Monika Allen was excited to see her tutus in SELF Magazine — she was less stoked to see they had been categorized as “lame.” Allen’s company, Glam Runner, is an organization that raises money for a nonprofit called Girls on the Run by selling “marathon tutus” — which are exactly what they sound like. She also happens to be a brain cancer survivor.
SELF’s “BS Meter,” their version of an approval matrix that declares “what’s legit and what’s lame this month,” featured the Glam Runner founders dressed as tutu-clad superheroes in the April issue. It was accompanied by the caption: “A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC’s Central Park , and it’s all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster.”
Glam Runner posted the page on Facebook with the response:
Allen said that the publication reached out months earlier to request permission to run the photo, without specifying the feature it was for. She told NBC San Diego that she felt “misled in providing the picture,” stating that she would have declined if she knew how it would be used.
Editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger posted a public apology to Allen and Glam Runner on SELF’s Facebook page (“On behalf of SELF, we sincerely apologize for our inadvertent insensitivity. I have personally reached out to Monika and her supporters online to apologize for the misstep and tell them we are trying to remedy the situation.”) but the social backlash is just starting to get real:
SELF Magazine - really? Nobody thinks the tutu makes them run faster. But the tutus (and running dresses and skirts and tiaras and bling) bring something fun to every race. Shame on you for mocking someone who is out there running with a smile on her face, inspiring others and running for those who can't.
So you email this woman and ask if you can use her picture. Of course it never occurs to her that you will use it in a humiliating way. Aren't you suppose to empower women? Isn't that part of your "message" Very disappointing SELF.
I will NEVER by SELF Magazine ever again!!!! That woman running was in the middle of battling BRAIN CANCER and she is running a marathon for charity!! What good have you done SELF? Other than promote materialism and gender stereotypes. SELF Magazine: Too busy judging cancer survivors to put any real, meaningful content in their magazine. SHAME ON YOU!
The entries are countless.
Danziger told USA Today that she is “personally mortified” and said the item was “an error” that “shouldn’t have run.” She also noted that she planned to personally donate to the charity and reach out to Allen, both of which were confirmed in SELF’s Facebook apology — “We have donated to her charity and have offered to cover her good work in a future issue.” — because what’s a good deed without a public statement, right?
Allen seems to be doing quite OK following the debacle and told NBC San Diego that the company saw a hike of more than 27,000 Facebook “likes” since the story went viral, with demand for tutus far exceeding their supply. Glam Runner has removed their online order form temporarily (Allen and co-founder Tara Baize make the tutus in their spare time, but both hold full-time jobs) and for now, they encourage their supporters to “do something awesome” and use hashtag #tutusrock.
h/t Yahoo! ShineRachel Raczka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and tweeted @rachelraczka.