March 28, 2014
Self Magazine Apology For Calling Cancer Survivor 'Lame,' Is It Enough Or Just More Selfishness?

Self Magazine, one of the nation's top fitness and health publications for women, thinks it's hilarious to make fun of women who run marathons while undergoing chemotherapy for brain cancer.

At least that's what it looked like when they ran a photo of 35-year-old Monika Allen running the Los Angeles Marathon while wearing a Wonder Woman t-shirt — and one of the tutus she makes with her small company Glam Runner, which donates much of its revenue to charity.

In fact, Glam Runner donates money to research on brain cancer, the condition for which Monika was receiving chemo when she ran the L.A. Marathon with her friend and Glam Runner co-founder Tara Baize.

In the photograph, Tara also wears a Glam Runner tutu, as well as T-shirt with the famous "S" logo usually associated with Superman, but also worn by Supergirl.

Monika Allen Running First Marathon Since Brain Cancer Diagnosis

A Self Magazine photo editor contacted the San Diego women, to request the photo which first appeared on the Glam Runner Facebook page. The Self Magazine rep told Allen that the publication was doing a "trend" story about women who run marathons while wearing tutus and the Glam Runner co-founder was all too happy to oblige.

The photo meant a lot to her, she said, depicting as it does, "an important day, because it was the first time I raced after being diagnosed with cancer."

But when the photo appeared in Self Magazine, it wasn't part of a trend story, or any story. Instead, it appeared in the publication's "BS Meter" section, which purports to decide for the reader what should be considered "legit" and conversely, what is "lame."

Self Magazine Declares Tutu-Wearing Marathon Runner "Lame"

The tutu-marathon photo came down on the "lame" side, with the snarky notation, "A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it."

While the unprovoked attack "shocked" Allen, a massive outpouring of support — and scorn for Self Magazine — restored her morale. She encouraged Facebook followers, however, rather than "bashing" Self Magazine, to "do something awesome and dedicate it to Glam Runner."

Self Editor Tries To Fix The Debacle, Apology Doesn't Help

Faced with a torrent of scorn, Self Magazine Editor And Chief Lucy Danziger, who claims she "had no idea" Monika Allen was a cancer survivor — because apparently it's OK to heap scorn on people who aren't cancer survivors — has issued her own outpouring of apologies. In one, she wrote:
A HUGE mea culpa from me personally and the editors at SELF. We NEVER meant to offend anyone. At SELF (co-founder of the Pink Ribbon over three decades ago) we support all variety of cancer fundraising and we root for women like Monika and cheer her getting back to health and strength through running and fitness. We were only reacting to a claim that tutus make you faster, and whether they do or not is beside the point if they make you happy and motivated. We applaud Glam Runner founder Monika--and are wishing you a speedy, full recovery to health. All our apologies on this end.
But was that enough? Many of Glam Runner's supporters think the apology was just as selfish as the original put-down.

"That's the worst excuse I've heard since the Twinkie Defense," wrote one Facebook commenter.

"Your half hearted apology only makes this even more despicable. Gross. I will never again pick up a copy of Self...already canceled my subscription of 10 plus years," stated another.

Washington Post writer Alexandra Petri may have explained the situation best.

"The instant a person becomes something to caption, something to talk about instead of someone to talk to, you lose a dimension or two," wrote Petri, in her blog post on the Self Magazine tutu debacle. "That's the magazine way. This isn't a person. This isn't a human with a story. This is a tutu. The thing on the page is the only thing."