Thursday, March 27, 2014

Monika Rocks. SELF Magazine Sucks.

Regular readers of my blog will probably remember that I have a friend named Monika who runs marathons, is battling brain cancer, and is an all-around amazing and inspirational person.  I am always amazed at how much she fits into her busy life, and how much she gives of herself to others.

Here we were at a birthday party for Monika two years ago.

See the tutu on Domo?  The tutu ignited an internet outrage this week.  Not that particular tutu on Domo.  These, on Monika and Tara.


You see… a while ago, SELF Magazine emailed Monika, asking if they could use her photo above in a “writeup about running in tutus”.  She was excited about it.  She and Tara (also in the photo) are founders of Glam Runner.  They make running tutus, sell them, and donate the proceeds to benefit Girls On The Run San Diego, an organization that empowers young girls to take up running, have self-esteem, and stand up for themselves.  Monika had been a coach for GOTRSD for many years.  Oh and also about the above photo? Monika was dressed up as Wonder Woman while running the LA Marathon, because it was her first marathon after being diagnosed with brain cancer.  And she ran the marathon while GOING THROUGH CHEMO.

So imagine her shock when she saw the issue of SELF Magazine and saw what the photo was used for.  It was in their section called “BS Meter”.

SELF Magazine asked her for permission to use her photo, then proceeded to MOCK her for running in a tutu!  There are so many things wrong with this. 

  1. Asking her for the photo and then using it this way.
  2. Mocking any woman who was running a marathon because of her outfit.
  3. Not bothering to find out why she’s wearing the outfit.
  4. Not knowing she made the tutus herself to sell to benefit Girls On The Run.
  5. Not knowing she was running in the midst of brain cancer treatment.

In the photo, Tara’s race bib clearly says “Die, Tumor, Die!”  I guess SELF was too SELF-absorbed to see it and figure out there’s way more to the story than two women running in tutus.  (Which in and of itself it LAME to make fun of.) 

The internet and media retribution was swift.  They really decided to mock the wrong person.  Last night NBC San Diego ran a story about it and that was the catalyst to national outrage of epic proportions.  SELF magazine made a huge mistake.  They pissed off women, runners, women runners, cancer survivors, and just regular decent human beings who don’t enjoy seeing other humans being bullied and mocked for having fun while doing something they love.  They have since apologized, but to me it was insincere and only happened when they found out she has cancer. Um, mocking ANY woman’s outfit while running is NOT okay!

Ironically, the San Diego Union Tribune just last week posted a very inspirational story about Monika in their ongoing “Courage Through Cancer” series.  You should definitely read it

You can read more about the “tutu-gate” coverage below:

USA Today:  'Self' editor apologizes for mocking cancer survivor

CNN:  Ouch! Mag disses tutu of woman battling cancer

Huffington Post:  Self Magazine Shames Cancer Survivor For Running Marathon In A 'Lame' Tutu

Union Tribune:  SELF Magazine calls cancer patient's running tutu 'lame'

NY Daily News:  Self magazine editor apologizes for making fun of cancer survivor’s tutu 

Examiner:  SELF Magazine bashes geek girls with cancer

Jezebel:  Maybe Don't Mock a Cancer-Fighting Marathoner's Tutu

And even Perez Hilton:  SELF Magazine Makes Fun Of A Marathon Runner With Brain Cancer! Why?? Find Out The UNACCEPTABLE Reason HERE!

The positive about all this?  Women, runners, cancer survivors, and decent human beings everywhere put their foot down.  SELF Magazine had no idea which groups of people they were messing with.  AND, Monika’s company Glam Runner and Girls On The Run have gotten the positive attention they deserve. 

The moral of the story is, SELF magazine should have never asked Monika for permission to use the photo, all the while planning to mock her and the tutus!  How unethical!  And, NEVER mess with empowered women.  SELF magazine should know that, you would think?

If you would like to make something positive out of the negative, you can make a tax-deductible donation to Girls On The Run San Diego, or you can like the Glam Runner Facebook Page and offer words of encouragement.  You can also try ordering a tutu from them, but I have a feeling they may be unable to fulfill all the demand right now!  :)


  1. Go Monica! Her story reached all the way to our local news in Hawaii. I just saw her interview after reading your post. My husband said it was also featured on Yahoo. I hope this positive publicity can empower more women runners and kick cancer in the butt. Don't stop fighting Monica. I have a coworker who just had a baby after being (brain) cancer free for 4 years.

  2. What an outrage! I was shocked when I saw this. I wish your friend the best, and to keep fighting the good fight. The outfits are awesome :)

  3. I am totally outraged. Brings tears to my eyes from being so angry. So not right.

  4. This story really pissed me off. SELF magazine and the idiot who suggested and approved the story should be fired.

  5. I've never heard of SELF magazine, but they should be ashamed of themselves!!! Thanks for writing this article, Christine and please pass on my support / good wishes to Monika too ♥

  6. Open wide and insert foot SELF!!!! What is wrong with peoples Mean-O-Meters now a days?! I have never bought that magazine and never will.

  7. I saw this on Friday and was shocked. SELF is based on encouraging women to be healthy and active. And why seek out a company called Glam Runner in San Diego to illustrate your complaints about tutus/skirts/etc in Central Park? The website clearly states that Glam Runner supports Girl on the Run which should also be in SELF's wheel house. An opportunity for a great feature piece was missed for snark and mean comments. Pathetic.
    My BFF, her sister and I bought sparkle skirts to wear this spring during 5K races. I think we need to order some tutus too!

  8. I just heard about this on NPR on my way in to work - I agree that SELF made a mistake (many) throughout the whole thing - what a weird article and way to handle it. I heard her tutu's have been selling fast and more $ has been made for Girls on the Run recently because of it - YAY!!!! Turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

  9. Wow, unbelievable. What a completely f'd up thing to do and totally unethical, like you said. More so they should have done their research. The is the kind of mentality of America that I hate. Good on Monika for being a fighter and bringing publicity to a good cause!

  10. I love that picture of Domo eating a Domo cookie.. in my Domo shirt. :) haha. This whole Self thing has been crazy. I can't believe the photo editor would reach out to a business for photos so they could degrade them. I wonder if that is normal practice?? I know that the story only spread like fire because I have cancer and we donate money to GOTR.. but I'm glad that a lot of people seem to see beyond that and are questioning why women are criticizing each other to begin with. Getting rid of the BS Meter is a good start for Self. I wonder what other changes will come with the recent staff change. (Which makes me feel terrible BTW. I realize that we aren't to blame but I hate knowing our issue was probably a contributing factor.)


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