines, you might have noticed an exciting new trend. Topics relating to lesbians and bisexual women are slowly being embraced by the editorial staffs of publications that typically give advice on how to find a man, get a man, please your man and keep your man. Even in the pieces that aren’t about anything sexually specific, references are made to boyfriends or husbands, so it’s been refreshing to see stories on women questioning their sexuality or features on women who are openly gay.

In the past few months, out female celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres, Jillian Michaels and Anna Paquin have been the cover subjects of women’s magazines like Shape, Self, Redbook and Ladies Home Journal.

When television personality Jillian Michaels spoke with Ladies Home Journal earlier this year, it was the first time she ever addressed her sexuality in a public interview. She told the magazine:

Let’s just say I believe in healthy love. If I fall in love with a woman, that’s awesome. If I fall in love with a man, that’s awesome. As long as you fall in love … It’s like organic food. I only eat healthy food, and I only want healthy love!

A few months later, Jillian was on the cover of Redbook. Freelance contributor Abby Ellin conducted the interview and said she had no plans to discuss Jillian’s sexuality unless it came up. (It didn’t.)

My editors did not ask me to ask her about it, nor did they ask me to steer clear of it,” Ellin said. ” In other words, if it came up naturally, great, but it didn’t matter either way. I did ask her if she was seeing anyone and she said ‘Nothing special, just casually dating’ and I didn’t personally feel the need to say ‘And are you casually dating a guy or a girl, or one of each?’ The gist of the piece was about her new show and her feelings about weight and food, so that’s kinda where I stuck.”

Ellin said that one thing she did have to ask about was Jillian’s comments on not wanting to have her own children because of the toll it would take on her body. “But that was in the news when I interviewed her, so it would have been journalistically unsound not to ask,” she said. “If the piece had been for OUT or about her romantic life, I would have asked [about her sexuality].”

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