Down and PlanetOut
Down And PlanetOut In The Land Of The Gays! - Don't Get Me Started!
A new pal of the Some Like It Scott site sent me a link to an article on Queerty.com (try to keep up people, will you?) regarding the big media congaymorate PlanetOut and the fact that their business seems to be going down without a Molly Brown in site (yes, I know I wrote "site" not "sight")! For those that don't know, PlanetOut owns gay.com, The Advocate, Kleptomaniac, Out and more - you get the idea. See they pretty much own everything when it comes to the current gay magazines and online trade (and yes, I'm talking about that kind too as they cater to shopping for everything from clothes to someone who will come over and take theirs off for you). Down and PlanetOut in the land of the gays! - Don't Get Me Started!
Long have I read the magazine The Advocate (and not just because my blog was rated one of the top ten by Advocate readers' in 2006 - shameless plug but there you go - no boys, I did not write butt plug - gutter - minds - out!) however recently I decided not to renew my subscription because I was thinking that perhaps I was getting too old to read a magazine that really only cared about who Jonathan Rhys Meyer would kiss if he was going to kiss another boy and if he had any boy crushes. These seem to be mainstay questions in any article in The Advocate lately and it really holds no interest for me. It just seems a pathetic way to portray gays, wanting every man these reporters interview to admit that they're gay, had a gay thought or at least sat next to one on a bus at some point and thought they looked nice. Honestly, the magazine is like Tiger Beat Gay. Now I read Tiger Beat for years and let me tell you something, there's an idea right there that could pull PlanetOut out of the alley and back into the club, well, maybe. But today I expect a little bit more from a magazine that is supposed to be the frontrunner in being an advocate for the gay community and what matters to them. (Read the letters to the editor I wrote to The Advocate - Advocate Magazine)
And here in lies the problem in my opinion (be it ever so humble) all of the stuff that PlanetOut puts out looks exactly the same. For a company that is supposed to be celebrating a culture that celebrates diversity, they're like a twink convention. Everyone in the magazine has to be twelve, airbrushed within an inch of their life (unless they have their shirt off and then they need to have their six pack stencil on) or they're part of the three token lesbian articles where the women can look like, well, you know...whoamen! Then again, perhaps they are representing our "culture", you know the guys who only date other guys who look exactly like themselves? I don't know if these men do this because they love themselves so much or it's easier to see what that new haircut will look like on them without them having to take the risk of getting it themselves? Same thing with PlanetOut, it's a little like publication masturbation to me. (They're the only ones getting anything out of it!)
The thing is that if you just thumbed through the pages (literally or online) you would find that the demographic PlanetOut seems to be going after is one that only exists in the rarest of places, you know, like Neverland (or LA). Their demo appears to be twinks with a sugar daddy rich enough to take them on a cruise, furnish their home in Mitchell Gold furniture and buy real estate in Palm Springs from the classifieds in the back of the magazine. Now before you all start writing in, let me just say, "Shut it!" I can hear the emails now, "You're a bitter old queen." Wrong, I'm something that the gay community only parades out once in a great while...I'm an adult in an adult relationship.
Sure I'm a stereotype, love the Judy Garland, have two cats named after characters from the Broadway musical Wicked and have several very close female friends. I understand that my demo is one of a by-gone era and I'm not saying that these publications have to cater to me exclusively but come on people, throw me the proverbial bone, will ya?
Some would say that the same could be said for the leading fashion magazines for women but see the difference here is that they're not trying to be magazines with a conscience or promote equality, they're trying to sell clothes and orgasms (You know, like GQ used to do for all of us before there were magazines that identified themselves as gay).
I would hate to see the PlanetOut gang go down without getting paid (and I'm talking about the employees now) because they need the work and we as "the gays" do need magazines and online sites that speak to us directly but come on, let's not model ourselves after People magazine with their intellectually stimulating articles and diverse selection of People and People En Espanol. Let's challenge ourselves to have a wide variety of publications that represent a larger range of who we gays truly are, shall we? Maybe we can't do it as long as PlanetOut is responsible for most of the gay publications. It's a little like playing Monopoly with my brother when we were little and he was the bank too. Somehow he always had money while the rest of us were trying to sell off pieces of property to stay alive. Maybe more in this case truly is less?
As a t-shirt I saw in a catalog said, "I don't have the answers, only the complaints!" I hope that PlanetOut finds their way to profitability but how many of us are wearing leather chokers with the word "butch" on a sterling silver coin from Kleptomaniac? How many of us are buying property in Key West from the guys who buy the classified ads in the back of The Advocate? And how many of us really find who we're looking for on gay.com? There's an old phrase that I think rings true here - you only have yourself to blame. PlanetOut needs to get out more and represent more of us, period. Down and PlanetOut in the land of the gays! - Don't Get Me Started!
Read more Scott at www.somelikeitscott.com