Dear Self Magazine,
I’m not entirely sure if you’re aware of this, but there’s a really rather unfortunate stereotype surrounding women, one which has been ingrained in our society for far too long. It’s a heavy-duty contributor to why it’s still a struggle for women to be seriously accepted as capable equals in the greater part of the real world, and since your magazine was founded and is currently run by women, you’d think that you of all people would understand how significant that struggle is. That stereotype is that women are petty, shallow, and that we are only capable of gleaning self-respect or self-worth by the mockery and putting-down of other women.
You know, of course, that what I’m getting at has something to do with your blatant mockery of Monika Allen in the March issue of your magazine, but what really set me off was not just the story, nor your half-assed apology, but rather, your magazine’s determination to make other women feel bad on the merit of what they wear, how they look, and the choices they make. Your BS Meter section, the inclusion of Monika Allen in that section, and your ridiculous “apology” all work together in a perfect storm of sheer ineptitude and degradation to show that you’re devolving into another crass, shallow excuse for a magazine, and that you feel you can only bring yourself readership and credibility by the mockery and putting down of others. Does this sound conducive to a pro-woman atmosphere? Do you think this is doing womankind any favors as far as earning credibility and respect? Because news flash, it’s not.
Other people have said it, I’m just repeating it, but what if Monika DIDN’T have cancer? What if she was, in fact, just a woman running a marathon in a tutu? What right do you have to make fun of her? What could you possibly hope to accomplish by actively putting down a woman who chooses to run in a tutu for ANY reason? You’re not sorry that you made fun of her, you’re sorry that you got called out on your crap, because you just so happened to mock a woman with brain cancer. But what you’re missing is the most important point. Monika Allen, whom I’m almost entirely sure would agree with me, is not defined by her brain cancer. She’s defined by the choices she makes, just like the rest of us are. If you make the choice to put her down because of your own preconceived notions of what is “lame” and what isn’t, then you are defined as exactly the type of entity that contributes to the detriment of progressive women and equal respect.
I will never read your magazine and I will actively encourage others to likewise abstain, not just because you published that piece, but because you clearly don’t have the common sense to understand how degrading it was, and not just because Monika has cancer. When you’re perpetuating a damaging culture of women, one that paints us as petty, shallow, and abusive to our own gender, it would be counterproductive for me or anyone to take part in that. And when I run my next 5k, I will be wearing a tutu. Call me lame, if you dare.
Michelle, and her middle fingers
4 thoughts on “An Open Letter to Self Magazine”
Reblogged this on Writing Practice and commented:
I love this post, and all the backlash SELF magazine has been getting for making fun of runners who wear tutus. God forbid anyone should wear something cute and fun to give them a little boost when they’re exercising hard! I can only assume the person who wrote that blurb has never been to a marathon — people run in all sorts of crazy clothes, and sometimes even full costumes. It’s FUN. It makes people smile. Why would anyone over the age of 14 think it’s OK to crap on other people’s fun to make themselves feel cooler?
So right. We need to teach our daughters and remind our sisters that confidence is important, but when it comes from denigrating others, it’s useless.
Excellent post! Love the fact that you included your middle fingers! This whole mean girls mentality makes me ill. I have started a Respect the Tutu challenge showing runners everywhere in their tutus. The women at Self Magazine are just a bunch of bullies pretending to be trend setters and trying to make people believe that their messages are inspirational. http://quest4theathlete.wordpress.com/2014/03/31/respect-the-tutu-challenge-2/
Absolutely true. I just don’t understand why that sort of mentality is so easy to slip into. What happened to empowerment? Why does it keeps devolving into this high school pettyfest??