The Maroon Tiger, the student newspaper of Morehouse College, today released “The Body Issue,” which features 30 students from Morehouse and Spelman who agreed to pose nude and tell their own stories of overcoming abuse, addiction, depression, and a variety of other issues. “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,” said MT managing editor Jared Loggins. “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 Body Issue” was intended to serve as a self-affirmation tool for the students of all body types in the midst of a society that idolizes a certain physique, and was produced as part of The Maroon Tiger‘s ARTober campaign to re-define and showcase that which we consider art on campus.

“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,” said editor-in-chief Darren Martin. “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.”