Commentary

BeE Woman

I'm not sure about the origins of BeE Woman -- funky fonts aside. But I'm down with the mission, "politics, lifestyle and finance." A presidential race is afoot, so a political bent is sound. Of course, an excruciating two-year run can exhaust even an ardent patriot. We all want an able Commander-in-Chief, but I can't take any more dissections of Obama's middle name, Hillary's "polarity" or Giuliani's home life. Call me old-fashioned, but I'm a stickler for issues.



As for lifestyle, we all have one. Finally, finance. In this society, it means cashing in an IRA to afford movie-theater popcorn. I used to believe that savvy investing would secure a golden future, as opposed to sautéing cat food in my twilight years. But judging from the recent market gyrations, I'll bet Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke hides his money in a Tempur-Pedic. After all, it's Swedish. In my book, any nation that can produce IKEA is a winner.

But what of the BeE buzz?

Upbeat. Informative. BeE Woman, which launched in October 2005, is a general-interest mag geared to thoughtful adults, covering a variety of topics -- from Cuba post-Castro to Indian women's natural beauty to the importance of savings. It doesn't carry the depth of The New Yorker -- the pinnacle of magazine journalism -- but it does circle some weighty topics with a light touch.

A mother transforms grief for a murdered son into a call to action. In "Spygirls," author Amy Gray details her life as a PI who tracks corporate criminals -- Sam Spade she isn't. (Though Bogart, as Spade, uttered one of the more memorable lines in "The Maltese Falcon" to his Girl Friday: "You're a good man, sister.") "World at a Glance" gives a quick hit on global affairs, including the slaughter of 65,000 people in Sri Lanka and 4 million in the Congo. Admittedly, it's a brief synopsis, but it's not the usual fare in many women's mags, which often worship all things frivolous.

It does, however, explain why Lisa Ling, a former "View" co-host turned National Geographic Channel correspondent, is on the cover. Ling is the real deal. She snuck into North Korea, reported on bride burning in India and the orphan crisis in Uganda. Rosie v. Trump, she's not. Although her essay on war in "Imagining Ourselves" gave me pause. After talking to people worldwide, Ling concludes: "... most of them were left thinking, she's not so bad. Well, neither were they."

Hello! Lisa, you're good people, but you're not the issue; second, violence does not a model citizen make. If the nightly news is anything to go by, people are often worse than we imagine.

However, on the plus side, BeE profiles filmmaker Liz Mermin, whose "Beauty Academy of Kabul" is out on DVD, and the founders of Creative Vision, a family organization that funds activists. It was fueled, in part, by the death of son Dan Eldon, a 22-year-old Reuters photographer beaten to death in Somalia. Heavy stuff but moving, reflecting much of the mag's feature-well philosophy: find the positive note to a searing situation.

This just in: I discovered who the BeE Woman is. According to the Web site, the pub reaches "an audience of 1.2 million women, 25-54, earning an average of $55,000 per year." And to keep the quarterly informed, Samir Husni, author of the annual "Samir Husni's Guide to New Consumer Magazines," sits on its advisory board. He should be an asset. Meantime, be all you can BeE.


MAG STATS
Published by: Femme Publications, L.L.P.
Frequency: Quarterly
Web site

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