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The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue
February 9, 2010 9:21 AM   Subscribe

The 2010 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue (all links may be NSFW) was published today with cover model Brooklyn Decker. 82% of readers agree that the issue is presented in a classy and elegant manner. An intellectual history. The value of the models' autographs. And hegemonic masculinity. (previously)
posted by Joe Beese (90 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
Brooklyn Decker.

That name conjures of images of a club fighter named Nunzio, not a bikini'd hottie.
posted by jonmc at 9:26 AM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


(also, in this day-and-age of hardest-of-hardcore porn being a few clicks away for free, the swimsuit issue seems downright fucking quaint).
posted by jonmc at 9:29 AM on February 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Strippers who keep their knickers on. That's all they are.

I haven't seen that many strippers [it's not my bag, maan] but a large percentage that I have seen... goodness gracious; they are gorgeous, with fantastic bodies to boot.

What's the difference between a swimsuit supermodel and a stripper? Brains and a bit of luck? I can't figure it out.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:33 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


(also, in this day-and-age of hardest-of-hardcore porn being a few clicks away for free....

I don't think that's the angle at all with the SI Swimsuit issue. The hegemony there is more the implicit idea that "these are the most absolutely beautiful women alive on the planet right now drool because they are unobtainable", not so much that there is a surfeit of skin on display. It is quaint, though, but mostly feckless and shallow.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:33 AM on February 9, 2010


Swimsuits in the desert, whatttt?
posted by pianomover at 9:37 AM on February 9, 2010


Jessica Gomes seems cute, but tevs. Why does SI think I need them for cute models in swimsuits? There is absolutely nothing exceptional or unique going on here.

I did smile when I came across the phrase "Minivan Cheesecake" in the intellectual history link though.
posted by Scoo at 9:38 AM on February 9, 2010


The best photography in the swimsuit edition is more often than not in the magazine's advertisements.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:43 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


This week, the Swimsuit Issue and the Super Bowl commercials have empowered my hegemonic penis. A FPP on wage discrepancies will make me unstoppable!
posted by cimbrog at 9:44 AM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why does SI think I need them for cute models in swimsuits?

It's their Christmas season sales booster.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on February 9, 2010


Say what you will about the concept, it dated better than the football phone. Or for that matter, the notion of paying money to have printed stories arrive by mail on a regular basis.
posted by condour75 at 9:45 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


it's a sports rag, for god's sake! They put nearly naked women in it to sell the rag... they use sex to sell a sports rag, they use naked women to sell sports..

Now, where's the "classy" part of this.. I'm missing it....
posted by HuronBob at 9:48 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell: "The best photography in the swimsuit edition is more often than not in the magazine's advertisements."

From the "classy and elegant" link:

86% agreed that the ads in the SI Swimsuit Issue are more entertaining/memorable and attention-getting than ads in issues of other men's magazines.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:48 AM on February 9, 2010


In the hypothetical totally-gender-equal future I'm still going to enjoy pictures of pretty ladies in swimsuits.
posted by Space Coyote at 9:48 AM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why does SI think I need them for cute models in swimsuits?

They don't. They think your dad or maybe grandpa does. They are the "medic alert necklace" of the porn industry.
posted by DU at 9:49 AM on February 9, 2010 [15 favorites]


It's not just old people, but also the computer-illiterate.

(Despite our best efforts, the swimsuit issue gets stolen from my public library every year.)
posted by box at 9:51 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


(That said, don't need to support a sports magazine if I'm after pice of nice looking people.)
posted by Space Coyote at 9:52 AM on February 9, 2010


It's not just old people, but also the computer-illiterate.

Or the computer-so-literate-they-know-they-are-being-watched-and-have-to-get-it-out-of-band. Like kids at home.
posted by DU at 9:53 AM on February 9, 2010


Playboy is usually not within the reach of young boys in more sexually repressed households, so the Swimsuit Issue is as close as you can get. And even then you'll get in trouble for looking at it.

