Self Editor Embarrasses Herself For Making Fun Of Tutus/Cancer Survivors


Self calls itself a fitness magazine, but it decided to take some time out of talking about how to get Naomi Campbell’s body to make fun of some people’s clothing. Now it has blown up in their faces and Self’s editors are apologizing profusely, but we think they’re apologizing for the wrong reasons and are nowhere near ready to forgive them.

It all started when Self ran a picture on its “BS Meter,” described as “a Self-y guide to what’s legit and what’s lame this month,” of two cute women running the LA Marathon dressed in superhero tutus. We thought it looked like fun, but Self declared it “lame,” writing:

“A raging 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 away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”

It’s mean and ridiculous, and it’s completely obvious to anybody looking at the picture that the women are not wearing tutus because they think they will run faster in them. They’re wearing tutus because they’re fun, and that’s awesome. The fact that they are superhero-theme tutus just reminds us of these epic pictures of little girls dressed as super heroes—the little girls always add tutus, even to The Hulk—and that makes it even better.

The women in the picture were offended at the use of their picture to illustrate a “lame” trend, but it probably would have stopped there if it were not for the fact that one of the women, Monika Allen, was running the LA Marathon while going through chemotherapy for brain cancer. She’s also a founder of Glam Runner, which sells the “lame” tutus to raise money for San Diego’s Girls on the Run.

When it turned out Self had been simultaneously mocking a cancer patient and a charity in one glib caption, the magazine started backpedaling real fast.

According to the New York Daily News, Self issued an apology to Allen “for the association of her picture in any way other than to support her efforts to be healthy.”

“Of course if tutus make you run with a smile on your face or with a sense of purpose or community, then they are indeed worth wearing, for any race,” the statement said, in an abrupt about-face from the original sentiment.

Editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger also said she was really sorry:

“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.”

But we’re cynical of both Self’s apology and Danziger’s, because we are pretty sure they’re only apologizing because it turned out Allen was a cancer survivor, not because mocking her tutu in print was a douchey thing to do in the first place. Danziger even says, “I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer,” as though that alone is reason not to run a dumb photo snarking about her tutu.

Allen’s diagnosis and impressive charitable efforts cast the mockery in a particularly unfavorable light, but Self shouldn’t have made fun of a woman running in a charity race anyway. It’s a race to fight cancer, not a red carpet. The tutus are not an elaborately constructed piece of the pop culture machine like Jennifer Lawrence’s latest Dior appearance, they’re just a way for runners to make running more fun while being a little silly and doing something good for charity, and that’s fantastic.

Allen shouldn’t need to have cancer for it not to be OK for her to run in a damn tutu. She’s running a damn marathon. If wearing a tutu or a Storm Trooper outfit makes it more fun, then go for it.

Besides which, we think the tutus are awesome, and we are noted fashion experts.

(Photo: Glam Runner)

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    • Elizabeth Aspen

      Oh please. What do you have to make something out of absolutely nothing for? It’s obviously they were fun of a fruity outfit, NOT cancer survivors. Good lord, some people.

      • JLH1986

        I had to read this several times to figure out what you were saying, which my guess is “It’s obvious they were making fun of a fruity outfit, NOT cancer survivors”. I think the point was that it was clear that they were running (the race tag says “Die Tumor Die” which means they were making fun of people who were running a charity race, where people frequently dress silly. It’s not like they snapped this photo while on the way to work. The women in the photo simply said they were offended by being called “lame” (which I think is fair) and Self bent themselves crossways to apologize. The ONLY reason they are apologizing was because one of the runners was a cancer survivor, which is a shitty reason to apologize. Either stand by and say “Sorry the outfit was lame” or apologize because it was clearly a gesture in having fun and Self didn’t get it.

    • CrosslyStitched

      I think people spend way too much time making comments in public forums about what they think is dumb or uncool. It’s a waste of energy. I see a grown woman in a Super Woman T-shirt and tutu running and all I think is, “Damn, I miss running around in my Super Woman Underroos and tap shoes.”

      • Samantha Escobar

        Agreed. It also makes me want a freaking tutu!

    • Kay_Sue

      Yeah, I agree. It was stupid to mock the outfit, period, when people were just out there having fun–I mean, these are private citizens, not style icons, who definitely weren’t claiming the tutus made them run faster, and the outfits were goofy and adorable. The fact that they were mocking someone undergoing chemotherapy and tutus for charity didn’t create the idiocy of it. That only amplified it to a new level of douchebaggery and highlighted their ineptitude as “journalists”.

    • CMJ

      Yeah – not very “Self-like,” huh?

    • Lindsey Conklin

      Seriously–anyone running a marathon/race should not be criticized in the first place. It’s usually for a cause, or even just for self pride. Who cares what anyone is wearing? Instead they should be commended for running 3, 6, 13, 26 miles! A better apology is owed in my opinion and like other headlines i’ve seen: “When did it become okay to make fun of each other?”

    • NYCNanny

      Tutus are ridiculous. Running in tutus is ridiculous.
      The Self editor wasn’t making fun of cancer survivors, give me a break.

    • I Like Pizza

      One of the women’s shirts clearly says, “DIE TUMOR DIE!!!” Real bonehead move, Self.

    • Joyf

      Thanks so much for this! So much of the slant has been “how could you make fun of a CANCER PATIENT” when in fact, any f*cking woman should be able to wear whatever the hell she wants when she’s running a goddamned marathon. OR WHENEVER. So they’re superpowers in tutus? Awesome, way to have fun, let your freak flag fly, and all those other great things. The fact that they asked for the photos and repaid her favor with mockery, that it’s a charity, and that she has cancer only add to the dickwaddery.