Huffpost UK Lifestyle

Agnieszka Radwanska Strips Naked For ESPN Magazine Cover: But Is It Empowering Or Debasing? (POLL)

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Agnieszka Radwanska's decision to pose naked on the cover of ESPN Magazine's 'Body Issue' has proved divisive.

After the magazine's publication, the tennis star was dropped by the Polish Catholic Youth Movement for what the organisation described as "immoral behaviour".

But she also been defended. Writing for The Telegraph Alice Arnold commends Radwanska, not only for being treated as an equal with men (who also pose nude in the issue), but for seeing beyond the aesthetic of her body and talking about it functional terms.

Read Radwanska's full interview with ESPN magazine here

But is her decision to pose nude on the cover empowering or debasing? Why do male athletes not come under similar fire for stripping off? And what does nudity have to do with sport?

We put these question to the experts.

agnieszka radwanska

Natasha Devon, body image expert, founder of Body Gossip and HuffPost UK blogger thinks the images are empowering.

"Nudity in itself is not and never has been offensive. The human body is beautiful and we are all naked under our clothes. This idea that a woman who has freely chosen to pose nude and has other means of earning income is being taken advantage of or objectified in some way is completely ludicrous.

"As a professional athlete Radwanska has shown what her amazing body can do and well and truly earned the right to show it off in whatever way she chooses. If people find it difficult to respect a woman simply because she is naked, I'd suggest that the problem lies with them, not the woman in question and they need to readjust their attitude.

"I applaud her. I think it's a brave move."

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Lecturer and HuffPost UK blogger B.J. Epstein, who wrote about the objectification of women during the Olympics, disagrees.

"The issue for me is why the magazine -- and society -- feel the need to keep having naked women on covers. Nudity objectifies and sexualises people when it isn't appropriate.

"A naked cover with Radwanska would have boosted sales considerably. I'm sure than the average reader of ESPN Magazine would be overwhelmingly male. So putting a naked man on there would have had a negative effect on sales.

"But there are lots of other things the magazine could have done, which would have addressed the theme of the issue and been potentially sexier -- having a close-up of a tennis player's bicep or a runner's calf muscle, for example. With a cover like this, the average reader will just be looking at her breasts.

"Radwanska doesn't have to be nude to get the message across. Even if she was wearing her little tennis skirt, you can still appreciate the power of her body, which would suit the theme of the issue.

"She could have been a role model wearing her clothes."

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