The inaugural issue of Seattle Woman proclaims itself an "intelligent, insightful, and involved magazine that will empower local women." The editor's note calls it "a smart magazine for Seattle's smart women" which makes one wonder if there's already a dumb magazine for dumb women.

It's instantly obvious that this is a magazine for women whose favorite color is celery green and who take pride in being "real." The "we are every woman" foldout cover--a self-consciously posed photo of 11 local women of varied color and size (and none with cute shoes)--is pleasant and horrible. The cover captures perfectly the half-smiles Seattleites offer strangers, the safe and drab public façades of too many Seattle women.

This slim mag's first issue is informative and in places marginally entertaining, and it includes an earnest Poetry Corner. This is a tofu read: undoubtedly good for you but none too appetizing. The October feature on breast cancer is smart--a look at why Washington State has the highest incidence of breast cancer in the country (conjectures: women here tend to give birth later in life, and we have less sun exposure and therefore less cancer-fighting vitamin D). But must smart preclude sexy? Magazines should be sexy--and Seattle women are sexy--but there's absolutely nothing sexy about Seattle Woman. There is a bra on page 20, but it's an ugly art piece, covered in tiny eyeballs and modeled by a ghastly plastic bust.

In addition to the saw-that-one-comin' piece on breast cancer, the first issue offers predictable interviews with Flying Fish chef Christine Keff and Swivel Editor Brangien Davis; an article on how to successfully divvy household chores (the author suggests drawing up a task chart, and tells readers to enlist their children's help around the house, and pointedly reminds us ladies that nagging your man never works); one on the pros and cons of being a woman in politics; and advice on estate planning.

Yawn. Is the experience of the modern urban female really so dull?

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