Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Do I trust Jessica Mendoza?

I just read about the forthcoming issue of ESPN, The Magazine which is being called the "Body Issue." (Isn't every issue of a magazine that covers sports exclusively always a body issue given that they are talking about and photographing bodies?)
The USA Today article makes it seem like a good excuse to get some athletes nearly naked. (Or at least that was my interpretation.) So I was really surprised to see that Mendoza, current president of the Women's Sports Foundations, was featured with some of her team USA colleagues. Plus I also knew that given the date of the magazine, Mendoza was likely pregnant during the shoot.
And I was right. I headed to her blog where she wrote briefly about the photo shoot. She presents it a little differently than USA Today.
Then last week I did a photo shoot with teammates Cat Osterman, Natasha Watley and Lauren Lappin for ESPN the magazine’s new “Body Issue”. I am really excited about this because I feel the “bodies” young girls are looking up to are just unrealistic and make you feel so insecure. This issue is using male and female athletes of all shapes, races and sizes in such a beautiful way, even with me and my 9 month pregnant body! Not too many magazines that are trying to show off the body would choose a pregnant body, but that is why I feel confident this issue with all us athletes is going to be different from the norm and good for our youth to see how many successful, different bodies there are out there.

She seems convinced that the shoot is a good thing. She does not mention what she and her teammates were wearing during the shoot. A feature of a female surfer from Australia apparently has her in just some bikini bottoms.
It will be interesting to see how the men versus the women are posed and presented. I don't think the presence of nearly nude men negates the sexualization of female athletes that could potentially be going on. And I am curious about just how diverse these bodies really are. The presence of a pregnant body is not really groundbreaking nor is it non-normative these days--Demi Moore took care of that years and years ago. Also a female athlete's pregnant body also helps reassure those wary of the masculinizing effects of athletics on women.
I was pleased to see that openly gay athlete Lauren Lappin has been included in the shoot. I wonder just how many athletes of color are in the shoot, though and whether the bodies of differently-abled athletes were included. Looks like I might be buying my first issue of the magazine next week.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

as far as 'out' athletes go, natasha kai is also featured.