ESPN Body

July 12th UPDATE: The mag comes out tomorrow but a few of the pics have leaked already.

In this order: Megan Hodge, Stacy Sykora. Destinee Hooker, Alisha Glass and Nellie Spicer.

The only 2 players whose images we have not seen are of Heather Bown and Cynthia Barboza. Can someone leak share and send them to us?

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Before anything else…

Let’s not forget Kim Glass as the first indoor player (as far as we know and correct us if we’re wrong) to pose for ESPN’s Body Issue a couple of years ago.

Remember this?

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Now, ESPN decided to feature the USA Women’s Volleyball Team for their 2012 issue which hits newsstands this Friday.

The featured players are Nellie Spicer, Heather Bown, Cynthia Barboza, Destinee Hooker, Alisha Glass, Megan Hodge and Stacy Sykora.

This is the pic which has caused an uproar from USAV fans when they posted the link of this image:

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“I was a little nervous about doing the shoot, but looking back, I’m glad I did it. I thought it was a cool, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the world the work we put in every day.” -Megan Hodge.

“My fiancé wanted to be at the shoot because he thought other men … were going to be there. He doesn’t like the thought of others seeing me nude, but it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.” -Destinee Hooker.

Here comes Team Disappointed.

Let’s start with this one by ThePeanutsGang.com:

Nudity doesn’t somehow equal empowerment.

At first glance, a photographer (and even lay persons) may agree that the photograph is “tastefully” done. But these aren’t supermodels. These aren’t high paid actresses. They are members of the U.S. Women’s Volleyball Team. They have been chosen for their athletic ability to represent the United States in the Olympic games. They are powerful, strong, athletic women.

And yet, in one photograph, in one magazine feature, we have stripped them down to the bare natural essence of womanhood by using nudity.

ESPN magazine – geared primarily towards men – has chosen to feature strong women athletes as sex objects – using strategically placed hands, legs, and hair and later silhouettes of their bare bodies to illicit images of ___________. You fill in the blank. I certainly don’t believe it’s to show off how “athletic” they are or how hard they’ve worked.

Wendy of Families in the Loop said something in her Facebook post that also struck me, “What a bummer that the women agreed to it.”

And as I thought more about this, I wondered the same. After reading the article, I was further troubled.

“I was a little nervous about doing the shoot, but looking back, I’m glad I did it,” said team member Megan Hodge. “I thought it was a cool, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to show the world the work we put in every day.”

Really? You thought that showing yourself in a nude state shows the world the work you put into training and playing every day? I somehow don’t see the connection. If you mean to show off your killer abs or rock-hard thighs, surely there are other outfits that would accentuate all that “hard work” without wearing nothing. I also don’t think this sends the right message to the rest of the world either.

Another team member had this to say:

“My fiancé wanted to be at the shoot because he thought other men … were going to be there,” said Destinee Hooker. “He doesn’t like the thought of others seeing me nude, but it’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Kudos to that fiancé for somehow thinking something was a bit off, but I wonder why his concern simply stopped at a photo shoot. Obviously, his future wife would be featured in a nationally-known and read magazine and it would be more than a few male photographers who would see her this way.

I’m all for empowering women, but I just don’t see how this does it. This issue isn’t about shaming sexuality and the controversy really doesn’t lie there. It’s about taking women, who have bucked the trend by becoming professional athletes, and reinforcing the ill-conceived notion that women are nothing more than sex objects.

I don’t care to hear the argument about “selling magazines” either. Regardless of ESPN’s motivations, I truly wish these women would have stood up and felt empowered to say no regardless of the consequences.”

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Followed by this…

“Are they really hurting THAT much for publicity?”

A concerned mom wrote this comment:

“I have to say that I am disappointed. While I can appreciate the blood, sweat, & tears that go into being an Olympic athlete, I can certainly think of other ways to demonstrate or show off their athletic bodies. My 12 year old daughter plays volleyball at a competitive level and looks up to many of these athletes. Posing nude does not send a good message to the young girls that look up to these athletes.”

Then this one:

“This is wrong. Volleyball already exploits women for their bodies through beach volleyball. It cheapens their role as athletes and simply makes them sex symbols. They deserve better than that.”

