Friday, March 28, 2014

Self Magazine Shames Itself and A Cancer Survivor. So Much For Women's Empowerment

Monika Allen, a brain cancer survivor and marathon runner, was asked by Self Magazine if they could use a photo of her wearing a Wonder Woman shirt and tutu while she was running a marathon.  Ms. Allen was happy about the use of the photo, that is until the issue came out.  

Along with her photo Self put this little editorial

"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."

Nice.  Not only was the woman undergoing chemotherapy at the time she ran this marathon, she made these tutu's herself.  You see she makes and sells them, then gives the money to charity.  She donates money to Girls on the Run.  A charity that helps young girls, aged 8 - 13, engage in physical activities and gain confidence in themselves by learning to enjoy running.  While people make think that isn't that big of a deal, running competitively can transform your self confidence.  When you start doing better you not only gain confidence but want to continue to improve yourself.  The program ends for these young girls by competing in a 5K race.  It is a charity that teaches not only self confidence, but also teaches them discipline and goal setting.  All qualities that young women will need to navigate the world as they get older.  

Instead of Self doing any kind of reporting they just make fun of the woman.  I do not give them a pass by saying well maybe they didn't know she had cancer.  They are a magazine for pity sakes, they could have asked the question.  But no, they just dissed the woman and her outfit.  Now, would I wear that outfit?  Not likely.  But that doesn't mean I get to make fun of someone who does.  I have a few friends that run in marathons.  It is very hard work to get your body into shape to do this.  That is even without health issues.  Just imagine how much harder it is when your brain has cancer in it and you are undergoing chemotherapy?

Self Magazine has released a statement:
In a statement to NBC 7, SELF apologized "for the association of her picture in any way other than to support her efforts to be healthy."
"Of course if tutus make you run with a smile on your face or with a sense of purpose or community, then they are indeed worth wearing, for any race," the statement read.
In the first issue of Self, the Editor in Chief made this statement:
An extraordinary spirit and energy are emerging in women today. Fitness is the fuel. We have acquired a strong appetite for the full experience of life—the exhilaration of the outdoors, the challenge and success of professional work, the honest enjoyment of sex. Selfwill be a guide to the vitality we need to do all the things we want to do.
They certainly have strayed a long way from that mission statement.  

Sadly, the apology is of the non apology variety that is more about covering their own ass.  I doubt they have learned anything from this incident.  Yet one more reason I don't buy into all the hype about "empowering" women.   This is what they did to woman and are only now sorry because they found out she had cancer.  They never bothered to ask where she got the tutu or why she was wearing it.  They just wanted to be catty.  Well Meow to you Self.  

If you want to support Ms. Allen, you can find her facebook page here.  

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