From Our Readers
August 28, 2013 6:00 am

ESPN’s 2013 Body Issue was released this month, and it has caused quite a stir in Poland. The magazine featured tennis star, Agnieszka Radwanska posing nude in and around the pool accompanied by multiple tennis balls. ESPN’s body issue has become a regular sight for sports fans, but some people of Poland, specifically the Catholic Church, are not pleased. Radwanska, who is ranked number 4 in the world, has been involved with a Catholic Youth Crusade named Krucjata Mlodych in her native country. The Catholic Church quickly issued a statement in protest of Radwanska’s decision to pose for the magazine.

“It’s a shame that someone who has declared their love for Jesus is now promoting the mentality of men looking at a woman as a thing rather than a child of God worthy of respect and love,”

“If she meets a man who she can truly love and establish a happy family and raise Catholic children, then she would probably have to hide these pictures from relatives,”

Catholic priest Father Marek Dziewicki was the one who spoke out to the Polish media.

Although I myself am not a religious person, I still have respect for it. However, to say that a person who is comfortable in their own skin and promotes healthy living is undeserving of love and respect is totally outrageous!

Radwanska issued her own statement on Friday regarding the controversy,

“For those that are not familiar with the magazine, ESPN The Body Issue is a celebration of the beauty of the bodies of the best athletes in the world. It includes both men and women of all ages and all shapes and sizes. Other athletes photographed include San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, 77-year-old golf legend Gary Player, and Olympic volleyball gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings – during and after her pregnancy. My tennis colleagues Serena Williams, Daniela Hantuchova and Vera Zvonareva have all participated in the past.

The pictures are certainly not meant to cause offense and to brand them as immoral clearly does not take into account the context of the magazine. Moreover, they do not contain any explicit imagery whatsoever. I train extremely hard to keep my body in shape and that’s what the article and the magazine is all about. If you read the interview, it only discusses my job as an athlete and what I have to do physically to be able to participate at the highest level of sport.

It has been suggested by some members of the press (among others) that I was paid for the photo shoot. This is absolutely not the case. Neither I nor any of the other athletes were paid. I agreed to participate to help encourage young people, and especially girls, to exercise, stay in shape and be healthy.”

I have the utmost respect for Radwanska. Not only is she an accomplished athlete, but she is a strong confident woman standing behind her decision. She didn’t apologize for her actions, but instead explained her intentions and what it meant for her! As a person who has struggled with self confidence her whole life, it’s nice to see women who are comfortable in their skin and proud to show it off! Athletes work extremely hard to get where they are. They have to be machines, constantly evolving and dedicating themselves to new heights. Body image is something many people struggle with. We should be promoting healthy living, confidence and loving oneself. We should not be promoting shame onto women for how they dress, which is something that has been a big issue! Everyone deserves to be loved and respected. The human body is beautiful thing. Be proud of who you are! Thank you, Radwanska. You are an inspiration to many people from all over the world.

You can read more from Courtney Massey on her blog.

Feature image via.

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