THE BROWN LOG: Woman’s Own

Weekly, 72p

DESIGN: The cover features no less than 5 smiles, these being i) an Emmerdale star, ii) Emmerdale star’s screen lover (this smile somewhat roguish), iii) a toddler eating a biscuit, iv) a woman who has lost some weight, v) a woman with her hand on a male stripper’s arse. There is one frown on the cover, that of the weight-loss woman before she lost the weight. Paper stock is glossy but flimsy, content is very colourful with lots of photos.

WHO’S IT FOR?: Presumably it’s for women, though I liked it a bit more than Isabel, who thought it was boring, and plainly and badly written. The magazine seems to have shifted its target age downwards since its dentist’s waiting-room heyday, hence the male stripper and a general emphasis on small children’s antics and true-life stories of family trauma. At a guess the intention is to give stay-at-home mothers/housewives something to read and talk about: I’d be interested to know whether its circulation has held up over the last 20 years or so.

WHO ISN’T IT FOR?: Men; people wanting celebrity gossip; people who don’t care about losing weight; women with no interest in having kids.

STYLE: Plain language in short paragraphs, but never particularly sensationalist ‘ it’s going for the nod of sympathy, not the gasp of shock. Lots of pictures, some very basic fashion and diet tips, a generally positive outlook on life. One infuriating habit it has is of telling the entire story in a headline, eg. ‘I sleepwalked straight into my ex’s bed’. This particular story is trailed on the cover with the words ‘Oh really!’ which is as close as Woman’s Own gets to a joke.

BEST BIT: Easily the best article was on faddish child eaters, who are so attuned to foods at age 2 or 3 that they can tell the difference between different supermarket own brand mince.

WORST BIT: An excruciating short story about a father finding contraceptive pills in his daughter’s bedroom with a rotten twist ending that they only remember to set up in the first half of the final sentence.

VALUE FOR MONEY: Will give you change for a pound but celebrity magazines are racier and cheaper. Not a keeper.