We Hear You! Letters from Our October 2011 Issue

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MORE • Editors
more october 2011 naomi watts cover image

This was the first time I had purchased More and I just want to say I loved it and cannot wait to read the November issue.

I totally agree with you that there should be no conflict between beauty and brains. When I moved to New England four years ago, I was amazed at how "Earthy/Crunchy" the women were here. Someone once said to me that women from this part of the country were higher achievers thus they probably did not see the need to do their hair and makeup each day as it was such a trivial matter. Where I come from (more southern parts) women are strong, proud, smart and in the bargain give a hoot about how they present themselves to the world. Personally I enjoy putting on my lipstick as I head out the door to face the day's challenges. It doesn't make me less an achiever nor does it make me vain, it makes me feel good about myself. My fondest memory is of my granny putting on her jewelry and lipstick up until she was 96 years old and believe me; she was just as much of a "higher achiever" as any crusty New Englander!

Also, I wanted to commend the article by Amanda Robb, "To Hell with Inner Beauty". Mother Nature was not kind to me growing up so I suffered the hurtful comments made by other kids and sometimes even adults. Imagine having two brothers and sister who were mistaken for movie stars only to have someone say "so what happened to you?” I'm all for a woman doing what she needs to do to feel better about herself. Nothing makes me more mad than having someone belittle a person for wanting to improve something about themselves. Let that person grow up feeling like a "4" in a world where women are basically ignored if they are not a 7 or above. My sister always says "let go of 3rd grade"...easy for her to say when she was the one mistaken for some actress! Ha ha.

Thank you for allowing me to rant on a bit.
--Rachel

Beauty/Brains or Brawn!? I, too, have had a happy balance by working hard and volunteering, “With all my different hats on!", and always tried to look my best. This has confused some people at times. A large portion of my life I lived on a 5 acre mini farm with pigs, goats, rabbits, chickens and tended 3 large gardens. The typical reaction was disbelief. What was I supposed to look like?

Here's hoping that the only stereo-typing we'll do is listening to music in stereo while typing!

P.S. My daughter is a Boston College and NYU grad. with a Doctorate degree. She also has performed and competed in Fitness & Bikini venues. Her introduction was always preceded by "Dr."!

P.P.S. Love More! Beauty and great articles. (I read it for the articles! Tee- Hee!)
--Johanna

First off, I love your magazine. It has always been the one I read from cover to cover in one sitting. Even Oprah’s magazine does not warrant my attention. However the article listed above stopped me in my tracks and made me sad and angry too. Ms. Harrison is speaking about wanting a third child and about the possibility of it being born with Down Syndrome.... in her words...

I wanted a third child, and the line we’d drawn between us and the possibility of Down Syndrome or any other blight...... BLIGHT??????

My husband and I have a daughter with Down Syndrome and NEVER ever felt she was blight. Emily is a wonderful young women, 22 years old who lives a full life with us, works and get paid for it, has a social network, and is happy and a kind human being..

So please I ask the editor to be careful on what is submitted and the words people use. I am offended when people use such language to refer to people with disabilities.

I would appreciate you sending this on to the author. I also hope in the future articles are reviewed more carefully.
--Ann Hesser

I've watched your magazine go through a transformation over the past year or so. Every issue gets better and better, but the October issue was fabulous! It's the first issue I have read every article all of the way through, and the magazine cover to cover. Thank you!
--Lori

I just got around to reading the October editor's letter and this is part of the reason I have not yet renewed by subscription. Your observations about the public's treatment of women were insightful and stupid all at the same time. It is a very valid point that people like to label women with one category or another and we all are faced with those challenges, but it so hard to be sympathetic when you use the "snippy concierge in Milan was rude to me" story. You poor baby. Are you so out of touch that you couldn't think of an example where this beauty vs. brains problem impacts women's lives, jobs, relationships in a significant and usually tragic way? And just wait, as you age and your beauty gets further and further away from societies ideal this problem changes to another one. You will be ignored on all levels, no longer considered beautiful or brainy. Your own magazine adds to the mix by constantly featuring women who have "just" made it past forty. It is like you can't wait for some celebrity to reach the magic number so you can flaunt them while consistently ignoring women at fifty, sixty or seventy.

You’re in good company along with T.V., movies, media, print, government, and business. Take just one area, TV, and name one positive role model of women over the age of fifty-five or sixty. Maybe you only want to appeal to a forty year old and if that is true congratulations you have succeeded. I feel I have outgrown your magazine and unfortunately there are no fashion and lifestyle mags for my age group which is why you can go to any mall in America and see a sea of women who have given up and walk around in their velour running suits and comfort walking shoes. No one designs for this age. No one champions the brains of this age group.
Oh, by the way I am fifty-eight and plan on being the sharpest, beauty wise and brain wise, woman in the nursing home!
--Debbie Gallo

I am responding to this article as it was brought to my attention by a co-worker who reads the magazine. In some aspects I do agree with some of the claims the author makes. However, when I think about people who do not have the education background enough to think about this topic for themselves and they then read this, I get upset as they now think it is ok to be overweight. As a professional in the field, I am more than qualified to say that is the association they make when they read those statements and it is not ok. It doesn’t make them a bad person however it is very irresponsible to give misleading information when we have a country that is dealing with a major health problem on more than one front. All related to excess weight!

What the author failed to research was that having excess weight plays a major role in hormonal imbalance which then plays a larger role in the promotion and development of disease. When a person has properly balanced body weight composition, they are then more apt to be hormonally balanced relative to the hormones affected. Such enzymes and hormones affected are interleukine 6, tumor necrosis factor, insulin, increased free fatty acid activity, leptin, and many others. I am glad to hear the author saying it is important and/or more important to focus on being active however what we put in our mouth plays a direct role in what happens inside the body such as increased inflammation (oxidation of blood and cholesterol), fluid retention (increased blood pressure and kidney stress), increased insulin production (another vascular pro-inflammatory) which is in response to insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar.
The American diet (“nutrition” as I prefer to refer to it) is on average close to 30:1 pro-inflammatory to anti-inflammatory respectively. When we think of “diets” such as the Vegan or the Mediterranean, these are in the 4:1 and 6:1 ratios. When we are eating foods that have a high inflammatory response in the body we are then open for increased disease such as heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. So no, we shouldn’t “just let our weight fall where it may”! Where it may help to address this issue instead of ignoring it would be the psychology of why people do not continue their nutritional changes when they are successful or even before they have had success and are struggling with weight. The biggest problem is we do not view and assess having excess weight as a health threat until it causes a disease or health condition. Even then, only sometimes does this work.

For instance, if you were diagnosed with cancer, this is a very real threat that will impact your life significantly. Our brain assesses this as an immediate threat and we want to deal with it, as we should. When someone is first diagnosed with elevated blood sugar or an actual diagnosis of diabetes, many more times than not the person dismisses this as something not of a real immediate threat. It is part of the brain that is responsible for this and what will help are more professionals providing scientific evidence into easy to learn education strategies for the public to view conditions such as diabetes as a threat. Once people understand what various chronic diseases are and how they work, they then are able to assess them as a viable threat and then decide to make changes in managing them or preventing them through lifestyle change such as nutritional changes. This is what the Health Belief Model of behavior change is based on and works very well. Education needs to be paired with a strategy that connects the person and their emotions to the problem. Otherwise the education is just information that is discarded by the brain or in the trash. Please address this and set the record straight to prevent those from believing it is just fine to allow increased body weight, particularly central body weight. The waist circumference measure is an easy way to assess individual risk. From belly button around the waist back to the belly button, men should be <40 inches and women <35 inches.
--Ryan Bosch BS, ACSM-CES, CDE
Sanford Health Fargo, ND

I was so inspired by the recent article about you and A Grape in the Fog that I had to write and congratulate you on having the courage to listen to your inner voice. Having recently left my position as manager, strategic communications planning with the American Cancer Society to provide marketing for small nonprofits without a marketing department, I certainly understand how important - and fulfilling - it is to follow your dreams.

