The students of Morehouse College did something bold this week by releasing their first-ever “Body Issue”. Modeled after ESPN’s “Body Issue”, the student newspaper The Maroon Tiger takes a more analytical approach to examining the human body. The newspaper features nude images from 30 Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta University students that agreed to share their personal stories of mental illness, addiction, and abuse. The goal of the project was to showcase self-affirmation versus sexiness.
“Initially, we wanted to make this issue a socially conscious version of ESPNs Body Edition. This edition, with the tagline, ‘The Bodies We Want,’ is not indicative of the reality that we as students — or, broadly, Americans — face,” Editor-in-Chief Darren Martin told HBCU Digest. “Then the MT team started to research a narrower topic — body politics on college campuses and the mental/physical effects on students who struggle to change or hide themselves behind a veil in order to ‘fit in.’ This edition does not only focus on the physical body, but mind and soul as well. We wanted our peers to be able to liberate themselves through the technique of a narrative and, in return, inspire and liberate others because of their transparency.”
Their goal was not to mimic ESPN, Martin said, but rather to ascend the stereotypical body-gawking issues by analyzing sociopolitical ideologies.
“I remember following the release of ESPN’s Body Issue and thinking to myself how distorted a presentation it was to showcase these ideal images,” managing editor Jared Logginstold HBCU Digest. “Frankly, I think the edition missed the mark. Here we are, living in a diverse country. The vast majority of Americans don’t look like that (not that having the perfect physique is a bad thing). The Maroon Tiger Staff wanted to created something of a socially conscious and radically different response to ESPN. And that’s what got the ball rolling.”
The digital version of the issue can be viewed here.