These All-Size And Age Sports Illustrated Models Prove Body Positivity Is The Most Rewarding Challenge

Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue is usually filled with an array of standard-issue beauties (voluptuous but more or less sample-sized, and primarily in their 20s). This year’s release is punctuated by a first — the oldest model to appear in the popular issue’s pages, ever. 

Gifs: Inside Edition

I think there’s a pressure for women to reveal themselves in a very specific way. For example, when I wrote my first book, I talked a little about body image issues, but not my own eating disorder, because I wasn’t ready to talk about it. There was so much pressure because if you’re going to talk about yourself, you have to tell everything, in the way that we want to hear it—you have to be the “good” feminist, you have to have the “good” abortion, you have to have the “good” sexual assault—these stories that are assigned to women in a very specific way. I think women talking about imperfections or talking about things in a different way, or not revealing everything, is way more important. Women don’t want to be forced to talk about anything.

I think the idea of being perfect is so “damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” because if you say everything, then it’s not right and people say they don’t believe you, but if you don’t want to talk about it, then….


Abby Wambach for the ESPN Body Issue.

I love these photos. I love these photos because it’s the first time I can think of when I haven’t had to see a female athlete be overly sexualized and objectified. She’s naked, yes that’s the point of the issue (and the men are just as nude), but she's powerful. She’s athletic and strong in both of these photos.

They just make me happy, okay?

“Every day is a challenge,” she adds. “Even though at the 2012 Olympics we were so happy to win the gold medal, every day is not like that. I think people don’t understand that; people don’t see that side of the sport – the frustration, how much it takes a toll on your body, and mentally as well.” - Ali Krieger


USA women’s hockey player, Hilary Knight, for ESPN Magazine’s 2014 Body Issue.

Having seen these photos, I must say something. It’ll only take a minute or two, I promise.

Yes, Hilary Knight is generally regarded as hot, attractive, all of the above. And I agree with those who think that. These images are INCREDIBLE, but please remember that the purpose of the Body Issue is to focus on and celebrate the beauty and different forms of athletes’ bodies, not exclusively to fantasize about their naked and exposed bodies. I’m not at all trying to tell you what and what not to do, but I am asking you to be respectful about these images. I’d really appreciate it.

By doing so, you are also respecting the tremendous amount of effort and dedication Hilary Knight has put into sculpting the body she has without characterizing the process and/or result in an inconsiderate manner, as well as the fact that STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL.

Male or female, a mindset and body such as Hilary Knight’s should be appreciated and praised for THE RIGHT REASONS.

Thanks for hearing me out.