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Antarctica…or Bust?

By Kierstin Brown

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(Sports Illustrated / photo)

(Sports Illustrated / photo)

By Kierstin Brown and Bethany Laskin | Media Editor,  Staff Writer

February 28, 2013

There is no need for bikinis in Antarctica.

At least that’s what we thought when we saw this year’s cover of Sport’s Illustrated’s “Swimsuit Edition.”

Global warming may have caused the South Pole to heat up, but we don’t think it’s warmed up quite enough for Kate Upton to don only a tiny bikini bottom paired with an unzipped, furry jacket.

Many are scornful of the showcased sexualization of women in this particular issue, and with good reason.

The revealing photos of women are inappropriate and borderline raunchy. (ahem, Bodypaint…?)
The glamour and glorification that it showers upon these models promotes a shallow and unrealistic view of the female body, and the men who see it adopt those expectations.

However, one of the biggest problems that the Swimsuit Edition of SI raises is the matter of a respected publication being willing to print these pictures.

Sports Illustrated is the Time of the sports world, and we don’t think you would ever expect to see a “Politicians Gone Wild” issue of Time or Newsweek.

Revealing pictures should be left where they belong; in Maxim, Playboy, and GQ, not in SI.

A national magazine boasting large circulation numbers, Sports Illustrated has wide reach and influence. It should be using its power to promote female athletes, rather than exploiting them.

It was less than 50 years ago that Title IX went into effect, giving women equal opportunity to compete in sports. Yet SI’s swimsuit edition is a huge step backward for female athletes.

Someone in SI marketing realized this discrepancy years ago, and an athlete section of photos was added to make it more “relevant” and, perhaps, to justify putting non-athlete models in the edition. But maybe, just maybe, these women would prefer to make the cover because of their outstanding performance in an athletic competition and proudly wearing their team uniform.

SI’s annual swimsuit edition has become some sort of distorted celebration of women’s bodies. It is skewed in the sense that it puts on display only one body type, which both misrepresents women and gives an unrealistic and superficial female image.

We got to wondering, what if the edition went away completely and instead was replaced with a tribute to the powerful and courageous women in the sports world? That step may not change how the world views women, but it would be a step in the right direction.

There was no need for bikinis in Antarctica. But Upton’s SI shoot this year defied that rule.
There are no sports in Antarctica. But if a couple of penguins were to get together and bobsled,  we hope SI can live up to its namesake and cover the team with as much zeal as their Swimsuit Edition.

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Antarctica…or Bust?