ESPN Body Issue 2012: Ronda Rousey's Take on Her Body Is Great for Women

Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIJuly 12, 2012

Photo courtesy of ESPN Magazine
Photo courtesy of ESPN Magazine

Ronda Rousey is an MMA champion, but she played the role of model for the 2012 issue of ESPN The Magazine's annual body issue.

The Strikeforce bantamweight champion spent some time with the magazine's camera crew to take some pictures in which she was scantily clad.

Although it may seem like she posed for the photos au naturale for some easy publicity, the California native has a different opinion on the pictures.

In an interview with ESPN, she described the photographs as "art," specifying that "it's not about showing people naked; it's about showing the limits of the human body."

Athletes are vehemently grilled for every last thing they do. What would have happened if this photo shoot wasn't done for ESPN, but rather Playboy? We don't know if Rousey would have been a part of it, but we do know that she has some pretty serious opinions on the female human body.

Women don't have to trade their femininity for athleticism. I can be a fighter and be tough yet still retain my femininity. I want people to know you don't have to look like an anorexic 8-year-old to be a beautiful woman. Skinny girls look good in clothes, but fit chicks look good naked.

There's an epidemic going around amongst the young women of today's world. That epidemic is the need to be skinny. It comes from the pressure that famous models—as well as peers—put on young ladies to lose weight and maintain a bony physique.

But Rousey, too, had troubles regarding her body in the past, which she discussed with ESPN:

I went through high school with complete self-loathing. I would try to lose weight to make my body look a certain way. But you can't make your body one way to make yourself happy. Get happy first then worry about your body.

Hopefully that statement does not fall on deaf ears. 

The best role models for young women are female athletes. Rousey isn't a mainstream athlete just yet, but her comments bode well for women, young and old, all over the world.

If girls that look up to her can realize that it's not all about how you look, but rather how you feel about yourself, fewer young ladies would have to deal with issues like anorexia and bulimia.

Rousey dominates a sport that's supposed to be specifically for men. A bruising, barbaric competition where competitors literally try to smash each others' brains in.

But Rousey is shattering the boundaries of the sport, and has risen to become one of the most famous female fighters today.