Not that I would know anything about that.
posted by cimbrog at 9:54 AM on February 9, 2010


The swimsuit issue was an idea generated from the fact that post-Super Bowl, there isn't much in terms of sports news going on. Will the swimsuit issue sell better than a regular edition of SI with next week's sports news in it? That's the measure of success.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 9:54 AM on February 9, 2010


It's not just old people, but also the computer-illiterate.

And locker rooms, auto repair shops, barber shops, cigar stores, and other semi-public spaces where full nudity would still be tacitly unacceptable but SI isn't because of the built-up reputation of "classiness".
posted by Burhanistan at 9:55 AM on February 9, 2010


In the Super Bowl ad reality, the beaten-down husband can't get porn and his only way to get some is to get a sports magazine subscription with one racy issue.
posted by smackfu at 9:56 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


82% of readers agree that the issue is presented in a classy and elegant manner.

I suspect there might be some selection bias going on here.
posted by tommasz at 9:56 AM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


There may be porn everywhere these days, but in most households I suspect the guys aren't exactly encouraged to go out and buy it and leave it lying around the house. The SI swimsuit issue, however, just shows up in the mail box once a year whether a guy wants it or not if he buys a good wholesome subscription to SI. It's whacking material for guys who dare not buy whacking material and don't have time to search the woods.
posted by pracowity at 9:57 AM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


Playboy is usually not within the reach of young boys in more sexually repressed households, so the Swimsuit Issue is as close as you can get.

Sexual repression ≠ low availability of pictures of nekkid women. In case anyone was confused.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


also, in this day-and-age of hardest-of-hardcore porn being a few clicks away for free, the swimsuit issue seems downright fucking quaint

but really, that's one of the interesting aspects. why does Sports Illustrated feel the need to fill a need that's already filled? why do readers oversaturated with male-focused erotica continue to want more in the form of very softcore porn? i think it's interesting (although I think DU summarizes well).

regardless of the talk about the "most beautiful women on the planet" (har), the truth is that the swimsuit issue is a soft version of playboy published by sports illustrated.

the book seems interesting. too bad there's not more of it available on google books, but thanks for the link.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:00 AM on February 9, 2010


regardless of the talk about the "most beautiful women on the planet" (har),

Not my type either, mostly, but I'll admit that Cintia Dicker has cute freckles on her nose.
posted by jonmc at 10:04 AM on February 9, 2010


Sexual repression ≠ low availability of pictures of nekkid women. In case anyone was confused.

True. How about "low availability of pictures of nekkid women" ∈ {sexually repressed household}?
posted by cimbrog at 10:06 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


It's still funny to me that something so explicitly aimed to help men masturbate is so widely talked about every year. I chuckle inside.
posted by lattiboy at 10:13 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


that ana ivanovic posing is shockingly bad - they should get ellen von unwerth to do something like this - not some idiot who wraps a tennis net round a model - he was probably really into the scaffolding he built over the set as well - tellin the clients how much weight it could hold as his usp. It baffles me how this guy got paid.
posted by sgt.serenity at 10:14 AM on February 9, 2010


also, in this day-and-age of hardest-of-hardcore porn being a few clicks away for free

Coming soon to AskMe: "I found hardcore porn in the computer's history, should I dump the MF?"
posted by smackfu at 10:16 AM on February 9, 2010


The swimsuit issue was an idea generated from the fact that post-Super Bowl, there isn't much in terms of sports news going on.

That's actually a great point. After the Super Bowl and the NFL championship game that pre-dated it, there's nothing major going on until the Masters golf tournament and baseball spring training. The national, widespread popularity of the March Madness tournament and the start of the NASCAR season are relatively recent phenomenons compared to the swimsuit edition.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:16 AM on February 9, 2010


Cool Papa Bell: "The national, widespread popularity of the March Madness tournament and the start of the NASCAR season are relatively recent phenomenons compared to the swimsuit edition."

So is almost everything else.

The first swimsuit issue was published the exact day - January 20, 1964 - that the first US Beatles record was released.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:22 AM on February 9, 2010


It's whacking material for guys who [...] don't have time to search the woods.

Too funny!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:22 AM on February 9, 2010


The first swimsuit issue was published the exact day - January 20, 1964 - that the first US Beatles record was released.

