Tutugate 2014

Right now, there’s a bit of social media hullabaloo regarding SELF magazine and tutus. Specifically the tutu of Monika Allen, the woman behind Glam Runner. Ms. Allen is a cancer survivor and the proceeds made by her tutu company go towards Girls on the Run charity.

So, when SELF requested a photo of her in full on tutu fabulous superhero gear, she happily provided it.

Then the issue came out.

From Miles, Muscles & Mommyhood

The text reads: A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park, and it’s all because people think these foufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it. 

Well then.

Dick Move #1
SELF should have been upfront about their intention in using the photo. Obviously they were well aware that if they called up Ms. Allen and said “Sooooo we want this one photo of you in that ridiculous superhero get-up ’cause we want to put it in our magazine and make fun of it” that she would say no. It was a lie by omission and unprofessional. Requesting personal photos for this reason is not cool.

Dick Move #2
It was poor and irresponsible journalism to post a photo of a person in the magazine without doing just a bit of research on the person. I mean, seriously. How hard is to spend five minutes on Google. More to the point, this is a magazine that promotes healthy living and while I get SELF thinks the tutu thing is ridiculous, why do they still feel it necessary to attach an actual person to that trend when that person is doing something healthy. Like, y’know, running. In a marathon. It would be like someone taking a picture of me and my bat wings and posting it making fun of my excess skin and calling it ugly without realizing that I have excess skin because I’ve worked my ass off to lose a significant amount of weight.

Dick Move #3
If a national magazine wants to mock a trend they find stupid, fine. But you don’t require using someone’s personal photos to do that. You could just have a photo of a brightly colored tutu on a plain white background. That would be enough to get the point across. Or, gosh, I don’t know, use your own damn photos. I’m betting SELF has some photographers on staff. Put them to use for fuck’s sake. Dress up an employee in a tutu and take photos of them or something. Again: requesting personal photos for this reason is not cool. 

Do I think SELF was looking to personally attack Ms. Allen? No. They were clearly mocking the trend but in mocking the trend they are also mocking the people who choose to adopt the trend. Which brings me to my final point.

It doesn’t matter that she had cancer.

In an statement published by USA Today, SELF, editor in chief Lucy Danzier said “I am personally mortified. 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.”

Here’s the problem with that statement: it seems to suggest that it would have been okay to run the item if Monika had not been a cancer survivor. And that’s simply not true. The fact that she had cancer is beside the point. The point is that a national health magazine requested personal photos of a person off the street doing a healthy activity without disclosing why they wanted the photos and published them. And the only reason they wanted the photos? They didn’t like what she was wearing. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

5 thoughts on “Tutugate 2014”

  1. Dear SELF magazine,
    Why do you care what I wear when I run?
    Also, to save you some hand-wringing, self-righteous judgery, please stay away from Ragnar SoCal next week, and bay to breakers in may. I'm sure you won't approve of my attire.


  2. I'm not a slow runner, and I see tons of people in tutu's and other crazy get-ups TEARING IT UP on the course — and many of them in front of me! I don't care what people run in (please run in something), as long as they are courteous on the course and are having a great time.


  3. As in so many aspects of today's world, everyone is so quick to criticize another. Do we really need ridicule to make ourselves feel better?!? I could care less WHAT people run in, as long as they're having fun (and get out of my way… just kidding… sort of.)


  4. I say that we should celebrate and cheer woman on as they make smart healthy decisions to do something for themselves, something great for their health. I don't understand why women would ever tease each other about what they run in and I sure as HE$& don't understand why a magazine that is supposed to empower women and fitness would ever mock or tease a female runner.
    Embrace, love, cheer… that is what we should all do for each other!


  5. I think SELF magazine has put the nail in their coffin with this one. I mean what will they feature next? Fat slow runners like me? Parents running with baby strollers? Older inexperienced runners at the back of the pack (again like me)? Personally, I have not read their magazine in some years but I have no desire to start again.

    AND all your points are correct about this.


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