When I saw this story posted on Facebook, I was upset.
If you haven’t heard, SELF Magazine emailed Monika Allen asking for permission to use this photo.
The problem is, they used it in their segment called “BS Meter” which basically calls out certain trends. And, it seems that they don’t know how to do it with grace, or even with a tongue in cheek demeanor.
SELF Magazine stated, “NEW RUNNING TULLE 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 away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.”
So in essence, Monika believed she was being spotlighted for running 26.2 miles in a fun get-up. However, the “professional journalists” at SELF Magazine opted to take the low road.
The kicker? Monika Allen was running in a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer. And she makes and sells tutus and then donates the money to promote girls being active in running sports.
Yes, I’m pissed at bad journalism.
Yes, I’m pissed at bullies who hide behind a national masthead.
But more importantly, I’m pissed that the photo could have been me, or you.
You see, I’ve come a long way in a year.
And I guarantee you, if SELF Magazine had emailed me to ask for my permission to run a photo of me in their national magazine, I’d have said, “HELL, YES!” It would have been a source of pride for me to know that my work was noticed, and that I might, just maybe be able to help others. Just a touch of encouragement! Yeah for the little guy! Yeah for me!
Because trust me, if SELF Magazine had been at that 5K back in May, they’d have made fun of the fat girl running. AND, that I got passed by a pregnant woman. Little would they have known that I was running for my mom, or mother-in-law. They’d have just seen the fat girl, coming in dead last and found some sort of punch line.
EXCEPT, you and I know, they wouldn’t have done that. There’s no way SELF would have made fun of me, because I am the image they sell. I’ve torn those inspirational stories out of their magazine and posted them on my wall.
Woman loses 105 pounds.
Mom of Three leads the weigh!
Whatever catchy phrase they put with it, they sell to my demographic. The woman who’s desperate to try anything, ONE LAST TIME to make the change of a lifetime. There’s no way they offend my target audience. Because, who would they then tweet about avocado toast and Wendy’s new line-up?
So when they took advantage of a seemingly normal woman, running in an outfit they didn’t approve of, they didn’t understand the whole story.
When the backlash started, SELF’s initial apology was trite to be sure.
“In a statement to NBC 7, SELF apologized “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 read.”
Now, with a bit of outrage and a few cancelled subscriptions, here’s the Twitter message:
It’s not okay. Why would you try to break down someone because they wear matching shorts, shirts, socks and shoes? If they’re doing their best, SO THE FREAK WHAT? Since when did we have to tear each other down to make a sale? Since when isn’t it enough to actually believe none of us get out of life alive.
I’m not a tutu girl, but come on, taking cheap shots at the little guy to make someone snarl in agreement for 15 seconds is childish. Even if you didn’t know she had cancer, she’s still running a marathon, which makes her a mean mama-jama in my books. But to know that she’s running a marathon while undergoing chemotherapy? She is literally a ROCK STAR.
So here’s my take away, I’m even more dedicated to standing with those who fight the good fight. Who do hard things, not because someone will notice, but because it makes them feel alive! Because it’s finally something they can control when everything is seemingly out of whack! When I run, it’s just me and my brain telling my legs when it’s time to go and when it’s time to stop. I’m in charge of it all.
And it’s a truly beautiful feeling.