‘You never know what someone is struggling with’: Stellar mag declares it will no longer ask women about their baby plans

Stellar magazine will no longer ask women about their baby plans in interviews, with editor-in-chief Sarrah Le Marquand declaring the glossy title no longer wants to encourage the idea that successful women are defined by their reproductive choices or abilities.

Le Marquand confirmed to Mumbrella that the choice wasn’t caused by one particular event, rather by an increasing sense over the past 12 months that high-profile women are still treated differently in interviews than men.

Carrie Bickmore is one of the celebrities who has opened up about her fertility issues in Stellar magazine

“It’s not a decision that we came to as a result of any one story or situation. It’s been something that we have gradually moved towards since the magazine launched in 2016, but particularly over the past 12 months we have become increasingly uncomfortable with the notion of automatically asking any high-profile woman of ‘child-bearing’ age about her plans to have children during media interviews,” Le Marquand told Mumbrella.

“Having featured so many women in Stellar who have opened up about various challenges they have faced in starting a family – including of course many women who have been candid about the prejudice they have faced for choosing to be child-free – we became more conscious of the role we were playing in inadvertently perpetuating the idea that a successful woman’s reproductive choices are the most interesting thing about her, and we also wanted to pay an active role in showing more sensitivity towards a woman or couple who might be privately struggling with pregnancy loss or infertility.”

In an opinion piece which ran today in The Daily Telegraph, Le Marquand looked back on her own reproductive struggles and the ones shared with the magazine by the women interviewed inside it over the year, and said the responsibility is “on all of us” to change the dialogue.

Recently, for the magazines third birthday, a pregnant Jennifer Hawkins featured on the cover alongside a candid interview about her struggles with fertility. Stories like that will still feature in the magazine, said Le Marquand, but reporters will no longer ask the question or implore women to discuss their baby plans unprompted. At this stage, it is the only question that has been removed, but Le Marquand says the editorial policy will continue to be updated over time if need arises.

Jennifer Hawkins did her first pregnant photoshoot for Stellar’s third birthday cover

“We can only speak for Stellar – every publication and media outlet has to make their own decision about these things. It’s a complicated discussion and there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. But we would hope that in going public with how and why we have come to this position at Stellar that we will prompt a rethink in how we collectively talk about these issues.

“There are absolutely times where the topic would still be appropriate and will arise in an interview in Stellar. There are plenty of occasions, for instance, when a woman we are profiling might raise it herself, unprompted, and also times wherein a person opening up about their pregnancy loss or infertility struggles are an integral part of their story.

“And pregnancy and new baby shoots and interviews will always be part of our magazine – but what we won’t be doing is automatically asking any woman who happens to be in a high-profile relationship or is of ‘child-bearing’ age about whether she wants to have a baby. You never know what someone is struggling with in private and we are mindful of our responsibility to navigate that with compassion and sensitivity.”

Stellar is inserted into News Corp newspapers on Sundays.


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