In 2015, UFC sensation Ronda Rousey became the superstar we saw everywhere.
In 2016, it seems, we'll see all of her, covered by nothing but bodypaint and perhaps a few flattering touches from a digital airbrush.
Rousey will appear in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit edition wearing only paint next month, if you believe a cryptic, teasing series of posts the magazine itself just put online.
First came this Instagram by swimsuit edition editor MJ Day. It shows a painted booty — and a very noticeable tattoo on the right wrist affiliated with that booty.
A post shared by MJ Day (@mj_day) on Jan 5, 2016 at 8:15am PST
Rousey — as many were quick to point out — has a tattoo on her own wrist that appears identical to this one.
Then Sports Illustrated followed Day's photo with an article on its own website, headlined "Who's that girl? SI Swimsuit 2016 snap may reveal Ronda Rousey in body paint." The post's contents — on top of its mere existence — all but guarantee we'll see a bodypainted Rousey when SI's swimsuit issue hits stands next month.
Rousey, of course, has made her name as a tenacious fighter providing young girls (and boys) with a tremendous role model who refutes hetero-normative gender stereotypes.
Her paint-only appearance in SI's swimsuit issue after appearing in more traditional garb last edition will surely divide the Internet's hot-takers along two predictable lines.
Being objectified like this refutes many of the positive messages Rousey has so far epitomized about achieving tremendous success without pandering to traditional gender norms.
Being featured in a swimsuit issue (sans swimsuit, no less!) sends a powerful message that it's perfectly fine and totally possible to be many things to many people at the same time.
We're not saying either position is right. We're just saying to brace yourselves — the takes are coming.
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