Editor’s letter: Men… you’re welcome!

As you know, I love hearing from readers and I do my best to respond to everyone who writes to me. (Sorry if I have not: I am getting there!) Today, I want to examine a particular piece of feedback that comes my way from time to time that always fascinates me: each month, a handful of men contact me to ask why there is nothing for them in YOU magazine. Well, granted, my brief as editor is to produce a magazine that entices women to buy the paper. So, yes, we dedicate some of our pages to women’s fashion and beauty content. our regular columnists, Liz Jones and Elizabeth Day, are women, although the magazine is certainly not written exclusively by women or for them.

Beyond the fashion and beauty pages, is the food section only for women? Is it only women who cook and eat? What about the interiors pages – do only women like to make where they live comfortable and stylish? Do only women enjoy a fun peek at what their horoscopes say? Or a moment flopped on the couch completing a crossword? Are health issues – from fighting diabetes to how to live longer – just for us girls? Of course not. I know that what people mean when they say YOU is ‘only for women’ is that the features skew towards writing about the experiences of women. But here’s my question: why is a story about a woman only of interest to other women?

I was discussing this with my friend Victoria, who had a similar story. ‘I was organising a speaking event for work and was advised that, if I wanted more men to engage, I’d need to include more male speakers and content. I said, “I spend my life listening to men on radio and TV. I watch them and their stories in films and read their books and articles. I don’t stop listening and reading or watching because they are men. Why can’t the same apply the other way around?”’

It made me laugh thinking of it that way. I couldn’t begin to keep track of the books, plays, films, TV shows, paintings, songs I’d have never enjoyed if I ruled out anything created by a man. That would be seen as ludicrous to think, let alone say out loud. Yet the reverse is still considered sound logic in some quarters. What a shame it would be, for instance, if a man missed out on some of the best TV drama of recent times – Killing Eve, Fleabag, Big Little Lies, The Handmaid’s Tale, Little Fires Everywhere – simply because he couldn’t see anyone in his image on the advertising poster.

I started thinking about this because, ironically, in this issue we have two men’s stories. To mark Father’s Day, Michael Christensen and Ken Stevenson have shared their deeply personal, very different experiences of how parenting has shaped them. Their features run the gamut of emotions from joy to sorrow, love to some intense resentment. I know our women readers won’t flick straight past simply because they’re not about women. In truth, we feature quite a few men’s stories over the course of any one year of issues. But perhaps because they do tend to be personal, emotional topics, some still feel this is strictly women-only content.

I like to think we do a good job of telling human stories. And my aim every week is for all of you to enjoy reading them. In any case, I feel that this column will invite some spirited debate, which I very much welcome!

Editor’s picks

For fruit (and possibly booze)-infused treats. Ice-lolly moulds, £17.99 for four, zarahome.com

Timeless ear candy. Earrings, around £265, shop.tohumdesign.com

I can’t wait to give this chic shopper a spin. Bag, £99, baumundpferdgarten.com