Gymnastics News Network
By: Eileen Patchey
The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is ready to hit the shelves, however many of the images have already been posted online. The issue features Simone Biles and Aly Raisman, both members of the USA 2016 Olympic gymnastics team. Browsing the pictures I noticed a vast difference in the style of each of these women’s photo shoots. They both featured healthy, confident, beautiful, young women expressing themselves. But that’s where the similarities ended for me. I found Simone’s pictures to be more “fitness based” and fun; athletic yet strong, while Aly’s were more “artistic” in nature. So I’m going to say the thing you’re not supposed to say-I personally feel that some of the poses in Aly’s spread are inappropriate.
Before you go on the attack, please hear me out. I am a HUGE Aly Raisman fan, and I actually defend her right to act like the adult woman she is. However, she is a role model for many underage girls and I am honestly conflicted about what the image is that is being put out there for them. On one hand, girls NEED a strong role model who teaches self confidence by example. On the other hand, provocative poses are not necessarily the message they need to get. In my opinion, I believe that it was an artistic decision-a vision for showcasing an athlete at the top of her game, that somehow went askew.
I am not a prude, or against Aly personally. I think what I keep going back to is that some of the pictures were taken in a “gym” setting, which for me is where things get dicey. Without going into detail, the Raisman shoot included partial nudity on mats designed for gymnasts and also shots with balance beams and a springboard. So I will say the second thing you’re not supposed to say-considering the ongoing sexual abuse lawsuits, which include child pornography, I think that releasing some of these pictures is in poor taste. At the very least, maybe they could have been edited or withheld.
Yes, I understand that Simone is 19 and Aly 22 which makes them adults. I understand their eagerness to showcase themselves in a different light other than on a competition floor. I also understand that Sports Illustrated is a magazine purchased by adults for adults, but do you really think that in today’s society where everyone has access to everything via the internet, that they’re not going to come across these images? Today, the first item in a Google search of Aly Raisman was about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit pictures. I think that speaks for itself.
To me, this is not an “empowering women” issue. It’s not about anyone’s right to choose what’s right for them. It’s merely this writer’s opinion about a photo shoot that could have been more carefully thought out.
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