A Body for Everybody

Date: July 14, 2015

posted by Lee / Comments: No Comments / Tags: , , , , ,

Last week, sporting magazine ESPN released its annual Body Issue. A clever play on words that conjures up, for me at least, images of my own dimply thighs. However, this Body Issue isn’t what’s in your head making you insecure…it’s the exact opposite. A huge number of athletes have posed completely naked, most of them whilst engaging in the sport they love on the pages of this month’s ESPN Magazine and it’s an absolute feast for the eyes. It is a thing of beauty, the human body and there are no finer examples than the ones on ESPN’s recent pages.

What caught my attention about this issue more than issues in other years was their choice of cover model, 25-year-old American Hammer thrower, Amanda Bingson. There is no doubt that she has an incredible body- a powerful body that does incredible things, but regrettably it’s a body we don’t usually get to see much of on magazine covers.

Amanda has a broad frame and describes her body as ‘dense’ but also says in the same breath, ‘I’ll be honest, I like everything about my body.’  Yes! More of that please! This is a young woman who didn’t take up Track and Field until 2009 and now, just 6 years later, she’s poised to head to her second Olympic games. Inspiring? Hell yes.

Another incredible story in the latest issue of ESPN is that of Natalie Coughlin, the only female U.S. Olympian to win 6 medals in one Olympics. Her photo is absolutely stunning; her long, lean frame is captured underwater and completely nude, but her tan lines create the illusion of a swimsuit. I have never been jealous of tan lines before. I want her tan lines.

Coughlin says, ‘I was turning 30 and married going into the 2012 Olympics, so everyone assumed I would retire, have babies and disappear. There are teammates on the male side that don’t get those questions.’ Preach! How interesting to hear the stories of these incredible female athletes who so rarely get to talk about anything other than their sport of choice and their latest competition.

Coughlin goes on to talk about the extreme body issues that young women face in her sport and how, ‘there were times when I wasn’t happy with my body, but I always knew that I was really fit and that it was what allowed me to be successful in the pool.’ These are the kinds of stories I wish I was reading when I was 15 and too shy to go out for the swim team because I didn’t want to be seen in spandex.

This issue of ESPN Magazine is filled with stories of triumph and of heartbreak, but mostly, as the name of the issue would imply, it’s filled with stories and photos of and about bodies- all different kinds of bodies. I urge all you parents to pick up an issue for your pre-teen or teenage child and look at it with them. In a society so saturated with manufactured and unrealistic representations of what we’re all supposed to look like, it’s refreshing to see so many shapes, colours and sizes all in one place and all being celebrated.