Just some quick coffee-break thoughts on #Tutugate. I've never worn a costume, tutu or a sparkleskirt in a race - but in every half marathon I've done, I've seen a woman (or even a man!) sporting a tutu -- many of them wayyyyyyy ahead of me pacewise! Sometimes they are running with other costumed folks; sometimes alone. Sometimes they are running for a charity or cause which means something to them, but sometimes they aren't. The common denominator is generally this: they almost always look like they are having so much damn fun out on the course. And that attitude, my friends, is what brings a smile to my face and the faces of other racers/spectators. If it isn't FUN for all of us age-groupers out on the course, why are we there?!?! If you missed the commotion on FB/Twitter this week, here's what happened. And here's how it looked in SELF Magazine.
A HUGE mea culpa from me personally and the editors at SELF. We NEVER meant to offend anyone. At SELF (co-founder of the Pink Ribbon over three decades ago) we support all variety of cancer fundraising and we root for women like Monika and cheer her getting back to health and strength through running and fitness. We were only reacting to a claim that tutus make you faster, and whether they do or not is beside the point if they make you happy and motivated. We applaud Glam Runner founder Monika--and are wishing you a speedy, full recovery to health. All our apologies on this end.
And USA Today has also posted an article in which Danziger states as follows:
"I am personally mortified," Self Editor in Chief Lucy Danziger told USA TODAY. "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."
Danziger says she is in the process of trying to reach Allen and will personally support her charity.
SELF has also tweeted this brief message:
We sincerely apologize for our inadvertent insensitivity to Monika and Glam Runner supporters. We applaud amazing women like her.
OK, I have a couple of problems with this:
It's apparent that SELF reached out to Monika before they went to press, either to obtain a photo of her or obtain express permission for use of her image, which Monika gave. However, what's also apparent is that Monika gave this permission without knowing that SELF would be straight up MOCKING her. While legal, the "authorization" they obtained from her without disclosing what they were using it for just feels really deceptive (gross, even) coming from a magazine which claims to be a supporter -- wait-- EMPOWERER of women.
And, SELF is dodging what they put into print on the pages of their magazine without really addressing what was said. The apologies above have focused almost exclusively on the facts that: (1) they were "responding to claims they've heard that tutus make you run faster" and (2) "they didn't know [Monika] is a cancer survivor and raising money for GOTR."
I've never - not once - heard it claimed on the internet, social media or in person that a tutu in and of itself has some kind of aerodynamic power. It's laughable that SELF would say they were "responding" to that. If clueing readers in on this "truth" was the whole point of their original article, I don't think that they have much respect for their readership.
As for point 2....perhaps talking a little bit to the person to whom you reached out to gain photo authorization might be in order. When SELF contacted Monika, no one apparently though to ask "Why are you wearing a tutu?" "Why do you dress up in costume for races?" or even the question at the so-called point of their post..."Do you think it makes you faster?" Five minutes of talking to this running hero would have led them to a deeper understanding of what she was going through as a cancer survivor and the awesome causes she was supporting. And the resulting post would have been CELEBRATED by the running community!
But for the sake of argument, let's put that aside for a moment. What if Monika wasn't a cancer survivor? What if she didn't support the awesome Girls on the Run through her tutu sales proceeds? Don't these feel like the only reasons Lucy/SELF is "apologizing" now? Had it not been the awesome and inspiring Monika rocking her superhero costume and tutu...but instead, was just you or me out there, chugging along and running without a charitable cause, what would SELF have said in their "apology," assuming they even offered one?
To bring this point home, I've YET to hear any explanation for the most offensive part of the original blurb:
"Now, if you told us [tutus] made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it."
That's pure, unadulterated meangirling right there, and you just can't take that back by now saying that you "started the pink ribbon campaign years ago", and (now that you know her story), that you support Monika's health and charitable causes. How about the millions of tutu wearers -- and others who are finding their own non-traditional motivators to get out, be active and have fun -- to whom you have just expressly delivered the message "YOU ARE LAME. PEOPLE ARE RUNNING AWAY FROM YOU."
Here's what I have to say to those people, since SELF Magazine won't...or can't. Let's not worry about what anyone else is doing out on the course! Let's each run the mile that WE are individually in at that very moment....not anyone else's. Find your happy pace... which may be minutes faster or slower than what the woman starting off with you ends up running. And, rock your crazy costume, or favorite race kit, or plain tank and shorts or yes, your TUTU! Be YOU. Because there's room for everyone in this awesome sport we call running!!
From Glam Runner's Facebook page: