Is the migraine pose offensive? Awkward Pose is Harmful

migraine pose

This morning I woke up in a migraine pose. No, I’m not a model in Elle magazine, I’m a real migraine sufferer. I wake up with a migraine EVERY morning.  I went to bed last night with a migraine because I go to bed EVERY night with migraine.  Stumbling downstairs to get my coffee on this rainy morning I was hoping that my pain would lessen and shakes would dissipate so I could drive my kids to swim lessons.  After swim lessons, I face over 30 shots at my neurologist’s office just so I can wake up tomorrow to be able to go to the grocery store.   It’s not a glamorous life. Instagram and Elle magazine’s new headache pose is an awkward pose that is harmful to migraine stigma.

When I opened my social media, I saw this…….”All the pretty people on Instagram are doing the migraine pose.”  They have since changed it to “headache pose” in their title but the content still exists.

Migraine Pose is Offensive

I scrolled through the article and was shocked to see the popular models Gigi and Bella Hadid and Kylie and Kendall Jenner.  Why am I surprised?

  1.  Over my last vacation, I read Believe Me by Yolanda Hadid.  Yolanda is the mother of Gigi and Bella and wrote a book about her arduous journey with Lyme disease.  Bella and her brother also discovered that they also have Lyme.  The book is about the life of an invisible illness sufferer and herlong, winding, painful, expensive, loss-filled road.  I plan on writing a review of the book and all of the impactful things that I related to as a migraine sufferer.
    1. Now, here stands her 2 daughters who fight by her side for Lyme Disease totally degrading and glamouring MY invisible illness.  All the pretty people are doing it…..”Migraine Pose,” coined by makeup artist Nam Vo, involves posing with one or two hands pulling your face up by your temples as if you had a, well, migraine.”  Where’s the “Lyme pose”?  Migraine is not beautiful, it’s a neurological disease! In their defense, I’m hoping they were just posing and not specifically mocking migraine.
  2. Kendall and Kylie Jenner are not known for their responsible modeling choices.  They seem to be ok with offending people to make a dollar but their own sister Khloe has often been heard to speak of her migraine.  Once again, even the family is insensitive to the extreme nature of this debilitating disease. Once again hoping they didn’t know.

Awkward Pose is Harmful

Many of us are striving to make the face of migraine seen.  Elle magazine is NOT showing the face of migraine.  When I get a migraine above level 7, I throw up violently, lose speech and cognition, lose the ability to walk, and often crawl to the bathroom.  I can’t read, drive, be in the light, have sound in my presence, experience muscle spasms, have a sensitivity to touch, and pass out from the head pain.  That is what migraine looks like.  Not a pretty model “showing off her manicure.”

I saw that migraine is trending for ALL the wrong reasons!  I’m hoping this educates some.

Here are a few examples of my migraine pose…(In reality, my level 10s will never be photographed because they put me in grave danger.)

Did you ever notice how pets sense pain?  Humans blatantly disregard each other while no explanations need to be made to a dog.  I’m not showing off my manicure or pulling my face taught towards the light to look beautiful.  I’m surviving and using my best friend and therapy as a way to fight the pain.

But for some reason, THIS isn’t trending.  I wonder why? Pain isn’t pretty and shouldn’t be portrayed as a glamorous way to live. An awkward pose doesn’t describe a neurological disease.

Comment below with your migraine pose and share this.  This is what should be tending! SHARE that migraine is not beautiful.

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Sarah Rathsack

I tell stories of My Migraine Life. Living life through Migraine consists of advocacy, treatment, prevention, and searching for health and happiness in a positive honest way. My kids, husband, dog, family and friends motivate me to make a difference in the Migraine World.
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8 Comments

  1. shannon on June 27, 2018 at 10:28 am

    Unfortunate isn’t it! And the reality of the pose for me….is a flashback to childhood….when the hand to the head applying pressure for a “small” amount of relief meant my own mother doing it for me! I never had the strength to apply a strong enough head squeeze, my mom would apply the pressure with her own hands….as we both just cried, me from the pain, and her from an inability to do much more for me. Oh migraine…so cruel. These models are doing so much damage…



  2. Beverley Dickinson on June 27, 2018 at 10:42 am

    OMG this is crazy its like people are losing all compassion for one another these days it is so sad. I love seeing your dog looking after you in all your pictures, my dog is the same he always knows when my pain is bad.



  3. mymigrainelife on June 27, 2018 at 11:23 am

    In college I woke my roommate up screaming for her to squeeze my head. I scared her because she didn’t understand but I just needed pressure. It certainly wasn’t a glamorous time to snap a photo. It truly is unfortunate!



  4. mymigrainelife on June 27, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Thank you! She was my best medicine and healer!



  5. Amy Ewald on July 18, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    My dog is always there for me when I have a migraine. He’s getting pretty old now, and has a hard time getting into bed with me when I’m this bad, but he sticks right to my side. I’m sorry about your dog. As for this “migraine” pose, I don’t know why Elle posted that. Most of those women look pissed or annoyed about something, not in physical pain.



  6. mymigrainelife on July 18, 2018 at 5:19 pm

    Pets are true healers and at bare minimum helpers and love. Elle and all that are involved were clearly not thinking about their audience and the horrible insensitive phrasing they used.



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