Watching this E! News interview with socialite Courtenay Semel—talking about her relationship with the late Casey Johnson—makes me wonder whether media portrayals of romances between gay women are moving beyond appealing to the male gaze.
The fact that an on-again-off-again relationship between two marginally famous women (Semel is the daughter of former Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel, while Johnson was an heir to Johnson & Johnson) has been such a point of interest among Americans is encouraging, and interesting. Their sex lives seem beside the point: in fact, it's their relationship dramas, emotions, arguments, breakups and makeups - their interior lives - that are taking center stage.
In the interview, Semel talks about her regrets, her love, and her grief over Johnson's death, which humanizes the late socialite and underscores the authenticity of her sexual orientation and her feelings toward women a hell of a lot more than the publicity machine of Tila Tequila's tear-streaked cleavage and scratch-off lottery tickets ever could. Additionally, Semel's interview may demonstrate that we've finally moved beyond "Yep I'm gay" type celebrity coverage, that the love lives and scandals of famous gay people have crossed over into the mainstream, making them fodder for tabloid consumption right alongside those of heterosexuals. ("Lesbians: Just like us"?) Maybe it's not "progress", per se, but it's something.