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)