14 MARCH 1958, Page 18


SIR,—It is perhaps scarcely worth while to refute Miss Mitchison's very bold assertion that 'almost all women,' i.e., almost half the human race, enjoy that peculiar form of journalism; women's magazines. She would, no doubt, regard me and most of my friends as having 'intellectual pretensions considerably in excess of their intellectual attainments'; but it is not my intellectual pretensions which stand, a formidable iron curtain, between me and these magazines (called by most of their readers, I believe, 'books), but a mere ordinary, unpretentious distaste for being bored. I perceive from their covers that they would bore me totally. If I tried to read one in a dentist's waiting- room, my toothache would become acute. Even the older and more dignified among them cannot compete with the bi-sexual Illustrated London News, with its photographs of archeologically exciting places. Who could prefer the sartorial and social scene? Miss Mitchison will retort that I am too old for these maga- zines. But I have always fell the same about them, though when I was young there were, of course, far fewer. And my reading tastes are, I find, quite normal among middle-class professional women of all ages. Miss Mitchison assures that these periodicals contain 'day dreams.' But whose, I wonder? Certainly not mine, at any age; not even in my teens, for then I was all for adventure. Anyhow, one does not read for 'day dreams,' whatever these may be, but for enter- tainment, interest, ideas and style. Should I find any. of these four in these journals? Should I find 'pop fiction intelligent, witty or wise? Would it hold my attention? If I thought so, I would buy and read one. All I can say is that these magazines have an un- commonly forbidding and unappetising appearance, and that my repugnance is shared by very many others.—Yours faithfully,