Friday, March 28, 2014

Have You Mocked A Lady Today?

I'm sure you've heard by now about the cancer patient recently mocked by SELF Magazine for running the LA Marathon in a tutu.

The tutus were made by her company, the proceeds of which were donated to Girls on the Run, for the record.

If you've read this post, you can probably guess my feelings on this matter. (And if you haven't, you might take a look -- it's one of my most favorite things I've ever written.) My brain was putting together the skeleton of the angry six-page blog post I would no doubt write on the subject when I came across Caitlin's post at Fit & Feminist. It turns out that she said pretty much everything I would have & more, AND did it in, like, two pages, which, the way I see it, is a win for all of us.

I highly recommend clicking through to read the whole thing, but there were a few passages in particular that really resonated with me that I wanted to highlight:

    "[I]t doesn’t escape my notice that the race gear deemed most mock-worthy – running tutus, running skirts, pink and purple gear, flowers and sparkles – are almost always things that are overwhelmingly embraced by women. It’s like there is this refusal to take a woman seriously as a runner and an athlete unless she presents herself in clothes that are similar to those worn by guys. Running skirts and dresses are prissy, gear with pink and flowers encourages women to be less assertive, women who wear makeup to the gym are insecure...the criticism seems to be endless, but the end message is clear: that things normally thought of as feminine are inherently frivolous, silly and stupid. It’s basically textbook femmephobia.

WORD, Caitlin. Internet fist-bump.

Are there legitimate questions about the female apologetic (see also this) & the pinkification of all things lady-related (don't tell me you've missed the pink BodyGlide they charge you more for)? Of course there are. And we should absolutely continue to discuss them in a constructive, supportive way. But there's a huge difference between asking thoughtful questions respectfully in appropriate forums & straight-up publicly mocking someone for doing something that made them happy & hurt no one.

Once more, for the record: If you need to insult, mock, or make disparaging remarks about how other women dress for their run/exercise, you are doing it wrong. You can have your opinion. You can make judgements. Think or feel whatever you like in your sweet little heart. But don't inflict it on the rest of us.


  1. Until I read Miss Zippy's post yesterday I had no idea this was going on! I don't adore the tutu trend myself (not because of the actual tutu, but because it represents the kind of under-trained, event-not-exercise type of running that I think is so harmful to a legitimately healthy lifestyle) but I'm not going to categorize all runners wearing tutus in that way. Why? Because, as Self found out, you may be misjudging if you don't have the whole story! I was (easily) beaten in a marathon by a super fast tutu-wearer once. And I bet she had the time of her life picking people off while wearing a neon tutu! You just never know.

  2. Obviously, I totally think you should be able to wear whatever you want and I have totally worn a tutu in a race for fun. But, you also have to know that people (not just in running, but in life) are going to judge you based on your choices. And, I think it's sort of weird that all of a sudden everyone's like "running in tutus is great" when they definitely didn't have that opinion before, and sometimes it IS kind of eh to show up in a tutu to a running race -- just because they want to support this girl, who obviously got screwed (I think the asking her for her picture and then using it to make fun of her is the shitty and dishonest part). But, all these people jumping down SELF's back about how wrong it is to mock a cancer survivor are also a little complicit in it. It was in a section of the magazine where they rank things on one of the matrices from lame to awesome--nearly every magazine has something like this or has pictures that make fun of people's clothes on the street, celebrities or regular people (those like "look what we caught them wearing" things). Did no one ever think about who the real people actually are behind those until now??

    1. I definitely agree that it's getting more attention because she's a patient cancer, which to me is totally beside the point. My point is mainly, "Stop being nasty / making fun of people just because they don't do x activity EXACTLY the way you do for EXACTLY the same reasons." Self is a horrible publication full-stop; I think this is probably just the first time they've gotten the attention of the running world / community.

    2. So, SELF is trying to go younger in their audience. I was told this by an editor. And, I think they thought they were being young and edgier and TOTALLY misjudged their actual market.

