When it comes to "sexy" editorials, you can't help but notice they're all the same: scantily-clad or partially nude women with big, bombshell hair and sultry gazes dominate the pages and covers of our favourite glossies.
What's interesting, however, is how these shoots cater to heterosexual men, showcasing what they think is sexy. But what about women -- particularly, lesbians?
A recent thread on Reddit asks this very question.
"My argument is that magazines like Sports Illustrated don't cater to lesbian women," wrote the original poster. "If there was a universal main stream [sic] magazine made for lesbians, what would you like to see on the cover? What about what was inside the magazine? How would the articles be different if they catered to you?"
So what would be appealing to the "gay gaze?" According to Redditors, women in suits, masculine clothes, and "strong, confident women doing something they love."
"There's a certain picture of Ellen Page sloppily wearing a suit, with the top few and bottom few buttons of her shirt open, an undone bow tie around her shoulders, pulling her pants down the tiniest bit to reveal red boys' underwear," wrote one user. "I'd buy literally anything that had that picture on the cover."
Another poster said they were looking for more diversity and natural beauty.
"When it comes to sexy images I like to see people in all sizes, shapes and colours [sic], not photo shopped [sic] and being happy and sexual in genuine ways," they wrote. "All kinds of bodies with all their bumps, hair and pores, and people of different shapes, sizes and colors [sic] and not everyone is feminine and/or cis [sic]. Sexy comes in so many more forms than what Sports Illustrated shows."
And it turns out, these women are also looking for content catered to them inside the magazine as well.
"A non-heteronormative fashion section. I'd be all up on that," wrote one user. "I feel weird reading women's fashion blogs 'cause my style's not super feminine, I feel weird reading men's fashion blogs cause[sic] I'm not a dude, I just want to feel not weird."
And while the original poster cites Sports Illustrated in the thread, her argument stands for fashion magazines as well. (Just look at Selena Gomez's Lolita-esque V magazine cover and the Kim Kardashian Paper magazine cover that "broke" the Internet).
As Reina Lewis and Katrina Rolley write in "Ad(dressing) the Dyke: Lesbian Looks and Lesbian Looking," fashion has long instructed women in "consuming other women's bodies, in assessing and responding to the desirability of other women," however, "this process has often been understood as one of passively identifying with the woman who is the subject of the active male gaze/sexuality."
And yes, we realize men might not be into lacquered Alexander McQueen face masks on Rihanna, but from the Redditors' comments, neither are lesbians.
Styleite said it best: "When you're selling sexiness, you can't please everyone." However, "some women's magazines continue to cater to men when they don't even have to."
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