The Art of the Athlete Exploring Female Empowerment IO Donna

Alice Baton is the picture of modern enlightenment in, “Doppio Gioco,” for the 30th issue of IO Donna Magazine.  Inspired by the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics, the fashion industry has been awash in “body conscious” layouts dedicated to the drive for physical perfection.  However, despite the few fashion-forward depictions, many of the stories tend to perpetuate the stereotypical image of female athletes.  Shots that capture the focus of an athlete obsessed, but fail to portray the underlying passion of a woman following her dream.  Often, what is illustrated is a strength fueled by competitive drive and a need to win – attributes commonly associated with the male population.  So a community that many assume to be a natural extension of the “female-empowerment” movement, often gets relegated to over-generalizations and sloppy characterizations. Throughout history society has always been tempted to categorize strong women as masculine, creating a kind-of “sub-category,” aimed at excluding females from the physical world of sports & competition. If we alienate this group by claiming they lack femininity, it becomes less a statement about the individual and more about society at large. It’s a way to acknowledge the presence of excellence, while still not fully accepting the power of women.  Another injustice in the long fight for our right to thrive.  Hijacking a portion of our community to better serve your own, is in my estimation, the very definition of weak. Women are due the inherent right to explore the boundaries of their physicality, without being “castrated” of their femininity.  And to this end, we as artists, must be responsible for how we portray them. In the spirit of this great awakening, photographer Gianluca Fontana has found the Art in the Athlete.  Bestowing all the natural qualities of sensuality & sophistication, he has captured the “body sculpture” of Baton, while allowing her natural femininity to shine through.  Fighting the norm, these avant-garde images fly in the face of what a female athlete “should” look like – and instead has embraced the idea of mutual existence.  That within this well-defined creature, her “femaleness” can take any form it wants.  That femininity isn’t eradicated by physical strength, but rather enhanced by it.