Gold-medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman is entirely nude in the 2018 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for a very good reason and her message of empowerment is worth your undivided attention.
As part of the magazine's "In Her Own Words" campaign, the Olympian took it all off and covered herself in special words/phrases ("survivor," "trust yourself" and "abuse is never okay") with black paint. Raisman's artistic stance was prompted by her testifying against her former doctor Larry Nassar, who sexually abused her and more than 260 other women.
"I think everyone goes through really hard times and I've decided to be so honest about what I went through because the tough times are very hard to talk about and they are uncomfortable but they are equally as important into shaping us as the good times," the 23-year-old told the magazine.
Raisman's shoot comes in the midst of the #TimesUp and #MeToo movement, and the Olympian explained that it's time to end the victim-shaming. "I would like to remind everyone that being a survivor is nothing to be ashamed of, and going through a hard time does not define you," she explained. "I hope that we can one day get to a point where everyone realizes that women do not have to be modest to be respected. We are free to draw confidence and happiness in our own way, and it is never for someone else to choose for us or to even judge us for that matter. For me, 'In Her Own Words' serves as a reminder that we are all humans, we are all battling something, and it is OK to not be OK. We are not alone and we need each other."
Women do not have to be modest to be respected-- Live for you! Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy. Women can be intelligent, fierce, sexy, powerful, strong, advocate for change while wearing what makes them feel best. The time where women are taught to be ashamed of their bodies is OVER. The female body is beautiful and we should all be proud of who we are, inside and out. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit @mj_day @darciebaum @ja_neyney @taylorbphoto & the rest of the team.
Photo: Getty Images