The Wednesday Five: Cover Women

In this week’s Wednesday Five: Body-positive statements from the women athletes featured in ESPN’s “The Body” issue; Sports Illustrated honors all 25 players of the U.S. women’s soccer team by giving each their own cover; Viola Davis and Jane Fonda talk about giving a cultural face to women on television; Junot Diaz on men who write about women; and the women steering NASA’s mission to Pluto.


The Body-Positive Statements from Top Women Athletes’s “Body Issue” is out. In it, several women athletes talk simply about their bodies—their love for their own bodies. Writing for The Cut, Susan Rinkunas culled the interviews for body-positive statements and looked for the lessons they can teach us about loving our bodies. She writes, “While some of the women featured have ripped dresses with their muscles and have had their gender questioned, they still have a healthy appreciation of their strength, and can teach us a thing or two about overcoming body issues.” Here are some of our favorite quotes from the women:

Khatuna Lorig, 41, archery:My back muscles are beautiful! Archery has helped sculpt my upper body. I’m in great shape and really happy about that, very satisfied. I put up slow-motion videos that focus on my back and on my shoulders, and when I watch them I think, “Damn, I look good!”

Gabrielle Reece, 45, volleyball (retired):In college I was modeling in New York, and I worked with the most beautiful women in the world. They were so beautiful you could barely look at them. And then I would go back to my team at Florida State, and we were all trying to get as big as we could because we wanted to be as strong as possible. And they seemed more confident and happier. I thought: “Being perfectly beautiful — or what’s defined by the standards of the world as beautiful — doesn’t actually make you happier.”

Natalie Coughlin, 32, swimming: “I’m self-conscious about my arms. It’s really hard to find a dress that’s a size 10 in the lats but a size 4 in the waist. But I want to be as successful as I can; if that means having big arms, I’ll take big arms.”



Cover Women: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team


Speaking of covers! Sports Illustrated, in its “first shoot of its kind,” honored all 25 players of the U.S. women’s soccer team by giving each their own cover! That’s 25 covers. As you know, the team made history by winning its first World Cup title in 16 years. We are especially thrilled to see Christie Rampone on the cover, who at age 40, became the oldest women’s soccer player to ever appear in a World Cup final.



Television as a Vehicle for “Giving a Cultural Face to Older Women”

Recently, Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) and Jane Fonda (Grace and Frankie — see our commentary) sat down with Variety to talk about their process, fighting for roles, and playing complex women in television. They also spoke poignantly about age in Hollywood and as Fonda puts it, using television as a vehicle for “giving a cultural face to older women.”



Junot Diaz on Men Who Write About Women


In this throwback article from 2012 in The Atlantic, we re-read the interview with Junot Diaz—the Pulitzer Prize-winning author—about his most recent book, This Is How You Lose Her. Particularly, Diaz’s thoughts on men who write about women sounded like a call to action. Here’s a snippet:

So how do get away from that? Especially in a collection that delves so deeply into misogyny, and yet also tries to give the female characters dignity?

Each story is always such a particular little animal and it requires its own strategy. I think that much is gained in a self-conscious approach. Much is gained by admitting one’s limitations, by seeking help around those limitations. As a writer, I believe that if I have had any success, it’s because I always turn to my female friends and say, “What do you think about these women characters? What do you think? What could we do with them? What’s going on with this stuff?”

There’s an enormous resource for any male writer—and they’re called women. This is not (expletive) rocket science. There’s so many feminists out there who have created simple little rules, like Alison Bechdel. She has this hilarious movie test about women in movies. It’s a simple three rules. A movie has to have at least 1) two named women in it, 2) who talk to each other, about 3) something besides a man. Do you want to know how many fucking movies don’t pass that test?

Read the full interview in The Atlantic.



The Women Steering NASA’s Mission to Pluto


Here’s another group of women who belong on magazine covers for doing extraordinary things: the women of the New Horizons team—the spacecraft shadowing Pluto (as we speak) in a groundbreaking mission, which is also being called the Pluto “flyby.” NASA shares that these women make up approximately 25 percent of the New Horizons flyby team. Read more about the work they are doing here.

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