Masters of American Studies RSCNJ
July 10, 2014
ESPN the magazine often doesn’t sustain itself as one of my favorite reads. In the intensely objectifying world we live in, they play to the same rules to sell magazines. But the annual body issue has always been a landmark for me. Yes, it does show some ridiculously fit athletes who are at the top of their perspective games, but it also shows real-ness. It shows the existence of stretch marks and tattoos and big legs and wide shoulders and it is so beautiful.
As a large man of color myself I couldn’t help but to feel some existential pride seeing Prince Fielder on the cover. He is a big man, with wide shoulders and a large build, he always has been. People will say some insensitive shit about this but to me, when this hits shelves this week, people will see it. They will see a big man strutting his stuff on the cover of one of the biggest sports magazines ever.
I grew up playing sports as a big kid, always feeling like I had to prove something; That I wasn’t being respected because of my weight. It took some mental fortitude to take the abuses and keep moving. Prince represents one of the best players in his particular craft and while he still faces the stigma, he still consistently proves people wrong.
This issue also says a big “fuck you” to traditional beauty. He’s big and colored and tattooed and, in my eyes, a representative of me and people like me. I truly hope this one magazine cover becomes the start of a new perception in mainstream athleticism and beauty. Be big, be skinny, be different, be who you are and fucking love yourself, you’ve earned it.