Sports Illustrated is an American sports media franchise owned by Time Inc. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the National Magazine Award for General Excellence twice. Its swimsuit issue, which has been published since 1964, is now an annual publishing event that generates its own television shows, videos and calendars. Its latest cover is competing porn magazines. What all this has to do with sports?
Marissa Payne wrote in Washington Post, ” Hannah Davis isn’t naked on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit Issue, but she almost is. The 24-year-old model and girlfriend of retired New York Yankee Derek Jeter is pictured tugging seductively at her bikini bottom, which is slung so low that a centimeter more would make the shot more suitable for Playboy.But is this really anything new?Sports Illustrated went super low with its bikini bottoms in 2012 when model Kate Upton, girlfriend of Detroit Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, wore bottoms so low they were barely there to begin with.”
Jennifer O’Neill wrote a piece for Yahoo! Parenting calling the cover “a bit of a nightmare.”
Kerry Hubartt,the editor of The News-Sentinel commented on news-sentinel.com on Sunday, May 17, 2015 regarding SI type journalism. we are reproducing the comment with its original LINK.
I’m sorry, but I have had to make myself look the other way when walking past the Barnes & Noble display of the 2015 edition of Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue.
The 24-year-old model on the cover is Hannah Davis, girlfriend of retired New York Yankee Derek Jeter. She is pictured tugging seductively at her bikini bottom, pulling it so low that, as Melissa Payne of The Washington Post put it, “a centimeter more would make the shot more suitable for Playboy.”
The shot, not to mention inside photos of a topless Davis in various poses, has caused several people to question whether Sports Illustrated is crossing the line into pornography.
Aly Weisman wrote about the controversy for businessinsider.com on Feb. 9, saying that while her publication supports Davis as a cover girl, it’s possibly SI’s “most scandalous cover yet.”
Weisman refers to an UsWeekly poll that said 68 percent of readers thought the cover image resembled porn, while 38 percent found it “so hot!”
She also reported that the National Center on Sexual Exploitation “is asking retailers to remove the magazine from public display, particularly the checkout line, and be wrapped like any other pornographic magazine.”
But here’s what a Sports Illustrated representative told ABC News in defending its cover: “After 50 years of swimsuit, what everyone knows is that one person’s risque is another’s sexy.”
I wrote a column about SI’s swimsuit issues in February 1982, when I was The News-Sentinel’s sports editor, in which I asked what all this has to do with sports. And I wrote, “The answer is, nothing. It has to do with selling magazines.”
My column began this way:
“Magazines like Playboy and Penthouse have touted the excellence of their editorial content more and more in recent years. And literary experts insist those publications can’t be ignored in the analysis of good journalism today.
“But, come on, if they take out the pictures of beautiful, unclad women they aren’t going to sell, good writing or not.
“And magazines are in the business of selling. If they don’t, they go out of business.
“It’s just a shame that journalism has to be packaged in perversion to become marketable. The exploitation of women seems contrary to the basic tenets of good journalism.”
And exploitation it is.
Women sell themselves to this kind of display, which is designed to titillate men. Men in society don’t need titillating, they need self-discipline, fidelity to their wives and purity in their hearts and minds, even and especially if they aren’t married, to preserve their chastity for the one they choose to spend their lives with.
Pornography — in whatever form — undermines what’s right with men as well as women. And it’s a shame that we as a society buy into the lie that sex in almost any form in almost any degree and with almost any person is OK.
My column 33 years ago ended with this:
“Skin sells magazines. Ask Hugh Hefner. But it seems paradoxical to the valiant causes good journalists try to uphold when the exploitation of the female body is pandered in the name of good journalism.”