Letters to the Editor of Women's Magazines, With Edith Zimmerman

ELLE'S BELLESI just received the latest issue of SELF, and I’m looking forward to enjoying it from cover to cover! The section on how to save someone’s life in an emergency, the delicious-looking recipes and the fashion suggestions I can actually afford are among the many standouts. It’s the best issue I’ve gotten in a long time. Style and substance-that’s why I subscribe! Keep up the good work.
Kerrie Smothers, St. Louis (Self, August ’09)

My most recent copy of SELF fell through the slot in my door with a bang, and I screamed because I thought it was a gunshot. Nope-it was just my magazines in the mail! Anyway, the magazine itself is about a foot long, like usual, and you know what it reminds me of? A square, but a little bit longer. Can’t wait to read what’s in this long square!
Kendra W., Amarillo, TX

I loved your decision to put Gwen Stefani on the July cover, and I really enjoyed reading Aaron Gell’s article about her, “Underneath It All.” She is an accomplished and multitalented woman, taking on both the music and fashion industries and becoming an icon in the process. I appreciated her delving deep into the internal struggle she faces while attempting to successfully balance a home and work life. I commend her for her honesty and the bravery it took to do an interview during such a trying time in her life.
Lauren, Highland Park, IL (Elle, September ’09)

Did you guys put Gwen Stefani on the cover? I’m like, “Is that her?” I asked my friend Denise and she’s like, “I don’t know.” I’m like, “Denise!”
Karen L., via e-mail

The biggest winner
I watch “The Biggest Loser” every week and love seeing Jillian help people change their lives. Now I can benefit from her expertise in the magazine, too. It doesn’t get any better than this!
Jessica Zausch, Menomonee Falls, WI (Self, September ’09)

I’ve been lucky enough to experience a lot of great moments in my life-graduating college, getting married, giving birth-but nothing compares to the times I’ve spent reading you. Nothing. No-thing. Nuuuuh-thinggg. Are you listening, you old dummy? You old dumb bitch? Dumbitch. Seriously, though-fucking look at me! Do you even have eyes?! Oh you fucking slut. Fuck. I’m a fucking wreck. And now I’m fucking crying! Goddamnit, fuck. I love you. I love you, you old fucking bitch. You slutty old horrible whore, you’re my best fucking friend. Come here. Come the fuck here!
Wendy S., Chattanooga, TN


Step it up!
I read in SELF that a daily exercise break is good for productivity, so I used a pedometer to measure out a 1.2-mile route around our five office floors. By sending an email to my coworkers, I gathered up 30 walkers to complete the route three times a week. What a great morale booster and fun way to spend time with my staff! Thank you for the great idea and helping us stay fit.
Claudia Hoffman, Miami (Self, September ’09)

I read in SELF that the strongest noose is made of silk. But that was in an article from last year, so here’s what I’m wondering: Does that still “hold up” today?
Donna Doogan, Duluth
From the editors: Yup!

I just want to say that I love Marie Claire for its sharp-witted sarcasm-when I read your magazine, it talks back to me, unlike all of those other, brainless fashion mags. Thanks for the sassiness!
Rachel Stiles, Waukegan, IL (Marie Claire, September ’09)

Sometimes I pick up your magazine and hold it against my head like a telephone. “Hello, who’s this? Oh, hi! How are you? You saw who at the store?” We can chat for hours. Chit chat, chit chat, chit chat. “What are you doing later? Oh that sounds fun. Me? I’m not sure.” It’s really nice!
Elise, Tampa

Dangerous dieting
“The Scary New Skinny” really hit home for me. I used to cleanse and fast constantly because I believed I was doing something healthy. No one questioned my decision to cut dairy, meat, sugar and wheat from my diet, or to live off juices, watermelon and teas; it was all for seemingly healthy reasons. After about five years of this, I finally realized these behaviors were not healthy and that I had an eating disorder. I sought treatment, and I never want to go down that road again.
Jenna M.
Lethbridge, Alberta (Self, September ’09)

For about 45 years I used to kill people constantly-literally murdering them by shooting bullets through their brains and then cutting off their heads with a knife. And even though everyone I killed was either super annoying or weird (you can ask my friends, and they’d all be like “yes they were!”), one day-this morning, actually-I saw my own reflection in my blood-smeared knife, and I looked so freaky I didn’t recognize myself. I’m hanging my head low today, that’s for sure.
Candace Staggerfield, Northampton, MA

Edith Zimmerman is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn.