I know I may be a little late on this, as tons of pictures have leaked on the Internet and people with subscriptions have been drooling for over a week, but can we all just take a moment and applaud ESPN’s Body Issue?! Don’t worry…if you aren’t sure yet if this is something to be celebrated, I will do my best to convince you that it is. In my opinion, if people are going to disrobe, this is the best possible way to do it. In a way that celebrates and admires the hard work that athlete’s put in to making their bodies the finely tuned machines that they are, and showing the beauty that can be found in the broad spectrum of physical form that exists in sport. But of course, if you show pictures of people with little to no clothes on, there is bound to be controversy. But I encourage people to truly see the positive messages in these pictures.
For starters, we have almost an equal number of beautiful men and women showcased. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any other huge publication that has done this. Personally, I am grateful for the ability to get my fair share of drool on. (Thank you “Gooch”.) From my understanding, people posed in as little as they could be comfortable in. So often, when it’s time to bare skin it’s the women carrying far too much of the load, but in this instance, because the focus was on athletes we were able to see both sexes represented equally. And while there still is some obvious sex appeal, that most certainly isn’t all there is. All these different body types have on thing in common-they are used to compete at the highest level of competition. That is something we all can admire, and if a little drool slips out in the process–so be it.
I have probably heard the most criticism of Serena Williams cover and I think most of it is ridiculous. She is definitely the biggest named athlete to appear totally nude (thumbs down to Adrian Peterson and Dwight Howard for not following in her footsteps), and her cover is supposedly a bit too provocative for some. Yes, she looks sexy. Good for her. Serena is workin’ with a whole lotta body, and in my opinion she works it well. I take issue with people who believe that athletes should be one-dimensional. Being a badass on the court should not diminish your femininity or your ability to put on lip-gloss and heels and pout your lips with the best of them-if that’s what you so choose. When female athletes decide that they would like to portray other sides of them, nobody should have a problem with that. Maybe it can work both ways and we can start making the Kim Kardashians of the world famous for something more than a good pout.
For me personally, what I find most refreshing about this issue is allowing each and every body to be showcased how it truly is, and in turn sending a message that if you want to work hard towards something, work towards what you see here. Pick up any other magazine, and you’ll see models who are 5’10 and weigh 110 pounds soaking wet, and that is supposed to be what a beautiful body looks like. Sure, that might be beauty to some, but it shouldn’t be what we strive for, especially when it’s darn near unattainable. Most people can only be that thin by eating crackers for dinner. What we do as athletes to be at our best on the field, court, or track, is treat our bodies like the temples they are. We eat healthy (most of the time), and we exercise and getting more people to do that would certainly be a good thing for our society. A lot of times the byproduct of that is muscles and for women that is perceived as unfeminine but every picture I saw in this magazine showed women who were feminine while being athletic. That’s a strong message and a realistic one. When I did the SI swimsuit issue last year, I was chosen as an athlete, but by the time they were done with me in Photoshop, I had my muscle mass significantly reduced and an automatic boob job. That was their standard of beauty, not what I brought to the table on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mind the cleavage, but I respect these pictures a lot more.
So if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, I strongly suggest you do. It’s definitely different than what you might expect…and in a good way. The Sumo wrestler is pretty darn impressive… let me tell you. I also am curious as to what others think of it. I want to hear your honest opinions and I welcome your feedback on mine.