A San Diego woman and cancer survivor was "stunned and offended" to see her picture used in a popular women's magazine to make fun of her special running gear.
Self magazine asked Monika Allen if they could use a picture of her running in the Los Angeles Marathon for their upcoming edition, telling her they needed photos of women wearing tutus while running; a popular trend among distance runners who band together for a cause.
Allen said she was initially excited; she actually makes the tutus through her business, Glam Runners, to raise money for charity. She gave the magazine permission to use her image, but said Self didn't explain exactly what it would be used for.
Then Allen saw the column. She said found it "really offensive," and it's easy to see why: it reads more like a nasty note from a high-school bully rather than a sophisticated women's magazine.
"A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster," the magazine caption reads. "Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it."
The section headline reads "BS meter, our SELF-y guide to what is legit and lame this month."
Allen didn't appreciate being called lame. Especially since the image captures her bravery and the support of her friends as she ran her first race with brain cancer.
The LA Marathon came right in the middle of her chemotherapy treatments and the tutus gave her special motivation.
"I feel that we were misled in providing the picture, had I known how the picture was going to be used I wouldn't have wanted to send it," Allen told KNSD.
Hundreds of supporters have showered the Glam Runner Facebook page with comments and pictures of support.
"Through the years we've actually made about 2,000 tutus and were able to give back to Girls on the Run about $5,600," Allen told KNSD-TV in San Diego.
The benefiting charity also lashed out at the SELF article, posting on Facebook:
The real story behind this photo is that the awesome duo were running the LA Marathon while Monika was receiving chemotherapy treatments for brain cancer.
One of our core values is to stand up for yourself and others, so we are standing up for Tara and Monika, as well as every other runner who has finished a race feeling awesome in a tutu.
In an emailed statement to TheBlaze, Self magazine editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger said, "In our attempt to be humorous, we were inadvertently insensitive and we deeply apologize."
"I have sincerely apologized both directly to Monika and her supporters online. At SELF we support women such as Monika; she is an inspiration and embodies the qualities we admire. We have donated to her charity and would like to cover her good work in a future issue. We wish her all the best in her road to good health," Danziger said.
Allen told TheBlaze the support from thousands of fellow runners, cancer survivors and general fans of tutus has been "amazing." So much so, that they are maxed out on tutu orders.
"I hope it results in something positive. It would be great if people could funnel their support to Girls on the Run of San Diego," Allen said.
The digital version of Self April issue, which includes the "SELF-y Legit or Lame" section, is already online; the print edition hits news stands in just a few days.
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