The Beautiful Naked People

posted by MsAkiba, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Sunday, October 11, 2009 at 2:40pm EDT

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NAKED women in SPORTS: ESPN The Body Issue

OH boy here we go again! YES, someone who poses NAKED can still believe in GOD. NO, it doesn't mean she's whoring herself for attention or money (then again if she was, it's her body and she can do whatever she pleases)...I'm all for woman's rights, my dad is a feminist, but geeez they make much ado about nothing, sometimes. So they, the feminists, fought hard to give women equal rights and the freedom to break free from traditional "women" roles, yet when we do, in their opinion go "too far", they are the first to criticize... hmmm.

Hold on for a sec, I have this borderline obsession for USA Soccer player Oguchi Onyewu and his photo in ESPN MAG: The Body Issue has intensified this obsession, DAMNIT. Adrian Peterson,mannnnnn, his body, still speechless...I watched this story on him, he a beautiful young man. OK, so I am "LUSTING"...women lust too. Let's be real! Men are objectified and sexualized in sports, just as women are. It is human nature. Is it wrong? In the eyes of some, yes. But in the eyes of human nature it is 100% natural, to lust that is.

Back to WOMEN ATHLETES, I may offend some, if I do...hey! In 2001 I met future WNBA player Chantelle Anderson; we were both in college at the time, both representing the USA World University team that competed in Beijing. In the training room we discovered we were raised in the same city (San Bernardino) during our early years. Through the Internet we sporadically kept in contact, and interestingly enough, some of her blog followers instructed me to respond to and add my two cents to her blogs. I've read many - they are very entertaining and thought provoking. One blog in particular stands out: In "The choice between sports and sex appeal"  she discusses... hell go read it for yourself: http://chantellesays.yardbarker.com/blog/chantellesays?page=5

Anderson brings up points that were the concerns of critics such as: "sexy photo shoots marginalized everything she did on her respective playing field", "these women are discounting the other qualities that make them great athletes", "women pose in overly sexual ways to compensate for homophobia and the masculine aspects of playing sports". Her response...'nuff said, I don't really need to add my two cents...go read it!

Look! women are gorgeous, women athletes are gorgeous-er (I know that is not a word).  Their complexity, their multi-tasking ability, their swag, their athletic femininity, their intensity, their focus, their strength, their drive, their resilience all wrap up in an amazingly feminine sculpted body. YES it is to be lusted after, and deservingly so. Nearly all women athletes of my generation and before, grew up in a era where it was not yet accepted to be the athletic chick or the tomboy, so we were mocked, made fun of for being different and took that, used that as a tool to became who we are now. The sex thing..., sex is supposed to be a beautiful thing, now has become...not gonna go there. moving on... sexuality- the whole lesbian thing that is sometimes synonymous with women athletes. Look, yes there are lesbian athletes just as there are lesbian lawyers, just as there are gay football players (shhhhh people aren't suppose to know about that one). All softball players are not lesbian, all WNBA players are not lesbian, all field hockey girls are not lesbian and all track girls are not straight. It is only suggested as such because of their competition attire and swagger level ( I will discuss this in a different blog).

Serena Williams' ESPN cover is amazing, Natashia Kai's photo is badass, LoLo jones photo is intriguing, Susan Francia's photo is sexy...all attractive women, of various athletic backgrounds, and extremely different body types, all of which deservingly so, should be featured buck naked! They are going to be lusted after by men regardless of these photos, they will be lusted after by women, they will be lusted and looked on as role models to younger girls whose bodies are different and athletic. They will see that it is OK to look like this, to have that body type, to be athletic and to be woman...cause we didn't have that growing up...

So let's talk about the people who do all the criticizing and the judging...naaaa, let's not! If a woman athlete wants to pose and show her body, let her to so without judgment, or having to explain herself. Face it, women athletes are sex symbols too, embrace it. It doesn't make them immoral, it doesn't cheapen them, they are not selling out or selling themselves...they are simply embracing what long ago was NOT embraced. You don't hear men groups attacking men who pose and show of their "sex muscle" (forgive me, i don't know the correct name of that ab-ish muscle right before your pubic/pelvis area). They get inspired like "damn, how can I get that shit?". So... women who hate on other women's athletic body when they appear in a mag...don't be like "she's immoral and objectifying herself..instead ask yourself, "Self, how can I get booty like Serena?" (OK, perhaps that's too ambitious, but ya get my drift) .. Attacking someone's religious beliefs and morale because they appear nude, or half nude...is just stupid.

Would I have done it? Everyone who knows me knows I am a free spirit...but I am kinda shy...lol

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There is 1 comment on this post. Join the discussion!

madiq says:

As a man, I'm not sure how much weight my opinion holds in the current conversation, but I'm going to offer my perspective anyway.

I don't regularly purchase the ESPN Body Issue, but generally my exposure to the photographs has been positive, in that I have not felt that they have been exploitative or sexualized. Clearly, any celebration of the nude form could be titillating to some (believe me, I was once a pubescent young boy!), but in a culture where fashion magazines promote model proportions and aesthetics that are neither healthy nor functional, it is refreshing to see athletes in peak physical condition, whose bodies are the product of hard work, discipline, and dedication. In my opinion, the culture of manhood has tended to prefer the chiseled body of the athlete over the waifish androgynous body of the model as the ultimate expression of the male form, and I believe that, notwithstanding some men's use of steroids to reach such an ideal, it has been largely beneficial. Similarly, when young girls not only see the sculpted physiques of the Serena Williamses and the Cristiane Cyborgs of the world on display, but see men and boys lusting after them, it allows them to see athletic pursuits not as something that undercuts femininity and physical attractiveness, but as something that reinforces and enhances it.

To be sure, there are problems with a society that values women more for the aesthetics of their bodies than the products of their bodies' toil. And we should never be complacent when it comes to the opportunities for female athletes to be compensated adequately without feeling compelled to exploit their sexuality. However, one of the most important byproducts of feminism is that of female empowerment, and women having an array of choices, all of which are freely and legitimately chosen. The decision to make money from one's beauty is just as legitimate as the decision to eschew such marketing and be valued purely and solely for one's athletic output. The desire to be "the total package" of intelligence, athleticism, style, and sex appeal needn't be derided, nor should the desire to be singularly focused, or define "the total package" however one sees fit. This is the beauty of freedom, a beauty that the ESPN Body Issue is celebrating as well.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 10:17am EST

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