Letters About the October Issue: Part I

Readers respond to the October issue.

By the More.com editors

Pluses For Childless By Choice

I applaud Nanette Varian for her article "Childless By (100 % Regret-Free) Choice". I am delighted to see the discussion brought into the mainstream in a rational way. Too often, it is a charged topic that seems to raise emotions on both sides without respect for individual choices. I am 58-years-old and have never, for even five minutes––regretted my decision to not have children. There are many reasons for choosing not to have children as there are for having them, and the article touched on some of them. I made my choice for a reason not mentioned by Varian.

After I took a sociology course in demography in college, I realized that virtually all of the world’s problems are rooted in over-population. Issues like: hunger, disease, ignorance, depletion of natural resources, environmental issues, quality of life, crime and mental issues all have links to over-crowding. Over-population is a serious problem largely ignored in the U.S. because it seems to be politically incorrect to suggest that people may want to choose differently when it comes to limiting the size of their families so we can save resources. 

Although people argue that population growth in the U.S. isn’t as large as within other countries, this may be true, but Americans still consume more and leave larger carbon footprints than other countries. This isn’t an issue of whether or not a person can afford to have a large family. Recycling, or driving a hybrid are great ways to help the earth, but to not add more people, more disposable diapers in landfills, more cars, more homes, more pollution––that would help more.

Kate Wilson
Wolcott, VT

After reading “Childless By (100% Regret-Free) Choice” I can relate. I am just about to turn 56 and have never had the burning desire to have children of my own. I saw my close friends go through an obsession when they were ready for kids and I could never relate. Babysitting was never my idea of a perfect job when I was a teenager. Maybe it is something that we’re born with, or maybe not?
 
My mother told me that she knew by the time I was six-years-old that I would never have children. The story she related to me was that when she brought my new baby brother home from the hospital to meet the family and showed him to me, I told her: “Just remember, he’s your kid, not mine.” After that, my sister who is three years older than me (and went on to have three children) snatched my new baby brother away to care for him and coddle him. Needless to say, that even after I got married at the age of 26, my mom and dad never asked me when I was going to have children. Out of the mouths of babes!
Terry Madden
Fountain HIlls, AZ

The “Childless By (100% Regret-Free) Choice” article reminded me of a get-together of a trio of women who had not seen each other in a while.
One was fairly a mom by choice (being myself), one was a more experienced, albeit accidental mom and the other was childless by choice. To catch up with each other, the other related how her three-year-old found her older sister’s school scissors and tried to trim her own bangs. I related my toddler’s first public tantrum. But, the non-mom told us about her recent Caribbean cruise.
The other mom and I laughed and said, “now we know why you didn’t have kids!” I support my non-breeding friends’ choices. Motherhood is tough—even for those of us who really wanted it.
Lauren Mayer
San Mateo, CA
 

Thank you so much for publishing “Childless By (100% Regret-Free) Choice.” Although I am only 25, I love your magazine and the article totally hit the spot, as in the way I think.
People don’t understand when I say I don’t want kids. It’s not that I don’t like them, I just don’t want any. I hear comments of “wait until you get older,” but I just simply don’t have the desire to have kids of my own.
It’s nice to read about people that are in the same boat as me and being older, still think this way.
Virginia
Jefferson City, MO

 
Madly Happy 

It would figure that the woman who wrote “Cowboys Are My Weakness” (Pam Houston) would make sense of what I’m feeling in “Mad Women.” I was expecting hot flashes, but not these kind of hot flashes—which I seem to get once or twice a week. But, now I get it.
And now I get why the biggest laugh at the Bo Pelini Foundation’s Football 101 breast cancer fundraiser was the spoof T-shirt design: “I’m running out of estrogen and I have a gun.” Those of us teetering on the brink of menopause laughed our collective you-know-what-off.
Thank you Pam Houston and MORE. You just sealed it and I’m renewing my subscription!
Jackie Fox
Omaha, NE

 

Beauty Anger Go-Round 
In response to Lesley Jane Seymour’s "Do You Feel Beauty Anger?" I feel no beauty anger towards whether you touch up women on your covers.

But, what I do feel is anger about is your choice of cover girls. I can’t imagine that most of your 40 plus readers are interested in celebrities and their professionally prepared diets, the clothing their stylists chooses for them, or their work-out routines streamlined by trainers.
Your magazine used to have articles that actually appealed to the mature woman, but now you’re going the way of every other celebrity-driven publication. Celebrities have already taken the lion’s share of magazine covers. Why not bring back the original cover girl? Models!
Carol White
Delray Beach, FL
 

Hot Button Politics
Lynn Sherr’s profile of Nancy Pelosi in "The Most Powerful Woman In U.S. History," is a model of balanced reporting, substantive analysis, and breezy readability. Sherr breathed life into a public figure who too often is characterized by her looks, clothes, and the suggestion that she somehow misuses her power.  

 
What troubles me, however, is the cover line MORE gave the piece: " We Sit Down With The Most Hated Woman in America."  Can you quantify that claim?  More to the point, was that your take-away from the article?  It wasn’t mine. The cover misrepresents the article for the transparent purpose of luring readers. This may be common practice in tabloids but it shouldn’t be yours since it grossly distorts the essence of Sherr’s report, skews its findings, and thus does a disservice to Pelosi and every woman who takes heart from the Speaker’s breakthrough role in American political life.  If you needed hyperbole, why not make the cover line: "The Most Admired Woman in America." This is as true and unprovable as the cover line you chose.
 
It seems to me that the title of the piece itself, "The Most Powerful Woman in U.S. History," would have been lure enough and have the virtue of being demonstrably true.
 
Since MORE was founded among other reasons, to honor the achievements of older women, I believe you have a special responsibility to err on the side of supporting rather than denigrating the women featured in your pages. At minimum, you have an obligation to compose cover lines that accurately represent what the writer has written.

 Letty Cottin Pogrebin

As a subscriber of MORE, I do not wish to read stories about anyone in politics. Case in point, Nancy Pelosi in “The Most Powerful Woman In U.S. History.” I don’t feel she is the type of person your magazine should promote, nor should you affiliate yourself with any political party. She has had more plastic surgery than most Hollywood people her age. I don’t feel she is anyone I want to emulate. Powerful or not, magazines should not promote political figures.
Sharon Jourdain
When I looked at the wording on October’s cover : “We Sit Down With the Most Hated Woman In America," I was more concerned by the inherent message in the wording, than I was in discovering the subject of the article.
Once I saw that Nancy Pelosi was the subject, I wondered again about the wording of the article’s title. By stating that she is “the most hated woman in America,” you place the responsibility on the reader. The onus should be on Nancy Pelosi. No matter what political party I support, I do not support the immoderate views of Nancy Pelosi.
However, I do not loathe, detest, or despise her. She is immoderate in her political views and both arrogant and condescending towards anyone who disagrees with her. Your article reinforces Pelosi’s reputation, which is a reputation she built on her own character. It would have been more honest to place the responsibility for Pelosi’s reputation on Pelosi herself,  having the title read: “How Pelosi Got a Reputation for Self-Importance.” 
Nancy J. Redditt
Mont Clare, PA

 
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First Published Fri, 2010-09-24 13:04

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