Tuesday, July 8, 2014

ESPN the Magazine - The Body Issue

When I noticed that Prince Fielder was trending on Twitter today, I wondered why. Turns out people were reacting to him being featured in the "body issue" of ESPN the Magazine. There is a "Bodies We Want" gallery of 59 pictures available (this link goes to one of Fielder that I really like). Maybe it's too predictable for a sociologist to say "I like that they included a picture of an athlete who isn't chiseled." I don't care if it is an obvious thing to say. I think it's a cool picture and I like many of the pictures in the gallery (please note I haven't seen the actual magazine yet).

This link goes to a picture of Danyelle Wolf. I keep returning to this picture because I am drawn to the image of power and strength. Honestly, I didn't know who she was until I saw this photo. Now I know she is a welterweight champion boxer and 2016 Olympic hopeful.

Keeping in mind that ESPN is out to sell magazines and get page views, rather than please people who analyze images, my overall first impressions are positive. Here is a link to a picture of Omar Gonzalez--the kind of edgy picture you might expect to draw attention to the magazine. Still, I think it's a pretty cool picture. Again, just first impressions here, and I will have more to say once I obtain the actual magazine, but so far I think the gallery pictures, taken together, celebrate a variety of athletic bodies.

I can't recall ever seeing a male athlete's tan lines in a picture until now. It looks to me like ESPN tried to do something out of the ordinary with this collection of pictures. The pictures of Jamie Anderson will probably get some criticism because she's not presented in any kind of an athletic pose. In contrast, Hillary Knight is shown here in an athletic pose. There are more action shots of the male athletes, something I think warrants criticism. But the overall effect is a display of impressive female and male athletic bodies.

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