Kudos to you and much success for many, many years to come!
--Linette SingletonI frequent my local B&N every weekend. This is the first time I actually picked up your magazine, and it was the last one there! There were your regular Vogue, Glamour and Marie Claire, there but only one of your magazines left. I'm ashamed to admit, I thought it may be too old for me, but I couldn't have been more wrong.

I'm now 40 years old, childless and divorced (married to a professor for 15 years.) I feel ridiculously young, but I don't relate to the vapid pages reflected in those other magazines. So refreshing to see me, mature young feeding my need to know fashion and current affairs at the same time, reflected in your magazine. So much More for me and I thank you!

I will be subscribing moving forward.
--Zsalyne

I love the end point Linda Bacon tries to make in your article “Fat? Who Cares?!” What an important message: Happiness is not how thin you are. So disappointing that she gets there with shoddy data and vague studies- no useful information is given to the reader, and it doesn't serve her cause at all. Bacon says that "dieting almost never works." It would have been a great place to point out that that's because there's a lot of men and women out there dieting who don't need to. If your body is happy and healthy, starving it won't cause you to drop pounds and keep them off, and it would be a great place to talk about body image. Instead she tries to tell us it's because dieting is just a failure waiting to happen across the board. Another example- I find it hard to believe that using a sample of 5,000 people to represent an entire nation can be considered "important" without a lot of extrapolating.

You write for thoughtful, intelligent women. Do their minds justice by not printing articles that use low-quality statistics and wild assertions to make their case.

Thanks!
--Lucy

Thank you so much for that editorial! No conflict at all. I believe that one shows respect for others when there is an effort to look good. There was a scene from an old movie I saw while in high school years graduated "56". An American reporter was fleeing the Nazi's with a group of resistance fighters in one of the mountainous regions of Europe with other Americans. A male resistance fighter and a female resistance fighter decided to put up a suicide defense to hold off the Germans at a pass in the mountains while everyone else escaped. The only request the female resistance fighter had for the reporter was for her lipstick. Going down fighting looking good! That always stuck with me.

Also thank you for More magazine. Now that I have my own subscription, nothing to read at the beauty shop but People or Redbook—guess I'll survive.
--Juleen M. Paul

Regarding the feature on the Beauty Search winners: I'm surprised and disappointed that you selected women with such stereotypical ideals of “beauty." Other than the "readers' choice" each of these women is depressingly stereotypically beautiful, and model-perfect. And with one exception, each of these women is a "fitness fanatic" working out 5 or 6 times a week.

Where are the beautiful women who reflect real lives, don't conform to the ideal (a little extra weight? a few lines?) real living, and healthy lifestyles that don't require being a "fanatic"? Disappointing.
--Kate Campbell, Washington D.C.

I think the POST ON MORE.COM is the most brilliant feature created by a magazine.

FABULOUS IDEA. Thank you so much for this opportunity to be able to write and submit.

No complaints from me. MORE IS ONE OF THE MOST CREATIVE MAGAZINES AROUND.

NEVER A DULL MOMENT WHEN I READ.

THANK YOU
--Cecilia Valentino, Writer/Presenter of HEART-TO-HEART GATHERINGS, Indian Head Park, Illinois

As an ardent More reader, I was disturbed by the story written by Amanda Robb. Even though she was talented, with a healthy relationship and child, she appeared consumed with the need for approval in order to finally feel "OK". Giving the message to her daughter, that wrinkles and fine lines at age 35 is somehow not normal, and then going under general anesthesia with all its inherent risks to become someone who could be noticed, and she could finally feel like a "7" was nauseating to me. Everything in this story reeked of the narcissism rampant in our society. Forget feeling at home in our bodies as they graciously age, letting go of the illusion that beauty is external and coming home to the source of our innate value as demonstrated through what we leave our children and the world. I felt sorry for her. I am not saying that doing what you can with what you got is problematic. But basing my worth on how I perceive the world as seeing me raises many flags.

I kept thinking while reading the article that she was going was going to make peace with her value as a talented, gifted woman, mother, writer, wife... but it never happened. I don't know. I was disappointed and as such, will find other gentler, more authentic magazines that support my journey into the next decade, loving myself as the beautiful woman of SUBSTANCE that I am.
--Teri Murtha

I picked up an issue of More for the first time a week ago. I'm in love with this magazine. Beauty + Brains! Yes!

The letter from the editor was beautifully written and made me feel good about being a UCLA graduate who enjoyed journalism as much as my performance art career. I'm a belly dance teacher and performer, so that gives me a chance to tell stories and share culture through art.

I am also writing to you, Lesley, because my girlfriend Jenelle is the first openly gay contestant in the Miss Long Beach pageant. She will also be the first beauty queen contestant in the history to wear a tuxedo on stage. Miss California directors and Miss Universe directors have a lot of interest in her. In fact, they follow-up to make sure she is registering for their pageants. Jenelle has an amazing story growing up, with losing a father to AIDS (which he contracted at a dentist's visit), to getting threats from school because of it, through getting past depression and drug abuse to change her life and become a mentor on her days off from being a hair artist at a salon.

 

I think your readers would appreciate her story. She's an inspiration to many young women who have become fans of her "Vote for Jenelle" fan page.

And thank you for this magazine I can relate to :)
--Masa

Is 40 Really the New 20? (And Who Are We Trying to Convince?)

I was online today and a headline in Yahoo! caught my eye: “Julia Roberts wows in mini-dress.” Wow! She is all of 43 years of age and ostensibly, we are to be gob smacked that Ms. Roberts can actually carry off a mini-dress. And then I consider the often-uttered palaver that 40 is the new 20…huh? Let’s please consider this: major network television series in the ‘70s that were carried by strong female leads were fronted by actresses at least in their 30s. Angie Dickinson, in fact, was that staggering – gasp -- 43 when Police Woman started airing in 1974. All of Charlie’s Angels were over 30 with the exception of Cheryl Ladd. Diahann Carroll was 33 when she starred in Julia. These are just a few examples. Oh, and does anyone remember a little show called Mary Tyler Moore?

During this same period, major cosmetic companies routinely employed models well into their twenties and kept them often until their forties…case in point Karen Graham, the face of Estee Lauder from 1970-1985. By the way, she quit as spokesmodel at age 40. She was not summarily ushered out the door. Open any magazine in the gloriously progressive year of 2011. Cover Girl, Maybelline New York, L’Oreal (some exceptions here, but the older gals are relegated to the “mature” lines), MAC, et al. all employ models that are far younger than their predecessors in most cases.

I don’t know…it seems as though we were far more progressive in the 1970s than we are now. I don’t ever remember people saying, “Doesn’t Pepper Anderson look amazing at 43?” Now, it seems we are constantly rubbing the fairy dust out of our eyes in amazement that Sheryl Crow can walk without a cane. If we really in our sancta sanctorum believed that 40 was so young, we wouldn’t make a big deal out of seeing Demi Moore in a bikini at forty-whatever. We would simply say, “She looks great.” And she does.
--Ann Risler, St. Petersburg, FL

I have received your magazine for three to four years and have been very happy with it until the Oct issues. In Oct there was an article called "The scary new migraine mistake". As I have been a migraine suffer and get headaches daily chronic pain I was very upset that your article only talked about one side of this issues. Since 1985 I have been on every "headache" medicine out there. At times these medicines got me very sick, unaware of where I was, and even increased my headaches. I have been to numerous headache clinics at UCLA, USC, and other hospital settings. When I went through their programs and was not successful it was my fault. Even when I spent time in a hospital to detox off my pain pains I never got relief. Your article stated that 10-15% of people get to relief and that is me. I have been taking fioricet on and off for 26 years and have never taken more than 4 a day.

