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I’m a big fan of sports. I’m an even bigger fan of girls and women’s sports. I love the values girls learn through sports.  See, sports = good.

Here’s what I loathe.

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THIS magazine as my greeting at the mailbox yesterday and posing under the guise of “sports”.

Once a year, Sports Illustrated reminds me how completely sexist our world still is and how slow we are to make progress.

I’M SO OVER IT.

I have heard every guy’s lame excuse as to why this annual issue is acceptable. I’ve even heard fellow women say it’s no big deal and how empowering it is to celebrate the beautiful female body. Nonsense!  Objectifying a woman’s body is not empowerment, it’s enslavement!

I think there are far better ways to celebrate a women’s body. You want to see strong and sexy? Show us a woman firefighter, female soldier, or policewoman.  These images reflect capable bodies and fierce bravery.

Show us the “sexy” brain of a woman engineer or scientist.  You know, where women are reflected as intelligent beings who bring the qualities of teamwork, innovation, and ambition to the table.

Guys, these Sports Illustrated photos and the half-naked women (and in some cases completely naked women) should concern you. These females are not objects for your sexual pleasure.  These women are someone’s daughter, sister, granddaughter, wife, and future mother. Here’s how I want you to see these women and then tell me if it’s sexy:

As viewed through the eyes of an angry 40 something mom who hopes to break the cycle with her own two sons.

Well looky here. Here’s a fabulous example of how women are objectified.

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Yes, let’s pay attention to the photo-shopped body proportions that will send the message to teenage girls that their bodies should be teensy, weensy, perfect hourglasses. Then let’s inundate them with another 220 pages of women posed in ridiculously contorted positions and tell them it’s sexy.

Let’s make certain that we expose our “power” through our breasts. Yes, everyone knows this is how to get a guys’ attention. Take off your tops, ladies. Isn’t it liberating? Wait, what? Why wouldn’t men take me seriously in a boardroom? Why can’t you envision me as a mathematician?

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Hey fellas, any of you dads yet? I wonder what her dad thinks of this.

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I wonder if her dad remembers how he told her how pretty she was and how she learned that pretty is power. I wonder if they talked about books and her brain. Go ahead, guys, keep pumping your little princess with compliments about her looks. I bet her dad did too.

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Wait, you don’t have kids yet? As your eyes gaze over these women, I wonder if you notice the effect it has on your girlfriend or wife.

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I wonder if your wife, sister, mom, or girlfriend feels good about her body since so many images are telling her she is not enough as is.  The message conveyed is that she must be curvier, more voluptuous, and/ or skinnier.   I wonder if you see her face and notice the look of self-disgust she has when she sees her own fat rolls and child-bearing thighs in the mirror.   How come no one celebrates those bodies?   I wonder how many more images she’ll have to bear that will continue planting seeds of an “ideal body” in her brain.

I wonder when our male counterparts will voice their concerns and stand in solidarity with their women.  What if our real message of empowerment meant we value women’s contribution in education, science, business, and so forth.

I wonder when little girls will break free from these chains and when little boys will be taught smart is better than sexy.

You see, I’m rewriting the script for my boys.

Girls, you matter.  You matter because of your brilliant minds, compassionate souls, and ambitious hearts.  You matter because of who you are and not how you look.   You are a leader, innovator, and contributor.  You are strong!

strong-women-strong-girls she knows website

image from http://swsg.org

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