Clearly Lyndon Johnson's fault.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:24 AM on February 9, 2010


What's the difference between a swimsuit supermodel and a stripper?

The pay and benefits of the former are probably much better than those of the latter, but a job is a job right?

Strippers who keep their knickers on. That's all they are.

Yep, that's all they are. Bunch of whores. They are nothing like serious stage actresses who show a little skin because the role demands it.

Try to imagine - if you can - that these women are actually professionals who work hard and see the SI issue as just another modeling gig. If you want to view it as porn I think that says more about the viewer than the model.

very softcore porn

There you have it. (very) Softcore porn, but porn all the same. Just like you see at the beach.
posted by three blind mice at 10:25 AM on February 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


The SI Swimsuit Edition just a quaint tradition that caught on and hangs around despite its irrelevance. It was probably started more as a bonus reward for their photographers than for their readers.
It's not porn nor is it a porn substitute, at least not for me. Not that I buy it - Ilook forward to flipping through it on the newsstand though.
Sports and scantily clad girls. Guys (most guys, at least) like these things. SI delivers.
posted by rocket88 at 10:26 AM on February 9, 2010


The first swimsuit issue was published the exact day - January 20, 1964 - that the first US Beatles record was released.

Shit, I think he's onto Us.
posted by the Cabal at 10:28 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just like you see at the beach.

Or on airplanes, tennis balls, or surrounded by hijab-clad locals?
posted by Burhanistan at 10:30 AM on February 9, 2010


82% of readers agree that the issue is presented in a cl ass y and e leg ant manner

FTFY
posted by chavenet at 10:30 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


There you have it. (very) Softcore porn, but porn all the same. Just like you see at the beach.

This argument makes no sense.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:33 AM on February 9, 2010


Shit, I'm getting old. Most of the girls have freckles and look like they are 14 and that grosses me out.
posted by mathowie at 10:44 AM on February 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


What's the difference between a swimsuit supermodel and a stripper? Brains and a bit of luck? I can't figure it out.

Twenty dollars, same as in town.
posted by Splunge at 10:44 AM on February 9, 2010


Twenty dollars, same as in town.

Versus $20k/hour.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:46 AM on February 9, 2010


This argument makes no sense.

The beach also has a hamburger stand.
posted by kittyprecious at 10:49 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yep, that's all they are. Bunch of whores. They are nothing like serious stage actresses who show a little skin because the role demands it.

Try to imagine - if you can - that these women are actually professionals who work hard and see the SI issue as just another modeling gig.


Ease up, turbo! You're arguing from the perspective that I think strippers are whores, and are not hard working professionals. Good luck to both set of girls, I wish them well. Good luck to whores, for that matter.

If you want to view it as porn I think that says more about the viewer than the model.

Your reaction says a lot about someone, and that someone ain't me. ;)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 10:52 AM on February 9, 2010


The beach also has a hamburger stand.

I am aware, but I don't think that this sort of thing works in exactly the same way regardless of context. Going to the beach and seeing people in swimsuits isn't a good analogue for the SI issue; a better analogue would be going to the beach and a bunch of 60-year-old guys surround you and point at someone in a swimsuit and go 'Hey look at the tits on that one!'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:53 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Arguing about what the right analogy is never goes well.
posted by smackfu at 10:58 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What's the difference between a swimsuit supermodel and a stripper? Brains and a bit of luck? I can't figure it out.

Why do people speak when they don't know what they are talking about?

Keep your prejudiced ideas to yourself.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:59 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Arguing about what the right analogy is never goes well.

But it's the red herring that everyone finds delicious!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:59 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


As a child growing up with no brothers, I was genuinely puzzled by the swimsuit issue. Why would a magazine completely devoted to (95% at the time) male sports suddenly print pictures of women in swimsuits? Could not see a logical segue at all. Was it about swimming competitions, perhaps? But there were no official-looking swimming pools in the pictures. Took me years to figure it out.
posted by Melismata at 11:00 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


This argument makes no sense.

