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Women's magazines: style vs. substance
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Family Circle -- A picture of July Fourth cupcakes on the cover makes it seem fluffier in content than it really is. The editor strikes a balance between less-consequential stuff, such as different ways to fold a dinner napkin, with substantive family issues, such as crash-proofing your teen and taking care of your aging parents.

One article called "Easy Money" focuses on the problems of three cash-strapped families with advice from experts about how to turn their situations around. It's tough to solve complicated problems in such a short space. I would have liked to see more than five to seven paragraphs devoted to each family. And while I disagreed with a couple of the solutions, overall the articles could apply to a lot of people, so I hope their readers benefit from the information.

Style: 38 percent
Substance: 62 percent

Ladies' Home Journal -- The magazine addresses exfoliation, manicures, makeup and denim fashions on the light side. You'll also find plenty of articles relating to family issues, diet and nutrition as well as one on chronic pain. A royal celebrity profile on Sarah Ferguson and her two princess daughters, a special report on the challenges of interracial families and an article about a father whose daughter died after taking the abortion pill give readers much to contemplate.

I could find only one personal finance piece -- on the risks of automatic bill paying. It does cover the topic more thoroughly than money articles in other publications, however.

Style: 34 percent
Substance: 66 percent

More -- Truly the most substantive of all, this magazine for women of age 40 and up focuses on aging, though in a positive sense. There's much ado about gray hair throughout the issue, with a confession from Editor in Chief Peggy Northrop, who went gray prematurely in her mid-thirties and stayed that way until she was 45 and searching for a new job. ("Hello high-maintenance highlights, goodbye, thousands of dollars that, if laid end to end in a mutual fund, would no doubt have led me straight to a beach house down payment.")

Next: "There's a lot to More magazine. ..."
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