There are so many words to describe the photos of a nude Hope Solo in the highly anticipated ESPN Body Issue. Sexy, I'm happy to say, is not one of them. This is not a fit of jealous pique. There's no denying the soccer star and current Dancing With the Stars contestant is beautiful.
But the goalie's decision to grace both the cover and some inside pages of the 2011 version of the body issue wasn't about selling sex. And she doesn't.
Instead she's done just as I hoped when I first heard Solo was stripping down -- she's lived up to the reputation that earned her "girl crush" status in my house big time. Solo is selling a healthy form of beauty in the body issue, a real one that we can relate to, that we'd like our daughters to buy. Her cover photo is ripe with rippling muscles. An actual bulge of skin appears just below her shoulder! When is the last time you saw anything resembling a bulge in a fashion magazine where bodies lack anything that may be misconstrued as fat? I can practically hear Anna Wintour's pearls clanking as she clutches them to her chest.
The thing is, you would see a big ol' bulge if you were to slow down a video of a runner and look at the way the skin and muscle move. That's how bodies work. Even skinny ones.
And what about Solo's tummy skin? It's puckered and creased! There are more nooks and crannies than an English muffin! It's perfectly imperfect in its reality. That's what a stomach looks like when you move. Not all smooth and taut like a fashion mag shot Photoshopped within an inch of its life!
For the people blathering on today about her hawtness and hoping to get a look at what's hidden behind her arms, you're missing the point. As Hope told ESPN during shooting:
I don't take it serious being a sex symbol at all. I'm an athlete, that's what I am.
When I heard that, like the heart of the Grinch, my girl crush on Hope Solo grew three sizes. If she can use being a sex symbol to make nudity so wholly unsexy, to force people to examine the female form for all its parts instead of just THE TWINS, she may be the most beautiful woman on the planet ... on the inside.
And yes, the outside too.
Check her out talking about how "liberating" the naked photo shoot was. Do you think Hope looks sexy on the cover? Or is it more a real beauty?