A father of 2 wrote in disbelief:

“Very disappointed to see this. My 10 and 13-year old daughters play in USAV events and admire these women. There are hundreds of other ways to ‘celebrate the human form’. This is more about selling magazines and advertising for ESPN than it is anything else, end of story. Anyone affiliated with USAV should be disappointed and ashamed of the organization and the team. I know I am.

And from an extremely disappointed supporter:

“Why does a female athlete have to appear nude to get main stream media coverage?! Female athletes are athletes, not strippers. I’m disappointed, USA Volleyball.”

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While it appears Team Disappointed has more members, Team It’s Okay has these words to share:

“The fact the the US Women’s Volleyball Team had to get nude to be on the cover bothers me but the fact that they chose them to be on the cover is hopeful about “coverage” of volleyball as a sport. More volleyball and less of the unending coverage of sports that aren’t as popular. And it was the indoor team, too! Go USA!”

“So are you all complaining about the athletes, including men, who have also posed for this issue? Our just the female athletes? How many of you offended have never heard of the body issue prior to this post by USAV?”

This lady should be the captain of the ship:

“These top-notch athletes are not posing in an inappropriate way at all. If you’re worried about what your child may think, explain to them that these women are grown adults who make decisions for themselves. I’m sure it took an enormous amount of courage and consideration for these women to participate in this shoot. Don’t overreact to and condemn something that shows SO much courage.”

Can we add this too? Hah!

“So, are we celebrating the pervs that watch volleyball for only one reason? Or are we just celebrating the human form at it’s best? I guess it depends on your view of volleyball.”

This one too…

“insecure people,,those people who can’t play volleyball and will never get to achieved these bodies will always have something to say against them,,but for me,,i get inspired seeing this and to continue playing to be as sexy as them..period”

Finally, someone took time to educate us about the mag:

“Fyi to the uninformed, the women are not on the cover. There are six special covers featuring one of the following athletes: Rob Gronkowski, Tyson Chandler, Daniela Hantuchova, Jose Bautista, Ronda Rousey & Candace Parker.”

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In Europe, several players have posed either naked or with less clothing for mainstream magazine covers. Francesca Piccinini posed for Playboy Italia while Milena Sadurek-Radecka and Anna Baranska-Werblinska strut their naked bodies on Playboy Polska. Other athletes like French middle blocker Victoria Ravva and her RC Cannes teammates posed for a sexy calendar, Kim Glass on Sports Illustrated last year, Logan Tom for FHM and some Brazilian players like Jaqueline and Mari Paraiba have also had sexy and racy pictorials.

But then again fans are free to share their views and opinions.

So What Do You Think?

So What Do You Think?

So What Do You Think?

Per Wikipedia:

The Body Issue is an edition of ESPN The Magazine that featured over 30 athletes in nude and semi-nude photographs. It reached newsstands on October 9, 2009. It attempts to rival Sports Illustrated′s Swimsuit Issue. The issue was a response to the decline in advertising spending resulting from the financial crisis of 2007–2010 and late-2000s recession that saw a 24% decline in ad revenues for the first six months of 2009 compared to the same six-month period in 2008.

The 2009 edition had six alternative covers featuring Serena Williams (tennis), Carl Edwards (NASCAR), Adrian Peterson (NFL), Dwight Howard (NBA), Gina Carano (mixed martial arts) and Sarah Reinertsen (triathlons).[3] The Serena Williams edition sold the most copies. The 2009 issue was a financial success, achieving double the normal edition sales, greater sales than any bi-weekly issue in over two years, and 35% more ad sales than comparable issues, which led to plans for extended marketing of the 2010 edition.

The edition included the regular sports coverage. In the bodies section athletes were featured on and off the field. Even a picture during a knee surgery was included. The “Bodies We Want” section was a feature of the best bodies in the world of sports all posed nude but with strategic coverage of private parts.[5] Another section showed the damage done to the human body in athletics such as Laird Hamilton’s cracked heel and Torry Holt’s crooked middle finger. One action photo captured six members of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United simulating a free kick defensive wall while covering their genitalia.

(source: people.com/ quotes: USA Volleyball Facebook Page. images: People.com/ ESPN.com)

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22 Comments

  1. Manny says:

    Love it…

  2. fabio says:

    I loved it.. really cool, and the ladies looks amazing, wonderful photos.

