SELF Magazine's Big Mistake

I have quite a few friends who love to participate in 5Ks and marathons. Personally, I haven’t been a part of one yet, although they do look like a ton of fun (my favorite bar in town is having one soon — maybe it’s time to try something new). The biggest thing that I notice about these races is the incredible support that all of the participants show for one another. Friends and family come out and cheer them on, and it’s an all-around good time for everyone involved. They’re also an amazing way to spread awareness or to raise money for a specific charity or cause.

My favorite thing about these events, though? A lot of people like to play dress-up, and I think that’s awesome. For example, my mother did the Princess Marathon at Disney World a couple years ago and she wore pink, purple, and even a little crown (and it was the cutest thing ever). Honestly, people can wear whatever they want to add in some more fun. Check this couple’s costumes out:

Image source: https://bestracecostumes.wordpress.com/category/couple-costumes/

Could they be any cuter?

The idea of dressing up in costumes sheds a whole new light on the races — and a great one at that. It brings a whole new sense of light-heartedness to the event.

Take Monika Allen, for example. She is a beautiful, badass brain cancer survivor who not only completed the L.A. Marathon while going through chemotherapy but has also taken it upon herself to make tutus specifically for raising money for a child development center in San Diego, called Girls on the Run. She co-founded the organization Glam Runner in order to do this and has hand-made over 2,000 tutus and raised over $5,000 in the past three years. It’s a pretty great idea, right?

Allen was contacted by SELF Magazine and asked if they could feature this photo in the upcoming issue (Allen is on the right):

Image source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/magazine-editor-apologizes-making-fun-cancer-survivor-tutu-article-1.1736812

She eagerly agreed to the opportunity, ecstatic for the chance for her business to receive some well-deserved publicity. Unfortunately, her picture was not featured in the magazine for what she originally thought it would be.

Instead of featuring her photo for a good cause, SELF Magazine decided to include the picture in their monthly “BS Meter” portion of the magazine. This is a scan taken from that particular issue:

Image source: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/magazine-editor-apologizes-making-fun-cancer-survivor-tutu-article-1.1736812

I find it extremely disheartening to see a magazine made for empowering women through fitness and health criticizing a fellow strong female for what she wore during a race (and the reasoning behind it) —  especially without doing their research first. The Editor-in-Chief for SELF Magazine, Lucy Danziger, came forward with a statement about the entire situation, saying she was “personally mortified” by the enormous mistake that they made by letting the picture go through the editing process. It isn’t about people being “easily offended”, it’s about doing the proper research behind a specific photo before adding a story behind it that may or may not be true — especially when it’s about something as serious as cancer. We should be promoting the people who have gone through so much and take the strides necessary to make a difference in our community, not make fun of them for it.

While it is professional and gracious for SELF to come out with a earnest apology, we can only hope that in the next issue of SELF the writers and editors will be more conscious of what they are posting and saying about specific pictures.

You rock, Monika. Keep doing what you’re doing! If I ever do a 5K, I will totally wear a tutu.