By now you have probably seen the story that went viral yesterday about Self Magazine shaming female runners for wearing tutus while running races.
One of the women pictured in the piece, Monika Allen, ran last year's LA Marathon wearing a tutu and a Wonder Woman outfit. Self found her photo and asked her if it could use the photo for a piece on running in tutus, to which Monika happily agreed.
What shocked Monika and has appalled many in the running community is that Self then used the photo in a segment it calls its "BS Meter”, which ranks what it constitutes as “legit” and “lame” each month. The photos of women in tutus, including Monika’s, fell into the “lame” category.
On its own, shaming women for their choice of dress to run a marathon can come off as offensive, but, after the fact, Self learned that wearing the tutu had a much deeper meaning for Monika.
Monika not only creates and sells tutus for runners through her company, Glam Runners, which donates proceeds from its sales to Girls on the Run; but also is a survivor of brain cancer, and was running the LA Marathon last year in the midst of her chemotherapy treatment. Wearing a tutu gave her motivation and a sense of empowerment as she persevered through the 26.2 miles, something that should never be shamed.
We here at the ODDyssey were upset by the piece too. We encourage runners to run in costume and every year 35% of our runners do. Whether it is your cup of tea or not, the atmosphere it creates is one of fun and celebration, because that is what running, and life, is supposed to be about.
We all run for our own reasons. We run for health. We run for fitness. We run because it makes us feel good. If running in a tutu makes running more fun for you, we say, “Great!”
So, in the spirit of creating positivity out of this otherwise unfortunate event, we want to do something about it! We came up with a few ideas to help support Monika and all runners to encourage rocking your own running style.
1. Tutu Raffle
We are raffling off a tutu, donated by Chestnut Hill fitness wear shop, Indigo Schuy, at our booth at the Love Run Expo this weekend, March 28-29, 2014. So, 100% of all proceeds will be donated to Girls on the Run - the charity Monika supports. We will be selling raffle tickets for $1 at our booth, so come check it out. Through this, we hope to show solidarity with Monika, raise money for charity and send someone home with a rocking tutu!
2. #notetoSelf Campaign
We want to show Self (and ourselves) what it really means to be a runner and spread solidarity and support for the cause. Therefore, we are asking you to post pictures of yourself in a tutu or costume with the hashtag #notetoSelf and follow it up with a positive statement about why you love to run. Be sure to tag us! We will even raffle off a free entry to the ODDyssey Half Marathon to one of you so you can rock your style here in Philly.
3. A Challenge
By now the folks at Self Magazine have admitted that they made a mistake. As a way to show their support, we challenge them to run a race in costume or tutu themselves. We hope that they can participate in a race and will be inspired by the other runners around them, tutu or not.