Your article never interviewed any person with headaches where the programs mentioned in your article do not work.

I'm thinking about canceling future magazines from you due to the above issues.

I would be willing to talk to you over the phone about your article. If not I will cancel the rest of the years magazines and ask for a refund.
--Leslie Spero-Schneider

Your latest Editor's Letter struck a chord in me. I had just met up with a long time girlfriend in New York City for some shopping and hanging out. She flew in from Michigan and I came from California. We met in law school over 20 years ago because we were both more interested in each other's outfits than in Torts, Real Estate, or Civil Procedure at the time. She ultimately decided law school wasn't her calling but not because she couldn't have made it through. Instead, she went on to get her Master's degree and PhD in Fine Arts, has worked at Ford Motor Company and is now teaching Art at University of Michigan-Flint. I did finish law school after deciding I had to put my fashion magazines away until I graduated with my J.D. In the interim, I did a judicial clerkship, worked for a public interest law agency, and wrote for one of the school's law journals. Post J.D., I practiced in many areas, the most interesting being medical malpractice litigation.

Together and separate, we are no joke and no one could ever accuse us of being vacant bimbos but in the last 20 years, our common love of beauty and fashion has been a mainstay, a comfort, and a thrill. I don't see anything wrong with finding as much excitement in the latest Supreme Court decision as I do in the latest line from my favorite designer. It is all art, creation, theory, philosophy, and application and analysis of life in action.
--Michele M. Welz, Sacramento, California

I am a long-time subscriber and I cannot express how irritated I was at seeing not one, but TWO full page ads for your front and back covers of a recent issue.

It was REALLY, REALLY annoying.

I get to see Ads when I pay $12 for a movie, and now this?

Also, please no more articles about how fur is ok to wear. It makes me want to throw up.

I've read many of the letters on the Web site and I'm not the only one to mention this...although I can't believe no one mentioned the ads for a cover.

So, I just didn't want you to think, oh its ok. no one minds about advertising on a cover...because I do.

Thanks for a great magazine otherwise.
--Shawn Morningstar

I wanted to share feedback with you about how much I enjoy reading the articles in More. I am 44, and don't buy any other magazines on a regular basis as I do with yours. The articles are fantastic, inspiring and relevant to issues facing women today. I am on the precipice of my own career reinvention, soon to be leaving a corporate job after many years to fulfill what I hope to do with starting a business and writing a book. Thanks for being at the helm of what is one of the best magazines out there for women in my generation.
--Emily Klein

Just read your Editor’s Letter in the October issue. I thoroughly agree with the beauty and brains conversation. And at 56 years old, wholeheartedly believe you can be beautiful and have a brain! Not that I’m a great beauty by any means. But I love fashion and want to know what is going on each season and what is the latest and the greatest. But at the same time I am a news junkie and want to know all about current events, local, national or worldwide. And I love nothing better than talking to a woman who has her own opinion and can hold a conversation or have a discussion about something more than just trivial small-talk.

Thanks for agreeing with me!
--Peg Cummings, New Franken, WI

When I was 19 years old I worked in an insurance office. I love to sew and had made the dress I was wearing that day (burgundy, slim straight cut to the knee, shoulder pads -was late 70's - and even made the belt!). I was getting out of the elevator one day when I overheard a woman laugh out loud and say "yeah, but I bet she can't type". The comment was meant for me - the age old beauty and brains dispute. I held the door and replied "oh yes I can, and I do it very well, thank you". I was shaking I was so angry - but I never forgot that remark, and ever since then, it has made me work harder, no matter how I look.
--Pamela Pellegrini, Fairfield, CT

One that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. And since I read it (and sighed out loud on a plane to Europe) its taken me a while to write to you. I am not sure if that’s because I am trying to remember all the times its come into play in my life or because I was trying to figure out if I am willing to say it out loud. Maybe a little of both.

Or maybe I am wrestling with the fact that internally it has never been an issue for me. I have always felt that I am a competent woman AND I love everything about fashion and beauty. If it wasn’t for the perceptions of others –those that think the two things are mutually exclusive, I might not have ever had an issue with it. But we know that both peer and societal pressures can sometimes make you second-guess things you know to be true.

I am sure you don’t want the life history but if think back I was always the one try things first- makeup – before I was allowed, hair color- because my aunt owned a beauty salon, jewelry- cause cubic zirconia looked just like diamonds, hair extensions- cause long hair was in, eyelash extensions- cause they make my eyes look fabulous. I could go on and on. In the beginning I would simply tell my friends I was trying these things but then as I got older I realized this is who I am and my friends actually looked forward to me learning and reporting back to them.

There were a couple of times when it was more apparent than others that I had a foot in both worlds. Through my early years and though college I was involved in girl scouting. I was 25 years old, single and no kids but had always loved the organization and felt compelled to stay involved. I was asked to be in a promotional video to talk about what girl scouting had done for me and my career. I did my segment, talked about my experiences and how it’s shaped my ability to speak publicly and facilitate large groups of people.

 

Skip, skip, skip I get invited to the premier showing of the video where there is a large room of girls scouting professionals and scouts eager to watch it- as it will soon be released. The video starts and has several other interviews and I am starting to get a knot in my stomach as I see that they do not look like me- I mean the way I presented myself- the way I’ve ALWAYS presented myself. They are in GS or work uniform, but no one is really “made –up.” Then comes me. And wow- I was really “made up” although it didn’t feel that way when I was filming it. I laugh now but it never struck me that I wouldn’t wear turquoise blue, bateau –neck top because the color matched my eyes, balanced my red hair, and created a nice balance for my square face!!!! That my makeup would be as perfect as I could get it and that I would wear complimentary color earrings- with a hint of sparkle. It’s just me.

But watching the video with all those people in the room, I felt uncomfortable. When the video ended, everyone clapped and I tried to make a beeline for the door- not sure why --I think it was because of how “girly” I was in comparison. I was embarrassed and felt as if I looked much less credible than the other women.

But I didn’t make it to the door. Soon I was surrounded by young girl scouts who wanted to talk to me about my job and experiences. I told them what I did, some more stories about how fabulous girl scouting was for me growing up and just generally things I thought that they should pay attention to as they start moving through high school and college. When the evening was coming to a close I still had the circle of girls around me and me hinting at my departure. One of the girls said in a quiet, sheepish voice- “you are so pretty,” we all call you “The Glamour Girl Scout.” Ha. It stopped me right there. There it was --forever captured in film and out of mouth of someone who though it was not such a bad thing- a glamour girl scout, huh.

 

So from that point, I forged ahead with the assumption that this is who I am and that there would never be that internal conflict again. Well, of course, I was wrong on that account-- as it seems to confront me every couple of years in new an interesting ways. I can mostly laugh at it now but not always.

In graduate school one time, where I studied government, my very good friend at the time (and one of my best friends now) was telling me that she was describing me to another group of friends at a party. She said “They didn’t know who I was talking about, and then I said “you know Meghan- the hair, the nails, the makeup.” When she told me this I said “What did you say? You couldn’t say – “you know Meghan the one who asks the questions and gets good class conversations going???” She laughed and said no – once I described you they knew exactly who I was talking about. So there it was again. I knew it. But in this crowd of serious public policy thinkers I thought for sure it would be a liability. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I decided not to pay attention to that. I just carried on- just being me.

