Every year ESPN the Magazine tiptoes the line between art and smut by releasing the Body Issue —an issue featuring plenty of nude athletes that draws, in my opinion, undeserved criticism. While uptight parents nationwide cringe, I applaud the Worldwide Leader for its artful depictions of the human body. The line between pornography and art is undeniably thin, and finding a tasteful way to portray naked human beings is no easy task not using a cell phone helps. But I think the mag succeeds in presenting the beautiful aesthetics of an athlete's body without crossing into Playboy territory. And while ESPN and these athletes will be heavily criticized by the PC police, I see nothing wrong with celebrating the healthiness and beauty of an athlete's body. Solo put it better than I ever could in her interview with ESPN during the shoot: "If a sex symbol is now a top female athlete, I think that's pretty amazing, and it shows how far our country has come, from the stick-thin models, from what you see in most magazines," Solo said. I couldn't agree more with Solo. Young women across the nation are constantly told by the magazine industry that they need to be skinny to be sexy. Yet ESPN is flipping that script, showing that true physical beauty is derived from being healthy. I believe that is an incredibly important message, and one of the few positive ones that women are exposed to through magazines.
Sometimes, we need a little reminder that athletes -- like other humans -- come in all shapes and sizes. ESPN's annual Body Issue , which includes profiles of professional athletes discussing their sports and their bodies, shows just that. Bingson has a positive relationship to her body, but that doesn't mean she's never faced hardship. In middle school, I was about Throughout high school, I played around , all the way up to When I got to college, I stayed at about pounds. And now I fluctuate between and
Female athletes are having a major moment. First, the U. Not only are the photos absolutely jaw-dropping, but the athletes' quotes about loving their powerful and muscular bodies-and learning to live with their insecuries because yes, they have them too!
With the help of 20 brave athletes -- including Serena Williams, Adrian Peterson and Dwight Howard -- and an equally elite group of photographers, the debut issue immediately established itself as a cultural force. Since then, BODY has evolved into more than a stunning annual portfolio of images -- it's become a powerful storytelling platform, a trusted forum for athletes to share not only their strengths, but also their vulnerabilities. There have been many milestones along the way: Olympic volleyball icon Kerri Walsh Jennings posing for the issue in while eight months pregnant. Transgender duathlete Chris Mosier sharing his powerful transitioning story with the world in