Don't get to the beach much, do ya? Well let me fill you in. Quite often, but oddly only during the summer months, you will find women on beaches wearing the same clothing seen in this particular issue of SI (albeit not as well.) In many places in Europe, some women don't even bother wearing the top part.

I don't consider this porn - or even very soft porn - but maybe this just me. An attractive woman wearing a bikini is an attractive woman wearing a bikini. Nothing wrong with it.
posted by three blind mice at 11:00 AM on February 9, 2010


shakespeherian: "a better analogue would be going to the beach and a bunch of 60-year-old guys surround you and point at someone in a swimsuit and go 'Hey look at the tits on that one!'"

In fairness, if I was at the beach and saw women like these wearing swimsuits like these, my reaction would probably be pretty dramatic too.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:03 AM on February 9, 2010


Don't get to the beach much, do ya?

I do, actually. My point is that the SI swimsuit issue is pretty blatantly marketed as 'Please ogle these attractive women,' which is different from a beach.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2010


I don't consider this porn - or even very soft porn - but maybe this just me. An attractive woman wearing a bikini is an attractive woman wearing a bikini. Nothing wrong with it.

But many people do indeed find it arousing so therefore it is indeed pornography, regardless of any valuations of the conservativeness of such findings. The word "pornography" doesn't have to have a weird stigma to it and only used when describing borderline snuff.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:04 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I haven't read this year's issue, but lately the Swimsuit Issue has focused less on swimsuits and more on painted-on outfits. Which is quite a bit more porny than it used to be.
posted by graventy at 11:06 AM on February 9, 2010


No offense, Joe Beese, but this is just a lame excuse to post girly pics on MetaFilter.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:09 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Strippers who keep their knickers on. That's all they are.

oh hey let's denigrate women because we disagree with their choices, go go go
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:11 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


But many people do indeed find it arousing so therefore it is indeed pornography, regardless of any valuations of the conservativeness of such findings.

Well I think we agree: it's in the eye of the beholder. Those who wish to see it as porn, please go ahead. Knock yourselves out. Or whatever.

The word "pornography" doesn't have to have a weird stigma to it

Yes, but the word "pornography" DOES have a sitgma attached to it (as does "stripper") and some of the comments about the models seemed to me over the top.

Just give the models a break, that's really all I'm saying.
posted by three blind mice at 11:14 AM on February 9, 2010


No offense, Joe Beese, but this is just a lame excuse to post girly pics on MetaFilter.

What would the offensive version of that be?
posted by smackfu at 11:15 AM on February 9, 2010


What would the offensive version of that be?

No offense, Joe Beese, but this is just a lame excuse to post girly pics on MetaFilter. Jew.
posted by found missing at 11:18 AM on February 9, 2010 [11 favorites]


Not enough rear views.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:20 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Just give the models a break, that's really all I'm saying.

Well, I haven't argued that it's explicitly porn (because I'm not sure how to define 'porn' anyway), but I'd definitely say that if it is porny, I'm aiming any and all stigma/ire squarely at the publishers and not the models.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:23 AM on February 9, 2010


82% of readers agree that the issue is presented in a classy and elegant manner.
I suspect there might be some selection bias going on here.


no shit, really? what tipped you off, that the statistics are all from SI based on a sample of like 200 people, or that they're just blatently lying? (66 million isn't anywhere near 30% of americans)
posted by sexyrobot at 11:26 AM on February 9, 2010


The swimsuit issue is not about porn, or masturbation material, or any of the stuff mentioned in this thread. Before I explain my postiion, I'd like to ask a question:

How many women can count among their early experiences with sexuality or pornography the discovery of their father's copies of Playboy?

The purpose of the swimsuit magazine today is for the women in the house, not the men. Sure the men look at it, but the creative line the magazine can't cross is where the images become pornographic. Men look at the victoria secret catalog too. Men look at the underwear section of the JC Penny catalog. Getting men to take an interest in almost-nude women isn't particularly difficult. Tire companies put out calendars with topless women on it, and it isn't a cultural event. Why is this?

What SI knows that many of you don't is that a significant number of the issue's readers are women. All three editors of the swimsuit issues over the years have been women. For the swimsuit issue to be the success that it is, it has to appeal to women as well as men.

