I’m not one to don a tutu—or even a running skirt, for that matter—during a race, but I’m of the more-power-to-you-if-that’s-your-thing mentality. Apparently, SELF magazine doesn’t share my sense of open-mindedness.
The April issue of the women’s magazine features a photo (see it here), as part of a section titled “The BS Meter,” of a woman running in a Superman t-shirt and a bouncy red tutu. The caption reads: “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.” Ouch.
The woman pictured is San Diego runner Monika Allen, who was approached by the magazine to use her photo for a piece on running in tutus—but they didn’t tell her how the photo would be used. NBC’s local station in San Diego caught up with Allen, who said she was “stunned and confused” when she saw her photo in the just-released issue.
But it’s more than just a matter of hurt feelings. Turns out Allen is a cancer survivor, and the race in which she ran in a tutu fell in the middle of her chemotherapy treatment, so running in tutu helped her feel motivated and happy. She’s also one of two founding members of a company called Glam Runner, which—wait for it—makes and sells tutus to raise money for the charity Girls on the Run. Uh, whoops.
Allen’s story aside, you have to wonder why SELF felt the need to shame tutu’d runners in the first place. Because, like, who are they hurting? Sure, it’s not my personal jam, but I wouldn’t say I feel in any way offended or annoyed when I see people running in tutus. If anything, I find it entertaining, and seeing them whiz past in a flash of tulle and pink and sparkles helps take my mind off the drudgery of running.
“My tutu has officially been ruffled!” says Schuyler Nunn, pictured above, who owns the Chestnut Hill fitnesswear shop Indigo Schuy. “Whatever it takes to get people up and moving should be applauded, especially those who have been battling cancer.” The sentiment was echoed by a statement SELF made to NBC San Diego in response to the kerfuffle.
Nunn says she became a running tutu-wearer last fall at the Ragnar Relay, where she was part of a tutu-wearing team. “I have to admit it was way out of my comfort zone to put one on,” she said. “Turns out, it was by far one of the most fun experiences I’ve ever had. The tutus created a team bond, were a conversation starter with strangers and made it easy to find teammates in a crowd.”
Her store now carries a line of tutus from Tough Girl Tutus for anyone who wants to hop on the tutu train. Just don’t tell SELF Magazine.
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