1. The recent New York Times' article "Tennis's Top Women Balance Body Image With Ambition" got everyone talking. Many responded angrily lamenting that it was another body shaming incident against tennis player Serena Williams. The journalist who wrote the article, however, said he wanted it to be a "conversation starter".
  2. Below is a Twitter card and some responses from the discussion online:
  3. Users, including the author J.K. Rowling, went on to defend Williams by sharing images of her in dresses and swimsuits.
  4. British Olympian, swimmer Rebecca Adlington broke down in tears during a TV reality show when talking about pressure online that made her feel "very, very insecure". "For me, I was an athlete, I wasn't trying to be a model," Adlington said. Olympic champion Jess Ennis, who held the British national record for the heptathlon in 2012, was called "fat" by a high ranking official of UK Athletics. The same year Brazil's women football team was named "a bit heavy" to win Olympic gold.
  5. American track and field athlete Amanda Bingson, who specialises in the hammer throw, received a lot of media attention after her naked photo shoot for ESPN's Body Image 2015. Bingson shared her photos on social media rejoicing in the opportunity and said "I don't have a six-pack. My legs are a little toned, but they aren't bulging out. I'm just dense. I think it's important to show that athletes come in all shapes and sizes."
  6. She also shared a message from somebody inspired by her photo:
  7. A recent survey by BT Sport website revealed that 80 per cent of female athletes "feel pressure to look a certain way". More than 60 per cent said that media is "a major cause of the problem".
  8. For some the pressure might lead to eating disorders and even serious mental health issues. Below is a story of roller derby player Micki Krimmel who admitted dieting just for game photos and not performance:
  9. I originally shared this at @superfithero --
This is what I look like playing roller derby. For the last two seasons, I spent a lot of time and energy fretting over my diet. Leading into games, I would cut out all flour, sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Part of it was about performance but if I'm honest, a good part of it was about the game photos. I always wanted to look thinner and fitter than the photos from our last game. This Sunday, I played without makeup and this photo is the result. I haven't been dieting this season. I'm watching what I eat based on what I know makes me feel good (I still avoid drinking for that reason) but nothing is off limits. If I'm craving ice cream or pizza, I have ice cream or pizza. This season, I'm committed to spending my energy on improving my performance instead of my appearance. My stomach is not perfectly flat but my core is strong. I can take a hit and keep my balance. My thighs have cellulite but they are strong. I can push through any wall of blockers. I am a 37 year old athlete and this is what I look like playing roller derby. Photo by Tristan King.
    I originally shared this at @superfithero -- This is what I look like playing roller derby. For the last two seasons, I spent a lot of time and energy fretting over my diet. Leading into games, I would cut out all flour, sugar, processed foods and alcohol. Part of it was about performance but if I'm honest, a good part of it was about the game photos. I always wanted to look thinner and fitter than the photos from our last game. This Sunday, I played without makeup and this photo is the result. I haven't been dieting this season. I'm watching what I eat based on what I know makes me feel good (I still avoid drinking for that reason) but nothing is off limits. If I'm craving ice cream or pizza, I have ice cream or pizza. This season, I'm committed to spending my energy on improving my performance instead of my appearance. My stomach is not perfectly flat but my core is strong. I can take a hit and keep my balance. My thighs have cellulite but they are strong. I can push through any wall of blockers. I am a 37 year old athlete and this is what I look like playing roller derby. Photo by Tristan King.
  10. Body insecurities prevail not only amongst female athletes but their male counterparts as well. In the video below professional athletes tell their stories:
  11. "Strong is the new skinny" is another inspirational motto circling social media. But some women's health experts claim that the phrase is not that positive as it still centers on appearance rather than achievements.
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