ESPN's 'Body Issue' -- Is it sexualizing women?

Sue Bird - Brian Ach/Getty Images

ESPN's Body Issue has been described as women portrayed as sexual objects, but I disagree. I see it as an artistic expression of how far women have come. There was a time when women were only revered physically if they resembled Barbie dolls. The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, at one time, was all about fashion models. Physically, women were supposed to be inferior to men and women who had any sort of muscle definition or athleticism were seen as something to make fun of.

Many believe that the WNBA should focus more on family. There's concern about how mom and dad will explain to their children why their favorite sports' hero is naked? Perhaps the parents could point out how strong these women are, how high they can jump, or other athletic qualities that these images are portraying. To me, these images are not about sex; they are about women who are proud of their bodies because they have worked so hard to get to this level. They didn’t starve themselves or have plastic surgery done. I haven't heard any reports of bulimia or anorexia in the WNBA. These women have spent countless hours in the gym, and learning about nutrition, and how to get the most out of what they have.

If people are going to view WNBA players as sex objects, then we have no control over that. We DO, however, have control over how we view them and what we tell our children. This is an opportunity for everyone to see women in a positive light. Women can be strong, athletic and beautiful! And this is what these images say to me. We’ve come a long way and if people are unable to see that then someone should tell them.