Saturday, April 5, 2014

Inspiration Saturday: A tutu tirade

Today's post is part inspiration, part rant.  I'm warning you now.

I don't know how many of you might have heard about this already.  My sense of what I read about online and what is actually water cooler conversation to the rest of the world is not that sharp.  But I first found out about it last week, and it continues to irk me.

Self, a women's fitness/lifestyle magazine, included this nugget in a feature called 'BS Meter' next to a photo of two women running a marathon wearing superhero t-shirts and tutus:
New Running Tulle: A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYCs 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 away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.
Let's completely set aside the horrific detail that one of the women photographed, a cofounder of a company called Glam Runner that sells these kinds of poofy running accessories, was running the LA marathon having been diagnosed with brain cancer.  Because obviously making someone who has cancer the butt of your joke is not generally a great PR move.  Let's assume that these had just been two healthy women running a marathon with complementary Superman and Wonder Woman outfits.  Because even if that were the case, I would still be fuming.

I love tutus.  When I was a little girl, there was nothing better than a frilly skirt that would fly up to my waist when I twirled around.  If it were not totally contrary to the generally accepted dress code of adult society, I would probably still wear tutus in public.  Because they are fun and irreverent, and they make me smile.  Like anything else I put on my person, whether it's shoes, jewelry, or makeup, a silly or colorful detail lets me feel like a kid and a grown-up at the same time.  Like this amazing linen skirt my mom knit for me for Christmas:

It's colorful and fun, and the best part is that because it's linen, the more I wear it, the softer it will get.  I love hard-wearing knitwear.  Especially when it's pink and evokes those wonderfully-spinning skirts of my childhood.

But wearing an actual tutu while I'm out, say, grocery shopping, would make me feel kind of self-conscious.  So I refrain, and save the tutu-wearing for some of my races, like a 5K turkey trot a few years ago:

It's not a full-on tutu, but there is tulle, and a bright pink bobble hat to complete the look.  And you know what, I don't think anyone has the right to try and make me feel ashamed or ridiculous for it.  Because when you are running, at any distance, you have earned the right to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and gives you the motivation to cross the finish line.

No one wearing a tutu really thinks that it's going to make them run faster.  It's the kind of smart aleck comment that a cynical observer makes while runners pass them by.  It's the kind of comment that keeps some people from going out and doing anything, because they feel like someone is always going to be there to make fun of them, because they aren't fast enough or skinny enough or wearing the right thing.

And it's not the kind of comment I want to read in a magazine.  I'm offended not just by the judgements they are making against me, but by the sheer stupidity of casting this kind of aspersion on a not insignificant percentage of what should be their target market.  I've seen many women at 5Ks, and some at the marathon as well, wearing what might be better described as costumes than outfits.  And given today's publishing environment, I wouldn't have thought that Self could afford to alienate these women.

So while I decide on what magazines I will be starting up subscriptions to, because I still enjoy reading while running on the treadmill at the gym every week, I know Self is never going to be on that list.  Maybe I'll read some knitting magazines instead?

Were you a tutu-loving kid?  Do you still like to add girly frills to things?  Like some of these projects, perhaps?  For more inspiration, go to Woolen Diversions.

1 comment:

  1. "'Because when you are running, at any distance, you have earned the right to wear whatever makes you feel comfortable and gives you the motivation to cross the finish line." YOU SAID IT, perfectly, right there. Those writers were LAME.

    I've never been a tutu girl myself (not counting the times I actually wore tutus in ballet class prior to 7 years old) but I think if someone wants to wear them, they absolutely should! Especially while doing something as cool as running a race.