I ran into this tutu-adorned guy at a 10k expo today and liked him immediately. He oozes awesome. But if you asked SELF magazine, they would say he was lame.
The Huffington Post reported that the April issue of SELF ran a picture of Monika Allen in the “Lame” column of their “BS METER” with the following caption, “A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster… Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it.” They had contacted Monika for permission, but neglected to mention their less-than-honorable purpose for running the picture. Monika assumed it was possibly to highlight her tutu-selling company, Glam Runner, that also helps raise money for a non-profit that focuses on empowering young girls. Or maybe it was because the picture was taken during her first marathon since receiving a BRAIN CANCER diagnosis. Yup. Not only is Monika tough enough to run a Marathon, but she was doing it while undergoing treatment for CANCER.
Glam Runner and Monika have responded with grace and class, saying on Facebook, “Thank you everyone for the overwhelming support! While we were hurt by SELF Magazine‘s use of our photo in their magazine, instead of bashing them for their mistake we’d like to embody the Girls on the Run San Diego spirit and show our solidarity with our positive response. Do something awesome and dedicate it to Glam Runner – post an encouraging quote on Facebook, go for a run in your neighborhood, shout encouragement to runners on the street, or wear a tutu in your next race. Help us share why #tutusrock!”
SELF magazine, of course, has expressed great remorse. “I am personally mortified,” Lucy Danziger, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, told USA Today. “I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error. It was a stupid mistake. We shouldn’t have run the item.”
But here’s the thing, cancer should have nothing to do with it! The subtle implication of the statement is that they are sorry that they mocked a cancer patient, not that they mocked a runner. If this hadn’t happened I fear that the same kind of negative commentary would have continued indefinitely within the pages of SELF. They singled out a strong, empowered woman, who was awesome enough to be running a MARATHON, for the purpose of mocking her attire. Someone who undertakes such a strenuous physical endeavor deserves nothing short of praise. And guess what? The very fact that she was running a freaking marathon gives her the right to wear whatever the heck she wants, in my opinion! If SELF magazine is all about empowerment and fitness and being our best selves then they need to focus on that and avoid this mean girl bullying mess. Women need to support each other, not tear each other down.
The outcry against SELF magazine has been deafening. It is encouraging to see so many people stand up against that sort of behavior. I discussed it today with my new tutu-rocking friend at the running expo. His name is Jeff, he owns Lucky Foot LLC, and he said he wore a tutu to stand up for Monika and Glam Runner. He totally, unashamedly rocked the heck outta that tutu, and got it from his friends at TuTu Many Races. He also said that “These kinds of things have a way of coming back around and helping raise awareness.” I didn’t have a chance to ask awareness for what. Awareness for Glam Runner and Girls on the Run San Diego? Tutu Awareness? Awareness of the benefits of physical fitness? Awareness of the need for basic human decency? Or maybe, as in this guy’s case, awareness of just flat-out being awesome. Awesomeness Awareness. So put on your tutu and run with us and be awesome. #tutusrock
UPDATE: SELF has not only issued an apology but also ran a great piece about Monika and Glam Runner. Well done. Now let’s all go back to being awesome.