Have you heard the story yet? A runner, Monika Allen, gets an email from SELF Magazine about a month ago, asking if they can use her photograph, which shows Ms. Allen running the LA Marathon in a tutu. Specifically, a Wonder Woman tutu. Rock ON, Monika Allen!
Monika tells ABC News in San Diego, she was looking forward to seeing the issue. But instead of an empowering caption, like what you might expect from a magazine entitled SELF, praising the women for doing their own thing, they get what sounds like something a middle school bully would spew out:
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.
Seriously? I mean, WTF? Outside of the fact there isn’t a person on earth who thinks wearing a tutu will make anyone run faster, this comment is completely idiotic, in almost every way. I’m convinced they must have thirteen-year old mean girls on staff. (Oh, and to make matters worse for SELF, Monika was running in a Wonder Woman tutu because it was her first marathon after being diagnosed with brain cancer.)
But back to the caption. Why? It is so mean-spirited and full of snark. And I used to think SELF was one of the better women’s magazines out there. Promoting health and positivity, being yourself. Not full of a million quizzes on how to keep your man happy, which every woman knows never involves taking a quiz.
As a runner, I know wearing a tutu in a race, in public, is empowering. It’s fun. It lightens things up. It takes the this-racing-and-running-business-is-so-so-serious right out of the picture.
Any runner out there who’s been in more than a couple of 5k’s can tell you, people will run in almost anything. And I do mean anything. Santa outfits and leprechaun outfits, bee costumes, big rainbow wigs. You name it. I love the outfits! Anything that can make me smile during a race is winning by me. (A favorite is the ubiquitous sign that says, “Worst Parade Ever.”)
Here is where SELF missed a perfect opportunity: they could have celebrated these two women being healthy while expressing themselves.
Had the tutu hater(s)at SELF actually run a race in the past, I don’t know, decade, they would have known about matching team shirts, and yes, matching team tutus. Teams usually run to raise money for charities. And charities make for unpopular snark targets.
The editor of SELF has apologized to Ms. Allen, but in my opinion, too little too late. The damage has been done. To paraphrase SELF itself: What’s legit and what’s lame this month? SELF Magazine is lame. And that’s no +BS.
Show Monika Allen your support, and simultaneously tell SELF to stuff it: Wear a tutu in your next race! And get it via Monika's Facebook page, Glam Runner. All the proceeds go to a charity--Girls on the Run. How perfect is that.
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