So now I in a 14 year career in the area of government and the use of information technology. I have two master degrees and work with the best and the brightest in the field. My organization is the premier applied research center making change in area of electronic governance and innovation in the public sector. I travel throughout the nation and world working with government and academic communities who are dedicated to understanding, learning and implementing change in how governments work and provide services. It’s challenging, invigorating, and humbling all at the same time.

When I read your letter I was on my way to northern Europe to a conference on electronic governance. I spent time there connecting with people who are trying to make change on-the- ground in developing countries and those who are studying the factors that influence long term change and success. But while immersed in the ideas and thinking -- the other side of my brain was observing the rich differences in beauty and fashion. What struck me was that in that part of the world, the women don’t; seem to have this internal struggle. They are poised and I must say – quite glamorous. But with my western hemisphere bias, I will admit that even I was judgmental in wondering how much they would be able to be a part of the conversation. Much to my chagrin I was surprised once again. I should know better. Of all people, I should know that just because a woman spends time thinking about and creating a masterpiece appearance doesn’t preclude her from being what others call “content capable.” Which leads me to think- will we ever escape this knee-jerk reaction?

My core group of friends is exactly both. All very successful in their field look like they walked off the pages of your magazine. Over the years we met through work circles and I think were drawn to each other because of the very ideas your have brought to the surface. We are kindred sisters in this balance.

Well, this is probably more than you wanted and I am sending to you without the review of my own editor ( my sister is an editorial director at a marketing agency and she will be physically ill when I tell her I send this to you without good proofing). But it’s Sunday morning and I got up at 5:00 to write it. Only time I seem to get in a house with two kids and a husband and a schedule that won’t quit. I am sure you are well aware.

I have many more thoughts about this but thought maybe this was already too much. If you are interested I can certainly spend time writing it into a much more cohesive account of how I see and have lived through this dilemma.
--Meghan Cook, Saratoga Springs, NY

My experience with the beauty and brains issue began at an early age. The family story told is that a photographer came to our home to take pictures of me and my brothers and suggested that I would make a good child model. My intellectual parents were cool to the idea but my grandmother was thrilled and she carried the day. At 2 years old I had my own Social Security card and was employed by the Walter Thornton Modeling Agency in New York. Over the following years I was taken out of first pre-school and then grade school to go to modeling session, accompanied by my grandmother, of course. How my parents, especially my Psychiatrist father, handled all this is the basis of my ease with the beauty and brains issue. He told me that dressing up was fun and that he hoped that I would always enjoy looking good but he did emphasize that looks were just given to you and that how you developed your mind and what you gave to others were the important elements of a good life. He encouraged my love of reading and provided many experiences to develop intellectual curiosity through lively dinner table conversation about current affairs and family essay contests. When my picture would appear in a catalogue or magazine my family thought it was nice and then moved on to other things.

As a result of this upbringing I have never had a problem with an interest in looks and brains being compatible in my life. I have never known a difficult situation in my personal and professional life that was not made at least slightly more bearable by wearing a new dress or at least the one that always made me feel good. I attack the new issue of The Atlantic and the New Yorker with the same enthusiasm that I have for W or the Fashion Section of the New York Times. Then there is the subject of shoes, specifically high heels which I wear most of the time and always feel great. For me aging and sensible (code for ugly) shoes will never go together.

When I remarried after years of being a single Mother, I inherited an 80 year old mother in law. While we never shared recipes we did share a lot about life. She got up every day of her life, dressed put on jewelry and faced the day. She watched all the political talk shows and read all the papers and was always ready for a good conversation. She said that a lady always wore a heel at night and made sure her hair was done. She died at 92 a number of years ago and whenever I hear the sound of a gold bracelet I think of her and what she taught me.

Far from seeing a conflict between beauty and brains I celebrate and enjoy both parts of myself. Nothing is better than a day at the bookstore in a great pair of shoes.
--Jeanne Ward

I have wanted to write since I recd the last issue. I agree with you 100%. I think yes you can care about both-and not be shallow or contradictory. I have wondered, a lot, if this is a dichotomy and my conclusion is NO. You don’t have to wear Birkenstocks and sweats to care about the world beyond yours. As long as you give back to those causes, voice your views, and support those causes you can also worry about those wrinkles, and look at what’s in the for the next season. Yes it’s a balance-and I think I would have an ethical internal issue if I spent $20K on plastic surgery but only sent $100 a year to my favorite charity. Tonight on the Beverly Hills Housewives there’s a chick that spent $25K on a pair of sunglasses! Even the other housewives on the show thought this was extravagant and inappropriate. All I could think about is-gee-she could have given that to Women For women...or some other charity! But that’s my viewpoint, and I still care about looking good too!

I like this magazine-I may not love every article, but why should I? No one has time to read every article (though I try!)I also read the New Yorker religiously, and love the cartoons as well as the articles. I love the balance of MORE's "news", especially articles like "big Love", but then I also read the "$25 beauty products" one, as well as the great one on digital job tactics. The latter was timely as I am almost 53 and finding that I am stuck in 1985 when it comes to job search techniques! (I am employed thankfully but may be making some career changes in the next few years).

I do not know you personally -but I think I like you. I always read your column. You also seem to me to be striking that balance, of a fashionable, modern woman, who cares deeply about the bigger issues beyond her NYC magazine world. (I have lived in NYC, and now live in upstate NY-I love it here but I LOVE the city, thank goodness I get there often) I think it’s sad when women, as they get older, "give up" on their looks and fashion. I am finding, just the opposite, as I get older I need to focus more on my body, and its health (by exercising more) so I can be fit and healthy as I get older. And to me that includes trying to "look good" as I age. Sometimes I do find it a challenge to figure out what’s age appropriate, and your magazine helps me do that. I frequently will flip through the sample outfit pages and say-"ok, it’s ok if I wear this", if you all think so too!

Don’t ever stop going to charity events at Cipriani in your best frocks! And don’t stop going to Africa and working from your heart!

That one of the great things about living in the USA-especially NYC...you can do both!
--Lisa McMurdo

Admittedly I do not match the profile of your normal readers, but I do agree women should expect MORE … and my CFO, Ann Rhoads, is a subscriber. And today she let me read the MORE article on migraine and addiction – Outstanding! It is a topic impacting much of my career, so forgive the length. It is an excellent article and from my experience, sadly is all too often the truth about how poorly migraine is treated. The topic was long overdue and you gave migraine sufferers a path forward, some good advice and maybe hope. I am in the pharmaceutical business and helped launched the first drug in the triptan class in 1993 (Imitrex) and 3 other triptans in my career, so I might have to admit that I have sold more migraine medications than anyone I know. And yes, I am in the “hated class” of “pharmaceutical sales” and even worse, I am not a physician (although I am proud that our daughter is in medical school at George Washington). I also started this company as co-founder of Zogenix, because I sincerely felt I owed migraine sufferers “the truth about triptans” … and as good as your article is, to me it still falls short because you did as most physicians do every day in America . . . you overlooked the most effective acute treatment for migraine of all times;- subcutaneous sumatriptan. In my career, I have never watched the real need for efficacy in a debilitating neurologic disorder get so overlooked when we have a therapy that can truly make an immediate difference in patients lives that hardly ever gets used and most never know it may be their best hope for a non-narcotic relief of the migraine. It was not even mentioned in your article, and sadly I know why, but that is a story for another time.

Most importantly, we would be glad to direct you to physician specialists who do use subcutaneous sumatriptan and who do practice the treatment of migraine in accordance with the US Consortium Migraine Treatment Guidelines. So much disability could be avoided if the right approach is adopted and patients are properly educated about their treatment choices. Many of these heroic physicians have migraines themselves, so they know migraine is not “just a headache”, but it is a debilitating neurologic disorder than can get progressively more severe and frequent if untreated or over-treated with the wrong medications that do not work consistently. Said simple, patients should try to get pain-free in 2 hours and they should select the treatment attach by attack that matches the intensity of their pain. (See www.SumavelDosePro.com for full information and the comprehensive information on safety and side effects.)

