My open letter to Self magazine


We’ve all heard it before: “Don’t ever assume something. You know what happens”. Well, I did assume something. And the old adage rang true.

I assumed that a “magazine for women that specializes in health, fitness, nutrition, beauty and happiness” would be a magazine with a positive message and positive intent.

I assumed that Self would respect the fact that athletes are a diverse group with diverse interests and talents.

I assumed that if Self asked the founders of Glam Runners to send a picture of themselves wearing their running tutus that the picture would be promoted in a positive way. Not that Self would use their picture in a snarky, blistering “trend” piece telling their readers how “lame” it is to wear a tutu.

I assumed that Self would realize how absolutely inspiring it was to see a picture of two strong, beautiful runners out there running a race in their superhero costumes. Especially since one of those runners was in the midst of chemotherapy treatments battling brain cancer during the race when that picture was taken.

I assumed that there was still integrity in the publishing world.

Yep, I assumed. I made an ass out of myself. But on the bright side, that’s nothing compared to what an ass you’ve made of yourself. You publicly ridiculed a woman battling brain cancer while she was out racing through her pain. You mocked two women who are board members of Girls on the Run and who use proceeds from their tutu business to raise funds for the council.

You alienated a large sector of new runners who get started on this fantastic journey by signing up for a race with their girlfriends and buying matching tutus and lacing up their sneakers for the first time. My inspiration to start running was the Disney Princess Half Marathon. It was the one and only time I wore a tutu. But it got me out the door and started on this path to health and happiness. I’m grateful for that.

I find it sad that instead of focusing on empowering women on their journey to better fitness, you waste pages of your magazine with this drivel. And intentionally cause hurt to two women who embody everything you do not: grace, strength, and inspiration.

I appreciate that you want to instruct us on what is “lame” and what is “legit” in your monthly column. But you’ve got it backwards: the women’s running community is legit, tutus and all. Self magazine, on the other hand? Lame. Terribly lame.

Might be time to find another tutu for my next race. Because runners are a family and I’ll be damned if I stand by quietly while you insult mine.

You’re better than this. I really hope you realize that eventually.

A tutu-wearing marathoner with a chip on her shoulder


Glam Runner Facebook page


30 responses »

  1. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I never gave any weight to anything in Self magazine, and I sure as hell never paid them money for their insight.

  2. Pingback: Counterbalancing The Runner Snark - zoot

  3. I am livid. I have run a handful of half marathons and I would never tease or harass a running for their clothing. Whatever motivates you to keep moving is awesome. I’m shocked a magazine that is branded as a health magazine would taunt people trying to be healthy… even more if you consider the battle against cancer. UGH. Thanks for speaking up and calling Self out.

  4. Thank you! We should all be encouraging anyone who’s working on their fitness goals, however they choose to do it. How sad that a magazine aimed at women think’s tearing other women down for the crime of making running fun is a good publishing tactic.

  5. I cannot even run, but I have chosen to support those who do. I set up a water stop in Boston every Saturday for our team (ALF) and any other runners who are training for the Marathon. I have been to races for the past five years supporting my husband who is a liver recipient and runs to stay healthy and have seen all kinds of costumes and LOVE them all.. they are a statement of the runner and we are ALL entitled to express ourselves in any way that we believe is appropriate. A TUTU is most certainly appropriate. SELF magazine has put SELF ahead of the independent person/runner and their ability to be themselves. Shame on you SELF !! You can keep your opinion and your magazine to YOURSELF !

    • I could not agree more with you. As much as I love to push myself, get a new personal best, etc,etc… there is a great and fabulous thing about the new wave of fun runs – people are out and RUNNING. They are active, they are learning about and getting involved in the community of runners that is a mystery and scary until you become part of it. If I didn’t become involved in running, I would not have met my best friend who pushed me to run a marathon relay and has encouraged me to sign up for a Triathlon. I didn’t used to be a costume runner, but loved seeing people in them. Them I injured myself. I had to pull out of a half marathon during the end of my training, was in recovery and was encouraged to do an easy and fun Halloween run. I put together a wonder woman costume and did it – and it was so fun and so encouraging that I thought “why on earth have I not been running in costumes?” Obviously who ever sits behind a desk and pokes fun at these pictures over at self magazine has never experienced the joy of running in a costume or a tutu… or perhaps has never run at all.

  6. Great comments and thoughts. I cannot believe the magazine printed such judgmental and petty comments. I also cannot believe they didn’t give any background (to the girls in the photo) on how the picture was going to be used. A cheap shot and lame article.

  7. Well said! When is the media going to realize that the running community is huge, it is strong & it takes care of its own. I run about every race in a tutu or theme outfit – it doesn’t make me faster but it makes me HAPPY! Can’t wait to rock my tutu in my 10 Mile race this Sunday. Sincerely, a fellow rD runner 🙂

  8. Wow.. self magazine should feel horrible. Who does this?! More importantly who cares what anyone is wearing?! I think your a strong and beautiful woman. My hats off to you for this article and I hope they see it.

  9. Pingback: My Two Cents on the Self Magazine Tutu Debacle | Diva on a Diet

  10. To make it up to y’all, next month’s cover of SELF needs to be wearing a tutu. Just saying. (by the way, Tu+Tu=4ward momentum)

  11. I’ll no longer be purchasing SELF. I cannot support a magazine that misleads and mocks the appearance of people, cancer or not. Now where do I order my tutu?! 😀

  12. Well said. I don’t run myself, but my son and daughter-in-law, who has epilepsy, are avid trail ultrarunners. She has a lot of fun picking out outfits for the races and yes, on occasion she dons a tutu. And looks freaking awesome out there running her heart out and smiling all the while. I will be at every race I can, supporting every runner I can. But I can guaran-damn-tee you I will never, ever buy a SELF magazine.

  13. I read about this in Runner’s World Magazine and it made me SO angry. Being new to running, I’ve begun to really enjoy myself. Consequently, several of my friends have picked up running (a couple of them are running their first 5ks this year – and I will be running beside them). That being said, we are THOSE girls. We will be wearing tutus and funny socks and God knows what else we will find to make ourselves look goofy…because it’s FUN! Because, for one second, you forget that you’re actually running (you, who has never run for fun), and you enjoy yourself. So screw Self magazine! I’ll wear a tutu at every race from now on! 🙂

  14. Great blog entry! You know that SELF Magazine has got to feel like a bunch of idiots and a-holes right now. But this is definitely a tragedy to triumph story! Not only is she beating brain cancer, but look at all the awareness Girls on the Run and Glam Runner have received. I posted on the FB page that I am sure I am one of many that will be reinvesting my SELF Mag subscription fee into her non-profit. Go Monika Allen! You go girl!

  15. Pingback: Friday Favorites: Heading out to buy a tutu! | A Little More Each Day

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