Aly Raisman's 'Sports Illustrated' Photo Shoot Has A Powerful Message

by Megan Zander
Image via Instagram/Aly Raisman

Aly Raisman featured in Sports Illustrated “In Her Own Words” photo shoot

Aly Raisman is gracing Sports Illustrated with her presence once again, this time as part of a powerful campaign called In Her Own Words, where models were given an all-female team and complete creative control over their own shoots.

Using her skin as a canvas, Raisman covered herself with empowering phrases and words of her own choosing such as “Every voice matters,” “Trust yourself,” “Fierce,” “Abuse is never okay,” and “Women do not have to be modest to be respected.” The photos are as powerful as they are gorgeous.

Sharing a photo from the shoot on Instagram, Raisman made it clear that she’s not here for anyone who’s out to try and shame her for being at home in her own skin. “Everyone should feel comfortable expressing themselves however makes them happy,” she wrote. “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.”

She’s damn right. Respect for a woman and the right to go about your business without fear of being abused or harassed should be a certainty, whether you’re dressed in a parka or wearing nothing but a pair of pasties.

Raisman’s words and photos are as inspiring as her moves on the balance beam. Her willingness to bear it all proudly and with such confidence is especially powerful given her recent role in the #Metoo movement. Raisman was one of over 100 abuse victims who bravely testified during the sentencing of former USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. Not only did she stand up to Nassar, she took out a full page ad in the Detroit Free Press thanking her fellow survivors for speaking out alongside her. Because of Raisman and the other survivors, Nassar will never be able to harm another girl or woman ever again.

Olympian, feminist, survivor. Raisman’s amazing, and she’s not done yet. She knows young girls are looking to her as an example, and hopes to leave a lasting impression. “I take the responsibility [to be a role model] very seriously,” she told Sports Illustrated. “I am proud to be considered a role model, and I hope that by using my voice, I can help create change for future generations. Everyone deserves to feel safe and heard. We must listen to those that speak up and offer our help.”