Today, most patients are never even made aware that there is needle-free device that can allow them, during an acute migraine attack at home, at work or when traveling, to administer sumatriptan subcutaneously without the fear and complicity of normal injections. It is 3-steps simple and the get it right the first time at home during an attach. Over $200 million has been invested in the first migraine medication that comes in a prefilled, single-use, fully-disposable and needle-free delivery system. Broad insurance coverage is available and the patient co-pay is $15 for 6 doses. The FDA approved efficacy rates are “relief in a little as 10 minutes for some patients”, 49% are pain-free (not some relief as measured by oral triptans) and at 2 hours of 64% are pain free with 82% experiencing relief at two hours. Yes, it has all the common triptan side effects, but we have a 18 year safety history. Yet most patients never know they have a way to avoid the ER or a remarkable effective non-oral option to opioids and to reduce ER visits. The mission of Zogenix is to change that basic fact pattern in migraine, and I am very disappointed that the neurologists your writers spoke to did not make this very simple point clear for your readers, and that point is this; - if the physicians followed their own migraine treatment guidelines published in 2000, tens of thousands … no, hundreds of thousands more migraine sufferers would be offered a chance to try subcutaneous sumatriptan at least once (cost of needle-free sample is on Zogenix), with or without a needle, for their more complex acute migraine attacks that patients know from their own experience do not get relief from oral triptans before they are even offered a narcotic. Sumatriptan injection was the first triptan launch in 1993 (I was part of that effort) and now more than ever it is easy to use too. We even just launched a comprehensive” Toolbox” that literally includes everything the patient needs to know including a free sample dose, a $15 co-pay card, education material, web video, migraine journal, etc

The medical reason for why subcu sumatriptan may work when oral triptans do not is “rate of absorption of the triptan in the blood” and T-Max (time to maximum concentration, or 12 minutes vs 1 hour or even longer). So if you have a more severe attack where the pain, and nausea have already advanced, gastric stasis prevents the needed absorption of the orals triptan – the outcome will likely not be good with an oral triptan. It is actually very simple, but after 15 years of big pharma marketing, subcu sumatriptan is less than 4% of the 130 million doses of triptans and most doctor never even offer it to even their more serious migraine patients –they just keep rotating brands of oral triptans from Imitrex, to Maxalt, to Relpax, to Frova, to Treximet -- all orals with similar efficacy … and that is not the answer these patients likely need.

I know this comes across as the “sales pitch”, but that is not my intention. In fact I would be thrilled if more patients even use needle-based sumatriptan which we do not sell, but it is available (Imitrex STATdose). I also want you to know that we can demonstrate that every fact here is true. If patient’s have moderate to severe migraine attacks that go for more than 2 hours without relief or they miss days of work or even think about ER visits … and they have not been told about sumatriptan for subcutaneous injection (our needle-free device or not), they need to get a better doctor and they need to make it a priority and take control of their migraine (also past of the guidelines). Most doctor do not really care about treating” headaches” but migraine is far more than a headache, and they get almost no formal education on migraine treatment in medical school. Patients need to find a doctor that treats migraine in accordance with the migraine treatment guidelines. If their doctor does not know that that means, keep calling until you find one and look them up on the web.

To give you some magnitude of the problem, migraine is #7 in the cost to employers at $24 Billion annually, mainly from lost time and lost productivity at work. Migraine is #9 on the WHO list of disability for woman worldwide. And yet the most effective non-narcotic treatment is rarely used – suma subcu – it is outlandish and it is unfair to patients. To me it is an outrage and that has become my mission and our goal at Zogenix with SUMAVEL DosePro. We rescued needle-free sumatriptan for migraine when big pharma walked away. So far we have helped over 40,000 patients in the USA since early 2010 and yet only 11,000 doctors have ever written their first prescription. We are a very small company with passion, and we are doing our very best. We are moving our campaign to WebMD and other direct to patient approaches. I just wanted you to know even the doctors you interviewed overlook an obvious opportunity for the truth and so we are willing to put you in touch with some of the best physician in this country who are now treating hundreds of their patients effectively without narcotics.

If you ever want to do a follow-up article, I will help you reach the most effective migraine experts in the USA and you can get them to be more specific about what non-oral and non-opioid options patient really have today that most doctors are not telling patient s about because they either do not know better, or they do not want to spend the time or they just see migraine as a bad headache when it is not. Sadly, maybe some overlook us because they like injecting Botox for the 32 injections given each quarter in the office, but even those patients still have painful acute attacks. We can do better. No, we can do MORE.

Thank you for caring about your readers. Migraine is a huge problem unfortunately than primarily impacts women (70%). I hope in some small way this may help the next time you focus on this topic. I am sorry about the length and the rambling, but I was excited about your effort. Congratulations. My bet is some great doctors will write you on this topic as well.
--Roger Hawley, Chief Executive Officer of ZogenixYour publication recently ran two articles by Mark Bittman promoting the "Meatless Monday" campaign.  I would like to reach out to you with facts that debunk the myths promoted by Mr. Bittman.  My name is Sarah Hubbart, and I serve as Communications Director of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, a national non-profit that helps the public understand how today's farmers care for their animals while providing nutritious, plentiful, and affordable food products for all.

According to significant research, there is no scientifically valid reason to eliminate red and processed meat and poultry from a balanced diet.  Moderation is key, and experts agree that the healthiest diet consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and nutrient-rich meats and poultry.  Meat provides nutrients such as potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B12—which are only found in animal foods.   

In fact, there have been numerous studies that show how consuming meat can in fact improve your health.   In 2008, scientists at the University of Oxford found that those on a meat-free diet are six times more likely to suffer brain shrinkage as opposed to those who consume meat.   In a study published in the Journal of the Association for Cancer Research, it was found that eating a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may reduce the risk of cancer.  Meat and poultry are a major source of "complete" protein, as they contain all the essential amino acids a body cannot produce on its own.  Eliminating meat from the diet can pose health risks, as vegetarian and vegan diets must be carefully monitored in order to ensure the proper nutrients are received.

Mr. Bittman also claims that reducing meat consumption will cut down on consumers' carbon footprint.  However, he does not mention that if the entire U.S. population went meatless for one day a week (with all 311 million citizens partaking), the U.S. carbon footprint would only reduce by  0.44 percent. (Calculations available here.)  That is a miniscule number compared to the other ways consumers could reduce carbon output—such as giving up their car or planting a tree.  

Instead of a grassroots effort to promote healthy eating and environmental consciousness, the Meatless Monday campaign is a well-funded, radical effort to promote animal rights and eliminate animal agriculture.  The Animal Agriculture Alliance promotes a healthy, balanced diet comprised of both vegetables and meat.  If you would like to know more about the Alliance or more information about Meatless Mondays, please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail at shubbart@animalagalliance.org.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration!
--Sarah Hubbart

I really appreciate your thoughts on being both brainy and fashion conscious. I used to think the two were mutually exclusive, that all I really needed to pay attention to were the hurting people of this world. This mindset recently landed me a spot as a contestant on TLC's What Not to Wear. During the week long makeover not only did I receive a crash course in fashion but I came to realize that I do need to care about how I look, if only so that people will pay attention to me long enough to hear what I am really passionate about.

