Dear Nam Vo, Kristina Rodulfo, Leah Chernikoff & Nina Garcia,
I pray that you read this with open hearts and minds.
I am disappointed…
In smart, powerful women, who have acted with a lack of cultural literacy.
Had you thought through this headline:
“All the Pretty People on Instagram Are Doing the Migraine Pose” –
you should have realized that June is migraine awareness month, and that many of your readers, followers and fans - myself included, are suffering from this often misunderstood, debilitating disease as it affects 18% of women - your target audience.
In identifying a “pose” with a neurological illness that affects millions of people, you had an incredible opportunity to create true beauty by raising awareness.
Instead of advocating, you exploited.
But before I continue - I would like to thank you.
In missing the mark of advocacy, you struck the hearts of migraineurs.
With a search of #migrainepose on Instagram – it’s clear the migraine community has taken ownership. We will not allow #migrainepose to be anything other than an opportunity and platform to share our powerful story.
I invite you to join this movement.
We see that you have changed the headline to “Headache Pose”, which again misses the point. It’s not about the pose.
It’s about how it was glorified.
You have invalidated people’s real pain. Severe migraine is recognized by the World Health Organization to be as debilitating as dementia, paraplegia, and active psychosis. And even though it is the most prevalent neurological illness, it receives the least amount of funding for advocacy and research. This kind of pain doesn’t result in beautiful skin – it radically changes people’s lives – usually through alienation and isolation because friends, bosses and family who are non-migraineurs are typically uneducated and completely unaware of the true affects. With the lack of visibility, understanding and support, as well as the physical toll it takes on brain structure and chemical balance - it is no wonder that depression is 3x more prevalent in people with migraines.
As a feminist migraineur and entrepreneur who works in the fashion and beauty industry, I have an appreciation for empowerment achieved through feeling beautiful.
But when we focus solely on appearance, we mis-represent our sex as one dimensional.
The Elle website states:
“Since the magazine launched in Paris in 1945, its audience has known that ELLE's distinct voice assumes a certain level of cultural literacy; so whether the topic is fashion, beauty, culture, the arts, or politics, the content is always inspiring, relevant and uniquely personal. ELLE is not just about the dress—but also about the woman in the dress.”
I trust you will strongly reconsider the “woman in the dress” and the essence of what Elle stands for.
If you need guidance on how to make this right, my team is willing to help, and we believe the only acceptable solution is 1) a formal apology and 2) a migraine awareness campaign.
CEO, Om Lifestyle LLC