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  • Writer's pictureJonny Nelson

The ESPN Body Issue… Where do you stand?

Lately all the big action sports magazines and every other news outlet has been posting about ESPN Magazine’s latest: the Body Issue featuring 30 top professional athletes posing in their element naked. Action sports athletes Jamie Anderson, Coco Ho, Travis and Lyn-z Pastrana, Amy Purdy and Nigel Sylvester appear in the magazine posing and riding naked. This is the 6th year ESPN has run this issue of the magazine to celebrate the athlete’s body no matter the shape or size.

Most herald the ‘tastefully’ shot photos as promoting a healthy, naked and unashamed positive body image. Yet there are others that call the images into question. Everyone knows the Body Issue is about increasing viewers for ESPN magazine, but the question still stands, where is the line?

Where is the line between tasteful art and pornography? Is this celebrating a healthy and positive body image or is it promoting the sexualisation of our culture?

There are arguments from both sides. Adam and Eve were naked and unashamed before sin entered the world (Gen2:25). Most athletes in the first Olympic games in ancient Greece competed completely naked. There is loads of nude art throughout history, many of which are depictions of Biblical scenes. God created our bodies beautifully and we should not be ashamed of them completely naked. Jamie Anderson, a female professional snowboarder featured on the cover of the magazine said, “it was really good practice for me to accept everything about myself and love my body and not judge the little things that we do as women or anyone and just embrace where I’m at.” For her it became about having a healthy body image which is a good and positive thing. Pornography is about creating sexual arousal whereas nude art is not.

Yet we all know its not okay to play frisbee naked in the city park. Jamie Anderson also shared her initial feelings about the nude shoot, “I’ve never done any naked shoots or even bikini shoots so it was new for me to do that… At first I was a little bit terrified.” There is a general understanding that nakedness is meant to be private. Leviticus 18 lays out some crystal clear rules on nakedness. 1 Timothy 2:9 says women should have “respectable apparel, with modesty” (ESV). 1 Corinthians 12:23 talks about how our “unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty.” A naked woman or naked man on the cover of a magazine provokes sexual curiosity and ignites lust. Jesus calls lust the same as adultery in Matthew 5:28, which is sin and wrong.

Clearly there is a difference between a porn magazine like Playboy and ESPN’s Body Issue, but the question still remains; where is the line? Has The Body Issue crossed it? Are we masking our desire for sexual freedom with having a healthy body image or are we hiding in our insecurities by being too legalistic? Will you allow your son or daughter to read ESPN’s magazine? Would you want your son or daughter posing in the magazine? Is it too sexual or is it perfectly healthy? Is it right or wrong? Why?

Where do you stand on this? Comment and share your thoughts…

#bodyissue #ESPN #christian #magazine #morals #jamieanderson #naked #nude #actionsports #travispastrana #Bodyimage #cocoho

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