Perhaps the best representation of my mindset is the advertisement for Rosetta stone on p.81 of the same issue. I have always been the woman more passionate about education than shoes. But ever so gradually I am learning to occasionally glance over and make the shoes a priority too.
--Kil

I enjoyed reading your editorial on ending the debate on beauty versus brains. I raised both of my daughters to not depend on their beauty to get them ahead in the world, but to use it as a tool to enhance how far their brains can get them in the world. One is an attorney and the other an IT recruiter and they are both smart, classy, well dressed women who care about the world and about how they look. I don't think they are unique in that aspect because young women their ages seem to do both very well. What is probably more unique are the mothers that raised them to be aware that they can have that "happy balance".
--Kathy Colvard, Dallas, TX

I just finished reading your editor's letter about ending the beauty versus brains debate, with a smile on my face.

In high school I overplayed the serious card so that teachers would think of me as more than "just a girl," but a science teacher saw that I yearned for the frivolity of my female peers in plaid skirts with bouncy pony tails. He asked me one day, "Do you want to be smart or beautiful? You can't be both." Now, that sounds plain dumb. It's funny how his words chased me my whole life, creeping up on me whenever I saw myself getting ahead in the workplace. He might as well have said, "Nobody likes a brainiac, they're just pathetic."

After his little speech, I decided I wanted to be pretty more than I wanted to be a smarty-pants. I thought being an over-achiever would make me less attractive and less fun. What a mistake! It wasn't until my thirtieth birthday that I realized I was wasting my life by not bringing "both" sides of my femininity, my brains AND my love of high-heels and shiny hair, to the table. As quickly as possible I enrolled at my local state university. This fall I'm finishing my Bachelor's degree in mathematics, economics and Chinese language, and preparing to start a Business PhD next fall in operations research and strategy. Frankly, I've never felt more beautiful than I do now.

Anyone who thinks a woman's choose between developing her smarts or showcasing her beauty has some sort of axe to grind, to the detriment of us all. Thank you for your light-hearted approach at all the things we really care about. I'd take moisturizing lipstick on a journalist over a grumpy protestor in fatigues with dry skin any day.

Love the mag!
--Allie

Reading the Editor's Letter in the Oct issue, revealed why I like More so much. Your practice of integrating fashion, beauty, news and real-life issues keeps me well-informed on many levels.
While I don't live your dichotomy to the extreme, my fashion sense and work performance have often been commented on as if both can't exist in the same person.

It took me a long time to realize I didn't have to be one or another. Being fashion conscience enhances my ability to work. I simply feel better about myself and things in general if I think I look good.

Thanks for making More a place where beauty & brains come together.
--Anissia Hedrick

I just got my October issue and I am knocked out! From the Editor's Letter (in which I realize you are not just girly but smart about the really important stuff in this world) to the widely varied and exciting articles and features, I'm just thrilled. My time-saver strategy is to go through a magazine ONE TIME, bending the first page of the articles I want to get back to when I have an extra five minutes. In this issue, almost every article is dog-eared.

Here's what matters to me, Lesley: life is complicated, and so are we women. You get that, and because of you, More Magazine reflects that reality. Thank you so very much.

Your erstwhile subscriber,
--Lynne Spreen

That is what I like to say. I love to do my hair, play with makeup and you gotta love a hot pair of boots with just the right pair of jeans. I turned 40 a few months ago and I finally realized that we can do it all and look good doing it.

I like the fact that today women don’t have to be one certain way. We are capable of being all things to all people and at one point of my life I fought that. However, with age, there is awareness that it is okay to be pretty, smart, funny, spiritual and everything in between.

We are able to put on our grungy clothes to help those whose lives have been turned upside down by a hurricane with our Disaster Response Team. You get so dirty and look so bad you are unrecognizable but never felt so pretty. We are also talented enough to assemble a team of people to accomplish any task at hand. Gentle enough to listen and cry with a friend in need and so joyful you can laugh until you cry with another as you shop for a new dress.

So when you ask about beauty vs. brains there is no versus, it is the same. When you realize how smart you are, you can then realize how beautiful you are. With a thankful spirit you can look at the life and people around you and know that you are all things to all people. You are…more than just a pretty face.

What do you think? Please write me.
--Tina Wilson,Frisco, TX

I enjoyed reading your viewpoint on the eternal struggle to strike a healthy balance between fashion and “brainier” subject matter. As a freelance writer, I often accept fashion assignments because I enjoy writing about fashion and style as much as I enjoy writing about topics with more gravitas. The classic yet “ugly” beauty-versus- brains debate implies that reading fashion magazines damages the brain cells. Does a woman have to dress like a frump to enjoy reading Tolstoy? Thanks for adding shades of gray to the lowbrow versus highbrow debate.
--Rachelle Nones

After seeing the "Some like It Hot" photos in your Sept. issue, I am so disappointed in More magazine. Fish-net stockings and breasts falling out of plunging necklines? Haven't intelligent women moved beyond that? You should be one of the few -- supposedly supporting women -- who avoid this kind of display.
--Barbara Jacobitti, Lebanon, Ill

I like the editorial content. It's a nice balance of glamour and intellectual rigor. As a black woman and subscriber, I'd like to see more black women and women of color featured. BTW, I'm giving up my hardcopy and going digital through my Nook. Can't wait to get the first copy!
--Caryl Cooper, Tuscaloosa. AL

I am sending you an email this morning to express my deep disappointment in your October issue not even acknowledging the fact that October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month...having suffered through this myself along with thousands of other woman who are being diagnosed on a daily basis, I can't imagine why you chose not to address this in your editorial address....I was a big fan of More..But no More.
--Mary K., Boston, MA

I have been a subscriber to your magazine for two years and will definitely renew when its time. I truly love this magazine. But I have one complaint. Regarding your section called "Second Acts". Why is it that all the women you profile are women who left six figure jobs and 9 times out of 10 have a husband who also makes a lot of money? They get laid off or quit, go buy a goat farm on 400 acres in the country and live happily ever after! I cannot relate to any of these women you profile. I am sure I'm not the only one either. Not all of us make $100,000+ a year and can just buy land or open up shop wherever and whenever we want. It makes me very upset to read these in the sky stories every month. Why not profile a woman who is more like me? Someone who is a single parent, with no husband/boyfriend/live-in, who got laid off, fired or quit her job because she couldn't stand it anymore. Who doesn't have any money, any credit, or any resources to make her life better for her and her children, but in light of all this, still manages to start her own business and become moderately successful? That would be inspiring to me. To read about a woman I can identify with. The economy in America is terrible and I think a majority of women are thankful to have a job that pays $10.00-12.00 an hour. Please try to include some stories of women that are more relatable and not just CEO's, directors of major companies, etc. etc. Try to profile women who work minimum wage or slightly better, jobs that turned their lives around and pulled off a successful "second act".

Thank you.
--Jennifer Smith

Hi Jennifer,

Thanks for reaching out! We appreciate your feedback and are so glad you love More! We'll keep your suggestion in mind as we decide what other Second Acts to feature. In the meantime, be sure to check out "Start Your Biz for Under $150. Really." It's one of our favorites that highlights women who have reinvented themselves on a budget. "Give Your Career Some Oxygen," a story about women who launched businesses on the side without quitting their jobs, is also very inspiring.

