After five years subscribing, Catherine Gillespie gives lesbian life & style magazine, Diva, a mixed review
I have been a reader of Diva for over 5 years now, in that time I have always found it to be lacking something. What this is I find hard to define, but I think that it is a lack of fun, especially compared to other lesbian and gay publications.
Its appearance is very professional and on the whole its presentation, photography and writing is excellent. Although it is let down by its food section; the photography is very amateurish and makes the food look very unappetising, and it could be asked what place does this section have in a lesbian magazine anyway?, surely we already have more than enough magazines that provide food articles.
As for other articles, I find the American cartoons particularly annoying; just because they feature lesbian characters does not make them interesting or funny. There also seems to be a concentration on travel articles; this month (July 2002) alone there were 5 articles with a travel theme of one sort or another.
As for its pluses; as I said before it is very professionally produced and it is great to have a magazine just for lesbians and it therefore provides an invaluable service to the lesbian community. It has very good news articles, which are especially informative about lesbians in other countries and the problems they face. The advertisements/classifieds provide a lot of information on whats going on. I personally would like to see more articles that provide legal, health and relationship advice as I think for many lesbians who do not live in the main cities information of this kind is not readily available.
I think in some ways it takes itself too seriously as many of its articles feature artists e.g. musicians, photographers, who do not appeal to the majority of people. It is great that they are given exposure but not at the expense of those who people would really like to read about. In the June 2002 edition, there was a one page article, mostly photographs with very little narrative, about the film Kissing Jessica Stein, there was more narrative and information in an article about skin products. Given that films with such a strong lesbian theme very rarely come along, I think that Diva could have spared it a bit more space and coverage.
So to summarise I think it has many positive things about it but it needs to lighten up a bit; less about the arts and travel and more about everyday lesbians and what they do, especially to have fun. I would also like to see more about famous lesbians; it irritates me when there are substantial articles in newspapers about them and absolutely nothing in Diva, it may seem sad, but it is true that many lesbians need the reassurance which these famous role models can provide. Most of all I want to feel that this is a magazine I would want to buy anyway, not just because there are very few alternatives.