Dear SELF Magazine:

This morning I woke up to a slew of comments on social media about your epic fail in your April issue, where you called tutus “lame” on your BS Meter. What’s even worse, you showed just how “lame” you think it is by using a reader’s photo without telling her that it would be used in this way. A reader who actually has a business making running tutus that supports a very important charity. A runner who wore said tutu while running the L.A. Marathon because she was in the middle of chemotherapy and it gave her extra motivation.

And then your editor issued what truly was a “lame” apology, saying you apologize for your “inadvertent insensitivity” and that “at SELF we support women such as Monika; she is an inspiration and embodies the qualities we admire. We have donated to her charity and have offered to cover her good work in a future issue.”

You are missing the point. 

Yes, it was wrong what you did to Monika. 

But it’s even more wrong that you don’t see that your misstep isn’t calling out a cancer survivor for wearing a tutu, it’s calling out anyone for exercising. The thing that 80 percent of Americans don’t do enough of. The thing that can be so intimidating, a feeling that you continue to fuel.

You claim that your motto is “being fit, strong and active means feeling great, being happy and looking your most beautiful.”

You note that SELF “makes it fun and fulfilling to be your happiest, healthiest, best self.”

I’m sorry, but is it fun to be told you are lame for what you wear while you are exercising? Does that make your readers happy?

No, not really. And secondly, as a women’s health magazine, it’s disgusting that you find it necessary to put people down for exercising instead of lifting them up. Whether someone wears a tutu, some old gym shorts from high school or even a cat on their head, the proper term is “kudos,” not “lame.”

Of course, you would know this if you had any clue into your reader. Have you ever been to a marathon? Pretty sure every person dressed in costume, from tutus to full-body banana suits, gets high-fives and shout-outs from other marathoners throughout the race. 

And, have you ever run in a tutu? It’s not easy. It in fact makes running HARDER. 

Do you know what it’s like to be overweight, to go to a gym and see all the beautiful, fit people? Do you know how many times I talk to someone who runs, but says “Oh, but I’m not a ‘real’ runner…” because they don’t think they qualify, perhaps because they wear tutus? Do you know that not everyone jumps out of bed in the morning, excited to get their sweat on, not because of lack of fitness, but because of self-confidence issues?

That being said, shame on you. In a world where there’s so much hate, it’s disappointing to see an organization like you act in this way… an organization that should be focused on empowering women to be their best. 


A Proud Tutu Runner


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