  3. I can't wait to see how SELF is going to try to make up for this.
    I love your last paragraph about insulting and mocking, that's how I feel too. Sure I don't like how everyone dresses, for running or not, so what? We all have the right to choose, and I'm thankful for that.

  4. I agree with the above commentator...that to email someone and ask if you can use their photo with the express intention to mock them is pretty awful. I gave up magazines (except running/outdoorsy ones) a few years ago and whenever I flick through one, I never regret it!!

  5. Running is HARD.. I don't care who you are. Man or Woman. If it makes someone happier and brings a smile to their face while running wearing a tutu.. more power to them. I can careless what anyone wears. I have seen MEN wearing tutu's in a running race, and blow past the pack. Good for them. Again, its not what someone wears.. we are such a judgmental and shallow society. IF we haven't learned yet, as runners,.. Never judge a book by its cover. What about the people who wear compression socks, compression arm sleeves, and the most expensive running gear on the market and finish walking? Are we going to mock them too? WHO CARES? We are running for OURSELVES and I support anyone , fat, skinny, pro wearing gear, tutu wearing, bathing suit bottom wearers, and anyone in between who is out there running. We all run for different reasons, and many of them are personal and helped someone overcome something very powerful in their lives. Stop judging people and this wouldn't even be a topic. I will never support a magazine called, "SELF" yet, discourages individuality in such a mean, non productive approach. It clearly is a fraud magazine.

  6. I'd just like to add a post from one of my favorite running bloggers ( about kicking ass in a race in a tutu [Parentheticals mine]:

    [S/O] and I went home to shower and nap before race #2 [You read that correctly, this is her second race of the day, after a 10 mile w/u, and a 10 mile race at 7:13/mile pace for 3rd OA Female]. Another guy from our running group was putting on a "mustache race." Our friends [F1] and [F2] had begged [S/O] and I to do this race. We hadn't seen them in awhile and always have fun hanging out with them, so we agreed to do it as a "fun run." The costume? Well, haters can hate, but I LOVE dressing in costume. Running, not running, school, wherever, I love costumes. [S/O] bought me a new tutu, bow tie, suspenders, and purple mustache for the race. Wendy wore the same outfit, but black and white. I think we were super cute. We get to the race, and I choose an appropriate place near the back. I mean, I'm in a costume and had already run 20 miles (10 at quality) that day. I was in no mode to race. And then the horn went off.

    I had on no watch, and there weren't mile markers. I was literally running free as a bird. It was pretty fun, too. Once I got moving (I'd done zero warm up. Why would I? This was going to be a jog.), I felt decent. I started running faster and faster and picking people off. And then I accidentally moved into first female. The wind picked up; my suspenders came down; my tutu rode up. My stick on mustache was driving me NUTS. I tried to peel it off, but that kind of hurt and I was running so fast that I couldn't coordinate it. I knew the course was out and back, and before I could even blink, we were already at the turn around. I could see [S/O] ahead, but he was too far for me to catch. I just kind of ran along at my medium fast pace, wondering when a girl would catch me and how RIDICULOUS it was to be running through the road in downtown Mobile in this costume. After the turn around, it got really fun. Since it was an out-and-back, I got to see everyone that hadn't reached the turn around. They were going NUTS for me. I got all sort of weird comments, "Holy SH*$ that tutu girl is flying!" "You go, girl!" I was running near some guy named Mike and , "Dude, Mike, you're getting chicked by a tutu fairy!" LOL. I don't think anyone has ever cheered that much for me during a race. And maybe I'm an attention whore because I loved it. Haha.

    1st OA Female 20:20

    **I mean. That's just pure awesome. Right?

  7. I don't think I'd ever wear a tutu in a race for any number of reasons. But I will defend anyone who has the courage to do so. Like the Japanese man who ran the Gold Coast marathon in a nappy. Not sure why but who am I to say he shouldn't?!