The SI Swimsuit Issue arrived in the mail today. My 7-year-old daughter picked it up and began admiring the pretty bathing suits. I was sorta OK with this/sorta disturbed by this. My wife, rightly, was not pleased. The issue is now in the garbage.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve hated the Swimsuit Issue. Growing up, it was because SI, to me, was for sports, not 90-pound women in bathing suits. Now, as an adult, it’s more than that. Why do I hate the Swimsuit Issue?
Because it’s just not right.
I know it makes a lot of money, and I know it makes men feel happy, and I know … I know … I know. But in the current issue, there’s a section devoted to women athletes in bathing suits. Those pictured are Leryn Franco, a javelin thrower, Bruna Schmitz, a surfer and Kim Glass, a volleyball player. All are extremely pretty and, in their sports, extremely successful. Which begs the question: Why is this the first time I’m hearing about them?
As a colleague mentioned to me earlier today, if SI wants to continue with the Swimsuit Issue, well, whatever. But if you’re gonna make all this money presenting women as objects, how about devoting more of the other issues to women’s sports. I’ve always had this criticism of SI—save for Olympic years, the coverage of women’s athletics is sub-minimal. I know the WNBA sorta sucks (sorry, but it does), but how about some women’s college hoops? Women’s softball? Lax? Field hockey? There are many genuinely dazzling women athletes out there to cover. Yet the magazine—my magazine—primarily turns to women when February comes, and we need a big pair of breasts to bulge from the cover.
I write this because I love SI, and I believe in the product. Again, I understand the Swimsuit Issue, and get the profits outweighing certain fabrics of taste. But where the magazine fails in gender issues isn’t one week—it’s the other 52.
PS: Also, just keeping it real—some of the women in this issue look like they’re 14. Cintia Dicker is probably a nice person. But, well, you be the judge.
PPS: Several years ago, when I was a staffer, I was sent to Colorado to go on a shoot with Molly Sims. I liked Molly; enjoyed her company. But when I saw them place the “chicken cutlet” in her bathing suit to boost her boobs, well, it was sorta like seeing the man behind the Wizard curtain.