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by Abigail Van Buren

Women's Magazines Stand Accused of Peddling Trash

DEAR ABBY: I am writing in response to "No More Noxious Ads," who was allergic to perfume samples in women's magazines. I, too, am offended by these pullouts; however, what offends me more is the seemingly unenlightened content in these same publications, and others, at the checkout stands across the country.

Some of the explicit articles now printed in women's magazines remind me of the trash published 20 years ago in Playboy. This kind of garbage disguised as "helpful hints" used to be considered X-rated -- certainly not acceptable in decent company.

Why do these publishers continue to print explicit and shocking attempts to destroy the moral fiber of our nation? As human beings, we should have loftier goals than learning new ways to titillate our already fragile social condition, all to the exclusion of making meaningful leaps forward.

I am not a conservative, religious-right anti-feminist, but I am tired of all the focus on sex these days. Are your other readers similarly irked? Maybe publishers would listen if your mail indicated significant numbers of displeased women looking for a forum. -- D.S. IN KENT, WASH.

DEAR D.S. IN KENT: Publishers of women's magazines that some people find offensive will not listen to me or my readers. They are operating under the assumption that sex sells. They do, however, pay attention to numbers, and only when their circulation shows an impressive decline will they clean up their act.

DEAR ABBY: I am writing to "Oldest Sibling, Too," who was concerned about her first child's reaction to the attention his new sister was receiving.

I am the mother of two children who are 18 months apart in age. When we were expecting baby No. 2, I made a point of reminding family members and close friends that our son was too young to understand a lot of extra attention being given to a new baby. After all, "Nicole" was not used to the attention that is heaped on small children, but "Andrew" was. This helped remind them to be more considerate of his feelings while admiring the new addition.

While on shopping trips and outings, people often stopped to comment on the new baby. Many times Andrew was asked questions about his sister. However, when he was overlooked, I made the effort for him to be included by encouraging him to reply to simple questions. For instance, if they asked the name of the baby, I would in turn ask Andrew if he could tell the nice people his sister's name. I believe this helped keep him from taking a back seat to the new baby, as well as helping develop his vocabulary.

Andrew is now 5 and Nicole is 3 1/2. They are extremely close and have no problems with sibling rivalry. Andrew is very protective, and he now tries to include Nicole if someone leaves her out of a conversation. -- PROUD MOTHER, LOS ANGELES

DEAR PROUD MOTHER: You have every right to be proud. Nipping the inevitable sibling rivalry in the bud is no easy task. Other mothers should take a page out of your book. Congratulations.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more attractive person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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