ESPN may not be my go-to magazine of choice, but this issue made me feel inspired and different about women and sports than ever before. The ESPN Body Issue features the top athletes, both male and female, from all different sports, showcasing their bodies, their strength and what has made them so successful: their talent.
It’s become more than a body positive spread and meant more to me than just seeing different body types displayed in a magazine. It’s about breaking down stereotypes of what women can do, about their strength, about equating beauty standards to a certain body type and pushing the limit further. The idea of wellness is often stigmatized by fitting into a certain size or looking a certain way, but this spread proves that wellness comes in all shapes, sizes, and forms. These women are all extremely active, and they’re not intimidatingly posing with 6 pack abs and no sign of wear and tear–they’re incredibly beautiful and raw and look like the kind of authentic woman I want to be. It’s a beautiful sight that I wish we could see more often. Scroll down below to see tidbits about the women of the ESPN Body Issue.
“I’ve spent a lot of time being insecure about my body, but it’s done so much for me. It’s my tool, my vessel for my job. I’m very grateful for the way that I feel when I play–I feel powerful, I feel fast, I feel unstoppable, and that’s because of my body.”
“The ability to redefine femininity through hard work and high goals in strong women is art and deserve to be shown to the world.”
“I’m so proud of how hard I’ve worked for this body. It’s the most genuine display of my dedication. I hope my feature encourages women everywhere to embrace muscles and strength and to love their bodies.”
“Eight years ago I hated my body as it began to deteriorate and defy me. As my strength, speed and grace slipped away and in turn awkward, uncoordinated movements were left I would have never imagined being in a place–again–where I was proud of that body. I did the shoot as a celebration of just that.”
Elena Delle Donne
“We all have body insecurities, and I wanted to show that as a woman you can be 6′ 5″ and powerful, and that’s beautiful too.”
“I wanted my pictures to show my beautiful side and also add to the definition of a strong woman. A woman life myself, people often say, ‘She’s too tough, she’s too strong,’ and there is no such thing.”