celebrity

You know what would be ground-breaking? Caitlyn Jenner NOT being nude on a mag cover.

Caitlyn Jenner will be gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated in nothing but her gold medal to celebrate the forty year anniversary of her decathlon win at the 1976 Summer Olympic Games, a source has told Us Weekly.

Sports Illustrated is most well-known for its annual Swimsuit Edition. Famous Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Edition covergirls include stunners such as Heidi Klum, Chrissy Teigen and Beyonce.

Sports Illustrated has copped a lot of criticism for only celebrating slim, tanned and muscular bodies on their covers. In an attempt to embrace diversity (and let’s face it, attract more readers) the magazine chose three covergirls for their 2016 Swimsuit Edition – fashion model Hailey Clauson, boxer Ronda Rousey and plus-size model Ashley Graham. Graham was the first plus-size woman to be chosen for a Sports Illustrated cover.

The 2016 Swimsuit Edition covers. Image via Sports Illustrated.
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"The three covers of Hailey, Ronda and Ashley celebrate the new SI Swimsuit," Sports Illustrated Assistant Managing Editor MJ Day said in the 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2016 Revealed' program. "All three women are beautiful, sexy and strong."

"Beauty is not cookie cutter. Beauty is not ‘one size fits all.’"

"Beauty is all around us and that became especially obvious to me while shooting and editing this year’s issue.”

Sports Illustrated would be making even greater strides in terms of diversity if they feature Caitlyn Jenner on the cover. At 66 years old, not only is she much older than their average covergirl, but she is also a transexual woman. What a wonderful time to be alive that slowly it is becoming more commonplace for transexual people to be not only 'out and proud' but also celebrated.

I think about the all the people for whom the cover might be a beacon of hope. People of all ages, considering transition, who might look at that cover and think "maybe people will be able to love me for who I really am?"

And maybe, just maybe, Jenner's Sports Illustrated cover could be a massive wake-up call to people who refuse to accept transexual people. Maybe they will look at the cover and think 'Wow! Transpeople are brilliant, they are strong and they are beautiful.'

I am thrilled to my very core by the idea that a magazine such as Sports Illustrated, which has a reputation for being macho and sexist, could be so ground-breaking and start some really important conversations in homes around the world.

I have followed Caitlyn Jenner's transition story closely since her 'coming out' appearance on a Diane Sawyer television special. I watch her reality TV series I Am Cait. I realise how special this cover could be for her as a merger of her past and present.

Caitlyn Jenner and her friend Candis Cayne on 'I Am Cait.'
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Jenner told Time Magazine that she used her intense training for the Olympic games as a means of distracting herself from the discomfort she was feeling about her gender identity. When the initial elation of winning the medal subsided, Jenner found herself at a "big dead end."

Posing with her gold medal in her physically female form, Jenner will be saying, this medal is mine and you better believe I earned it, but this is the real me.

My only concern is this, why does she need to be naked to say it?

All adults have the right to pose for and publish whatever images of their body they want to. If posing nude for a magazine makes you feel empowered, good for you. Especially if you have a body type that doesn't fit the media's mould of what is traditionally sexy. Society desperately need more images of the many facets of beauty.

Why do images of sportswomen constantly need to be sexualised? Can't we just celebrate their strength, both physical and mental, instead?

It's a tale as old as time. Male athletes 'need' to be ripped with shiny muscles and a stern expression, while female athletes need to be hot, thin and pout at the camera. It's a shame that Sports Illustrated will be applying this age old stereotype to what could potentially be one of the most ground-breaking magazine covers of all time.

Why does Caitlyn Jenner's Olympic gold medal win need to be sexualised now, 40 years later, just because she identifies as female?

I would much rather see Jenner on the cover of Sports Illustrated in a replica of her Olympic team uniform, fitted to her new shape. A celebration of both her incredible achievement and the revelation of the identity that she concealed for over 60 years. To me, that image would be ground-breaking.

I completely understand that as a cis woman, I can never truly understand the complexities of trans issues, but I do understand what it is like to love being a woman.

If I was born into a male body, it would have been like a prison. The fact that this imprisonment is a reality for so many people breaks my heart. Everyone has the right to feel comfortable in their skin and to not be criticised for it.

It is of course up to Caitlyn Jenner to decide if she does this cover or not and how she wants to be portrayed. It would just be such a pity if the opportunity to make a really bold statement was overshadowed by the sexualisation of yet another female athlete.

Watch Caitlyn Jenner accept Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year Award:

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