Last week, Elle Magazine and Cosmopolitan magazine posted a couple of articles that are just really demeaning towards those who live with migraines. Evidently a make-up artist, Nam Vo, “coined” a new modeling pose called the migraine pose. According to her and others who have chosen to adopt it on Instagram (including celebrities like Kylie Jenner) think it looks pretty to pretend you have a migraine by grabbing your temples and pulling up. But, real migraines are NOT pretty.
Check out my migraine pose. Real migraines look like this (or worse) – these are the times when I could even fathom a picture… and that’s not common.
I’m disgusted by @ellemagazineus and the beauty industry thinking having a migraine is cool and pretty. Here’s what a migraine really looks like! #truemigrainepose Show your True Migraine pose and let them know that our pain is real and more important than their beauty shot. #disgusting #migraine #realpain #realpeople #truemigrainepose
I’m so proud of our migraine community and they way you have spoken up against the migraine pose. June was Migraine is so much more than a headache. and as awful and demeaning as this entire thing was and while I’m fairly sure that Nam Vo neither had any idea the migraine was demeaning nor does she now (despite the backlash, based on her response to it), in a way I’m thankful for it as it gave us another platform to bring awareness to this pain, that is chronic for many of us.
Since these articles were first published, Elle magazine has changed the title of their article to “headache pose” instead of migraine, but hasn’t changed anything else in the article (also the SEO title – what shows up on Google, still shows “migraine pose”). A change in the title is far from enough, not only is it not enough, in a way it actually makes things worse by belittling anyone with any sort of head pain. As of the time of the time I’m writing this they’ve yet to bother to post any sort of apology or retraction, and, of course, Cosmo hasn’t done anything at all.
Nam Vo edited the caption on her Instagram post “apologizing” and removing the #migrainepose hashtag, but it’s rather clear that she doesn’t understand why it’s so hurtful to so many people.
Migraine is so much more than a headache.because they can give me migraines or make my fibromyalgia pain worse. And, I totally get that some of you felt the need to avoid this controversy as well, for the same reason. But, I never feel it’s a bad idea to speak up for your rights, for those who act against you (or those you love), and this is one of those situations where we need to speak up and speak out.
To many people think that migraines just aren’t a big deal, that you can just pop an Advil and go on with your day. They don’t get why you need the lights off, or why you can’t stand noise. They don’t get it because they don’t get migraines. To those who have never had a migraine, migraine is just another headache. But, it’s not.
Migraine is so much more than a headache. My migraines have evolved over the years. When I was young I didn’t get them often and they basically meant that I needed a dark room with no noise. If I was lucky I could avoid getting nauseated. If I was unlucky, a migraine would start in the car and the movement would be the worst possible thing.
My first experience with chronic migraines came about 15 years ago, thanks to a med I was on. When migraines become chronic you learn to find ways to cope so that you aren’t in your bedroom 24/7, but it doesn’t mean you aren’t still in pain and still fighting it. It did mean I was a lot less likely to go anywhere. Thankfully, that bout of chronic migraine went away when I stopped the med I was taking. Then things once again settled back down to the occasional debilitating migraine, maybe once every few months.
That was until TMJ hit in 2008 and the chronic migraine returned, this time completely debilitating me to the point where I lived on the couch and could barely eat. I only left the house to go to the chiropractor (as he was the only relief I could find). I lived off of NSAIDs, eating them like candy until I ended up with an ulcer. It wasn’t until my chiropractor figured out that I had TMJ and I saw a TMJ specialist and got help that they finally receded again.
Since then I’ve alternated between the occasional migraine (at least monthly, if not more) to chronic migraines. Avoiding stress and changing my diet have definitely helped reduce the number and severity of the migraines. The awful ones that cause me to find a dark room and avoid any noise come only once or twice a year. However, in between I now experience a new type of migraine, one that takes over my entire body.
These full-body migraines are hard to describe, but if you live with fibromyalgia you can pretty well empathize, because it feels very similar. These days my experience with migraines goes one of two ways…
The first starts with the usual head pain, most often centered around my right eye and down my face into my neck. If I’m lucky I can catch it early with some prescription migraine medication. But, that’s not the end, it’s only the end to the head pain. The “migraine hangover” remains for a good 24 hours. This consists of feeling generally lethargic, being unable to think clearly, and feeling like every muscle in my body is tight and on high alert.
The second type of migraine skips the headpain altogether and goes straight into the hangover feeling. It’s not any better, just a tad less painful. In both cases, I’m totally worthless and it’s definitely not pretty.
There is nothing pretty about migraine. While some of us can manage to work through the pain, and even put on some make-up and go to work and you wouldn’t know we are hurting unless you see us in a migraine pose, that’s not often the case. More likely the more we try to push through migraine pain, the more it hurts and the less we can do.
If you want to speak out against the beauty magazine’s interpretation of migraine, please feel free to contact their editorial departments and let them know that their articles are not appreciated. Unfortunately, it appears that Elle is rejecting any emails with “migraine” or “headache” in the title, so make sure you get creative with your subject lines. I’m not going to link to the articles because I don’t want to send them traffic, but you can google for them if you really want to read them. If you do nothing else please jump on your favorite social media (especially if it’s instagram) and post a picture of yourself with your #truemigrainepose and be sure to tag #migrainepose as well.
I’m so proud of our community and they way we’ve taken over the #migrainepose on Instagram and fought back on Twitter and other platforms. Always speak up for yourself.I'm so proud of our community and they way we've taken over the #migrainepose . Migraines are not pretty! Always speak up for yourself. Click To Tweet