  3. koki_motok says:

    they need to make a buzz since most Americans are clueless on the pride these girl had brought to them. underrated athletes with great talent..

  4. francis lucero says:

    they say arts is what people need to lift their spirits. these young ladies posed nude not because of flaunting their athletic bodies. they don’t have any sexual intentions to seduce perverts and or elevating sexual fantasies.

    i’d like to commend these ladies for the creative promotion of volleyball!

    yes, there might be other ways to flaunt the fruits of their long hours of training, and this is one of them – posing artfully before a respected photographer! much more, beach volley ladies are not exploited either. they wear sports bra and panties. why not? are athletes from swimming, gymnastics and even runners are also wearing skimpy suits! is this also called exploitation? please, do not be so puritan to not think before you make comments! it’s not giving everybody a healthy environment.

    take a closer look at the purpose of the photos, widen your understanding and express intelligently to criticize constructively!

    this is just “art for art’s sake!!!”

  5. Samantha says:

    Loved the depth of your post and showing both sides. I am glad to see that we can have a good discussion about something like this!

  6. David says:

    Just one more shining example of how American morals have gone down the tubes. What will these women do in the future when one of their son’s come home from school crying after they have been mentally and physically tortured over these photos?

  7. Ultraviolet says:

    I want something similar of the men’s team too. Please!. Can you imagine David Lee and Matthew Anderson in pics like these?. It would be a dream come true. LOL!.

  8. mman says:

    dude, no need to repeat stuff which have been taught to u ? ok, if u believe naked butts lift your spirit, then continue.. :)

    athletes do have to wear skimpy suits when swimming running etc neverthless they don’t need to be nude when posing..

    again, if u believe such racy photos promote volleyball then continue believing.. yet many people who just see players on court, will see women after watching these artistic (!) work of USA-Team ladies (!).

  9. Manny says:

    everyone is freaking out over these pics..yes okay they are nude..but they are not showing anything…so do not understand the big deal..they are grown woman and do what they think is right…if you like it then ok..if u don’t like it then just don’t get the magazine or don’t watch their games…nobody has killed nobody and no actual female parts are being showed…

  10. Tiffany says:

    I think they are beautifully done. So empowering. A nude body is nothing to be ashamed of and should be embraced should the opportunity present itself. Good for these women for doing something outside the box. Kudos to you girls. Love them!

  11. Jay says:

    I think the photos are wonderfully done!
    Great job on both sides, the photographers and esp. the players…

  12. Robert says:

    The women are beautiful. And their bodies (and the pictures) are works of art.
    I am not a prude. And American anxiety over human nudity is very sad.
    But this has nothing to do with sports. This is NOT about empowerment. This is pure and simple exploitation.
    It is sad that men are still able to convince women that allowing themselves to objectified and used, is “empowering”.

    • rick says:

      robert you are 100% correct. My wife played volleyball in college and was in volleyball comercial and could have posed in these types of photos, however this does not need to be and it does not promote participation in the sport maybe viewership. I have a son who plays in college and a daughter who wants to and this is not the image she is aspiring to. This is exploitation. and yes there was a limit on suite size until this last olympic because of respect to other religions otherwise the suites would be as small as possible for the viewers. The men can play just fine in board shorts and they are not in speedo’s because we don’t objectify men like we do women. I hope my daughter has more sense to know a line of bull when she hears it. “Empower” my naked butt.

  13. Twist says:

    Overall, it was tastefully done under the context of healthy bodies. Parents can tell their girls especially that grossly skinny (done on purpose not natural skinny) is not the cool thing to do any more.

  14. Paula says:

    These Women are the “David” of Volleyball!

  15. Tim says:

    Uhm i love how they only talk about the girls who posed like this when in fact it is a segment they did on athletes in general haha they had alot of guys pose the same way. The article is about how athletic their bodies are

  16. lechindem derick says:

    i love to see this.can u shoot more of this coz it shows us how well built volleyball makes them to be.and let their husbands feel nothing about it coz we see but dont touch

  17. Bill says:

    These women are simply amazing. Tall, beautiful, strong and sexy. They remind me of what women on Mt Olympus must look like.

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