--MORE Editors

I am writing to make a few suggestions about the anti-aging advertisements in your magazine, More. It seems as if every kind of these ads has negative statements about maturing women and their appearance. One of your ads from the April 2011 edition reads: "Say hello to the real me"...eb5 brings out the real you by helping reduce the impact aging has on our skin.....Leave the signs of aging to masquerade parties-and show the world the real you." How in the world is a mature woman supposed to feel good about aging when they see an ad such as this? As a woman of 28, I even find it offensive that it seems as if I or any other woman with crow's feet isn't "real" without this cream. Whatever happened to beauty from the inside out? Another ad in the same April 2011 edition states the same kind of thing..."You are beautiful. Stay that way with Ceramide restorative capsules." I understand that the aging process can be a harsh kind of reality for us women, but it would be appreciated if the ads were uplifting, not degrading in saying that one must use cream, capsules, Botox and so on, in order to be beautiful. Outside beauty may fade naturally over time, but inner beauty lasts a lifetime. After all, is that not the kind that ladies should focus on foremost? Just a suggestion and an eye opener. Does a mature woman have to use these products to be smart, wise, and strong? I suggest things in your magazines that boost natural beauty. Face it, we all get old, but anyone can be beautiful on the outside like a rose and be cold as ice on the inside. Media encourages women to be vain about appearance, rather than focusing on becoming a strong, kind-hearted person. Sure, there are some positive images about that, but not nearly enough, and there should be more advocates for inner beauty. That is my focus in this e-mail to you...I would certainly appreciate any feedback that you and/or your team may have. Thank you very much for your attention in this matter.
--Debra Riese

"Fat? Who Cares!" is one of those counter-to-everything-else-in-the-issue articles More runs consistently. Losing weight is hard. WAH! Just quit trying, you poor thing, and have a cookie (or a dozen).

Read the statistics put forth by Linda Bacon carefully. They're not great news for overweight/obese women. We, as a country, need to get moving and stop overeating. That's how you lose weight, folks. Keep with it and it'll work. (I say that as someone who achieved a 50+ pound weight loss and have maintained it for nearly 25 years.)

When are we, as a country, going to reassume embracing what is difficult instead of opting for the easy way out every. Freaking. Time? And making up excuses to justify taking the easy out? What example does that set for our ever-fatter children?

Ms. Bacon has an agenda, and you gave her a(nother) platform to further it. Yes, yo-yo dieting is bad. Dieting itself is bad, because it implies that you will go off it. Embracing eating in moderate quantities and exercising--a lifestyle commitment--is the key to successful weight loss. Yes, it's that easy.

Grow up, folks, and stop whining. Just do what you know you need to do.
--MaryEllen Smith, Columbia, MD
I enjoyed your letter in the October edition, "Ending the Beauty v. Brains Debate". I'm a litigation attorney where women are making their mark in what was once an area of the law dominated by powerful men. The area of law I primarily practice--intellectual property litigation--is even less populated by women. I see the conflict women face when trying to work within the walls of this male-dominated area of the law. Some take the path of abandoning all femininity in the hopes of being taken "seriously". This comes at a price, however, because as in every aspect of life, you get more flies with honey. I and a number of other women in my law firm take the approach of being strong and powerful coupled with feminine sweetness. The impact is profound--with opposing counsel, third party witnesses, deponents, etc. It truly is possible to practice law shoulder to shoulder with powerful men without abandoning feminine attributes in an attempt to be considered a formidable team member and opponent...which is liberating, as I enjoy donning a pretty suit and lipstick while kicking butt!

I LOVE your magazine! As a 35-year-old, the time I spend really reading and absorbing the content within the cover of your magazine eclipses the quick flipping through that I find myself doing with other "fluff" magazines. As a woman of substance, I need a magazine of substance, which is precisely what your publication delivers, without fail. Keep up the incredible work -- and if you ever seek out someone to write a short piece who works cheap (free), drop me a line.
--Gretchen, Austin, TX

As I retrieve my newest issue of More Magazine I become buoyant at first glance of the cover. If, per chance, you are running an anti-aging article, (and when aren’t you) or the ultimate guide to organizing for the absolute last time, or the best - how to lose twenty pounds in twenty days while sleeping, I am in heaven. For as old as I get I adore magazines.

Hurrah for the vain and superficial, which I heartedly indulge in when I am able and titillated by such. And thanks for More Magazine, which so satisfies this hedonistic behavior in my being.

As to the seriously posed argument in your Editor’s Letter “…abandon the allegedly superficial interests of youth…” You nailed it. If you got a bit of brains, and for the lucky, getting older exacerbates this ingredient, and if you still hanker to look good - where’s the conflict?” In fact, if you get to a certain age dumb as wood it ain’t easy to get up to snuff, whereas when you reach a certain age the being “pretty” part is gleeful to be on the inside track of the newest magic on the block.

Whether strewn across my bed, stuffed in a chair or lying on my desk More Magazine melds well with my other “propaganda.”
--Rhoda Schild, New York, NY

Loved your column. As a woman who divides her wardrobe between steel toe boots for auditing paper machines for "slime" and fashion that reflects my personal style, I well understand the beauty vs. brains conflict. As an industrial microbiologist, I often got frustrated that people couldn't believe that scientists could love fashion (or have a wicked sense of humor). It is easier now. It could be because women are now accepted in non-traditional jobs or since I turned 60 this year, I am simply more confident in whom I am than when I was in my 20's.

Keep up the good work. MORE is the only "women's magazine" I subscribe to. More hits the right balance of meaty articles and a bit of fun.
--Linda Robertson

I have subscribed to "MORE" because it has appealed to me because it is beyond "Glamour" and "Seventeen" Magazines. However, at the ripe age of 57, I am quite frustrated with the lack of material for the women over age 55. Years ago, I subscribed to "Lear's" and loved the
content for the aging woman; John Bradshaw's columns, fashion insight, and life changing articles.

Your example of a woman age 59, with long, beautiful, slightly graying hair is NOT the norm. Let's be a little more honest and get to the hearts of the aging baby boomers. Most of us have health problems maintaining a decent weight, with the menopausal weight gains and other health issues, such as Type II diabetes, depression, high blood pressure, cholesterol, cancer and orthopedic issues.

Most of us are struggling with our family life changing with emptying nests, along with husbands who are crabby, disoriented, cheating, and want a younger woman. I have been married 35 years, raised four children (youngest is 21 finishing college) and still have issues with the kids being financially dependent in some way. I have a daughter who lives in NYC who fell, had to take off three weeks of work to have shoulder surgery and needed me to fly out and take care of her. Plus, my husband and I bailed her out of her rent for the month. She is 30 years old.

My husband fell apart mentally after the 2008 market crash and has not been the same guy since. He worked for Lehman Bros. for over 32 years and we lost several million dollars in Lehman stocks. He refuses to take an antidepressant. He also has "disappeared" as my best friend and buddy, especially since I have required several surgeries including having both of my knees replaced. He told me, "I cannot be your care giver." How disappointing to come towards the last half of my life, thinking I was with my life partner and best friend---but cannot rely on him because he is so "self absorbed". What happened to "for better and for worse?"

I am optimistic that I can weather through this hurdle of getting into the swing of the "retirement" age group. However, it would be really nice to read a magazine that covers ALL ages, styles of hair and clothing for all shapes and sizes (!), and issues that pertain to not just the women in the age 35-50 realm.

Again, I love your magazine and the format but would like to see MORE!
--Karen E. Phillipp, Burr Ridge, IL

Thank you for your Editor's Letter in the October 2011 issue. It made me continue reading today. My sister in PA sent me an unbeknownst gift and one recent day your magazine entered my world. I appreciate who you've become.

I’ve included a short piece I wrote this evening as I read your magazine, considering a submission for the More.com blogosphere. I'll register it on More.com, but thought you might like to know that you touched my life tonight and I am grateful.
--Mary Cassidy

I'm sitting in the salon having my hair colored and reading More's October issue. Your Editor's Letter struck a chord with me. Like you, I feel I've hit my stride with a happy balance between these two sides of myself - beauty and brains.

At 52 I look 40 and still feel 30! Lucky for me I have great genes but I also workout, have a regular yet simple skin care routine and take care of myself. I love fashion and can't wait to clean out my closet and buy new things each season. I'm sitting here now in my favorite worn Joes jeans looking forward to wearing a fitted little black dress to a black tie event this evening.

As for the brains part - I work for a Fortune 500 company as a vice president responsible for a global business unit. It's not unusual to find magazines like More next to The Wall Street Journal in my briefcase.

Thanks for providing women like me a great magazine!
--Candy L.

I'm an average (I think, some may argue) Jane Q. Public reader and I enjoy your magazine. A few things I would like to see are:

Men in Uniform: What's the fascination? Why do we love them? Who cares? We just do! (Lots of pictures! Of real everyday heroes)

What's out? What was out but is back in?

I like the Reinvent for Your Passion and Real-Women Tested Skin and Hair Tips in your October magazine.

Keep up the good work. Real women need good friends in magazines like yours. Not thick glossy magazines of useless "information".
--Christine Nichols

Thanks for asking your readers what they think about this topic. This is a particularly timely subject for me as I recently grappled with how to dress the first week at my new job.

Just last Sunday, on the eve of my new position as a Program Manager for a visible government contract, I stood in my closet and tried to strike a balance between the varying types of messages I could send to my new colleagues through dress. To accessorize or not to accessorize? Dark pants suit (boring) or skirt suit with a bright colored shell complemented by red pumps? I viewed the dark suit conveying the message of seriousness, competence, and take-no-prisoners. I viewed the outfit I really wanted to wear as "me," but was concerned that I would convey a message to some that I viewed work as a fashion show.

As women in business we have to manage against these competing stereotypes but cannot let ourselves fall into the trap of choosing one Star-bellied Sneetch camp over the other. Buried deep within my own professional subconscious was a comment made about me as I walked through a squad room at 22 years of age. When I was introduced as the new criminal analyst, the senior detective across the room not-so-quietly whispered to the other detectives that I was "cute". (The next day after that episode, of course, I returned to work wearing a navy pants suit.)

Now, at 38 years of age I decided the best answer was to strike a balance. While I opted for the skirt suit/bright shell outfit I wanted to wear, I put the red pumps on hold. I decided the shoes might be too much for a new environment to handle. But after reading your magazine I also decided that I will introduce them Week 2.

Thanks for allowing me to share and keep up the great work. More is a terrific balance between serious topics and fashion fun. After all - isn't that what most of us want? I can enjoy reading an article on healthcare reform just as much as I can enjoy an article about "4 Easy Ways to Get Thicker Looking Hair." The latter doesn't make me a beauty school dropout, and the former doesn't make me a healthcare economist. We are far more complex than that.
--Stefanie G, Austin, TX

"Thank God! It's about time you got those things taken care of”.

These words, we are to believe, are from the mouth of writer Amanda Robb's 10-year old daughter upon learning of her mother’s upcoming surgery the next day to remove wrinkles.
She is ten! And "those things" that need to be "taken care of" are the natural features of her mother's face!

One hates to think of in what environment this girl is growing up, what she and her friends watch and talk about, how they view women and on what scale they will value themselves.
Amanda is now a happy 7.
--Eva Nyqvist, Nyack.

Since you issued an invitation in your most current editorial, I thought I would accept.

As one of the few women (1978) in Engineering Technology - Manufacturing Processes I can attest to the beauty and brains part, frankly for all of my schooling. I graduated, 1980 second in my class and went onto my first job working with a bunch of welders designing pressure vessels, mud tanks for the Alaskan oil fields and vacuum cooling units for California produce.

It is something that I learned through experience to manage my presentation finding the "middle way" from trying to become "one of the boys", to, realizing I am not and asking to be treated as who I was, the engineer working with them to design the products, whatever they were to be the best. I'll never forget the salesman who asked if I was a "draftsperson" trying to be PC and I corrected him with, "yeah and they let me do the engineering too, how can I help you?"

Later, as a Business Consultant working in high tech companies with brilliant people, I again learned to manage my presentation of strength and confidence to not be misinterpreted as sexual energy/attraction. Plus when working with my husband, I also had to manage my "energy" to be equal to his, because the audience could react negatively if I did anything less. They would misinterpret the imbalance as him "dominating" me and that could wreak havoc during a training session with men and women. Very dicey if you know what I mean.

I continue to subscribe to your magazine because it is representative of women world-wide being first and foremost great human beings who happen to be woman. After all, we are still just one of the species on the planet and it is important to find a sustainable "place" on this growing smaller kind of world.

Keep up the great work of offering hope, and pathways that "real" women have created for themselves and others,
--Barbara Parton

As a former migraine sufferer, I was interested to see what progress has been made since my last, horrible, 3 day "event" over 15 years ago. I am not sure why I was so surprised to find out that there are at least 30 drugs to try and that alternative treatments only got a paragraph in the whole multi page article.

I now realize that my "cure" that I have, up until now, attributed solely to receiving Craniosacral Therapy may be just remission, alleviating major stressors, hormone adjustments or some combination of these or other things. But I still believe that the Craniosacral sessions I received were the cornerstone of sending this nasty condition packing and I wish more sufferers were aware of it and tried it.

Craniosacral Therapy is a non invasive, gentle, deeply relaxing, non additive (or a least not in a bad, life threatening way!) alternative to chemicals that I was introduced to by a massage therapist. The technique was discovered/developed by Dr. John Upledger (www.upledger.com) and there are therapists practicing this method all over the world.
While it is probably not covered by insurance, if it works, and it did for me in about six $70 sessions, it is so worth it!

I know everyone is different and nothing works the same way for everyone. But since there are so many people suffering, what is the harm in looking at one more possible (non drug, no side effects) solution?

Hope this can help someone!
--Diane

I was delighted to read your editorial "Ending the Beauty Versus Brains Debate." This is a topic that has interested me for some time, and it came to light in the news recently when it was exposed that JC Penney has created a T-shirt for sale that reads "I'm too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me," with resulting well deserved backlash: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/31/jc-penneys-girls-shirt_n_943349....
I live in the northwest, where taking an interest in clothing seems to be viewed as selfish and superficial. I am an athlete and outdoorswoman, so I appreciate the value of fleece, goretex, wool, and capilene, but I also view fashion as a creative outlet, and love the idea of "wearable art." People frequently make false first impressions of me because of how I dress, ranging from assuming I am a snob, to being surprised that I am an environmentalist. When they get to know me, they are shocked to find out I have gone 3 weeks without a shower, pooped in an ammo can on river trips, and traveled in places like remote Africa.

I'll never forget an incident in college where I was eating in a small country restaurant with about 20 rafting guide friends. They were all "granolas:" dressed in hippy clothes and Birkenstocks, unshaven, ungroomed. There I was in my matching purple jogging shorts and singlet. The waitress went around the table taking orders, and when she got to me she stopped and said emphatically "what are YOU doing with this crowd?!" Most of my best friends over the years have continued to be outdoor types who have little to no interest in clothing or fashion. They love me despite my passion for clothes, which they cannot understand, however I have frequently been self conscious over the years about being judged for how I am dressed, especially on social occasions where I am not well known.

Recently I found some interesting quotes regarding fashion and a blog that proclaimed "your body is your first home, you should never feel guilty about adorning it" (author unknown). I especially liked this quote:

"You don't have to signal a social conscience by looking like a frump. Lace knickers won't hasten the holocaust, you can ban the bomb in a feather boa just as well as without, and a mild interest in the length of hemlines doesn't necessarily disqualify you from reading Das Kapital and agreeing with every word. " ~Elizabeth Bibesco

I hope Americans will learn to emulate the Europeans when it comes to fashion: cultivating a sense of personal style, valuing quality over quantity, and appreciating the beauty of adornment. Meanwhile, I hope you continue to tackle this topic and prove by your very existence that beauty and brains can coexist! ~Nancy Enz Lill, Spokane, WA
--Diane Trader, Kalamazoo, MI

First Published Mon, 2011-09-26 09:29

Find this story at:

http://www.more.com/letters-october-2011