Women will generally not buy porn for the men in their lives. However, many women will buy this, because SI has gone to great lengths to make sure the idealized standard of female beauty depicted therein is just as acceptable to the female S.O.'s of the male readers as to the males themselves. And that's no easy feat. You can object tothe idealized standard as much as you want, but understand that it is an ideal just as accepted by women as much as by men, and it is an ideal promoted and endorsed as much by women as by men.

They're models, not strippers. A stripper makes an overtly explicit sexual display for money. These women are lounging around in bathing suits. Are these photos pornography simply because they elicit in you a sexual response? Even if they are sexual in nature, there is still a difference between something being erotic and something being pornographic.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:40 AM on February 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


They don't. They think your dad or maybe grandpa does. They are the "medic alert necklace" of the porn industry.

I think it's the other way around, actually. When I was 12 or so (can't remember the exact age), before the interwebs, the Swimsuit Issue/Calendar with Elle Macpherson and Kathy Ireland...well...let's just say it sustained me through several long, frustrating years.

I think it's a way of hooking the pre-teen set as much as any other demographic. Most of the time it's a sports magazine, yes - but my 12-year old self will always see Sports Illustrated as my introduction to mainstream sexuality. That held a lot of marketing power. I'm sure things have changed with porn at every turn on the internet, but back then it was an easy and legal way for underage kids to see boobies.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:41 AM on February 9, 2010


KokuRyu: "No offense, Joe Beese, but this is just a lame excuse to post girly pics on MetaFilter."

None taken.

If you click that exclamation point to the right of where it says "3 users marked this as a favorite" near the top of the screen, you can flag this post as "offensive/sexism/racism" - or one of the other choices if they seem more appropriate. That will bring the post to the attention of the moderators. If they agree with you that the post shouldn't be on MetaFilter, they will remove it.

You can also go to MetaTalk and express your criticisms of the post there.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:45 AM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can object to the idealized standard as much as you want, but understand that it is an ideal just as accepted by women as much as by men, and it is an ideal promoted and endorsed as much by women as by men.

Sure, after culture and society pounds it into you that there is a way to be and that women are the playthings of men. Well crap, no joke people who grow up in that culture end up believing it unless they're lucky enough to live in a subset of that culture where it is plainly obvious that the larger culture is problematic or they get debriefed by someone who understands how destructive and unfair the larger culture is.

I'm sure I'm not the only one who sees people struggling against things that make no sense but are pushed by culture. Women with advanced degrees still conforming to the idea that they should be responsible for making all meals and doing all the housework. Women who actually believe internally (after being taught so) that women should submit to their husbands. If the man says do it, you do it. Women who make much more than their partners but still feel obligated to let the partner pay when they go out to dinner, to fulfill what society is telling us. In SuperBowl ads, in every day ads, in presidential basketball games, on television, through music.

>"A Negro woman kitchen helper walked up, according to the students, and told them, "You know you're not supposed to be in here." She later called them "ignorant" and a "disgrace" to their race."

So the discussion of this second story becomes:

"You can object to the place of blacks as much as you want, but understand that blacks' place in our society is just as accepted by many blacks as by many whites, and it is a place promoted and endorsed as much by many blacks as by many whites."

That seem right to you?
posted by cashman at 11:57 AM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pastabagel, you really don't agree with the last link then, do you?

Also, I love how the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit page has the sound turned off by default.*

*My stance on this is intentionally ambiguous.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:59 AM on February 9, 2010


If you click that exclamation point to the right of where it says "3 users marked this as a favorite" near the top of the screen, you can flag this post as "offensive/sexism/racism" - or one of the other choices if they seem more appropriate. That will bring the post to the attention of the moderators. If they agree with you that the post shouldn't be on MetaFilter, they will remove it.

You can also go to MetaTalk and express your criticisms of the post there.


Thanks for pointing this out.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:20 PM on February 9, 2010


I can't tell if you guys are really really polite or absolutely hate each other.


yes i can
posted by shakespeherian at 12:23 PM on February 9, 2010


The purpose of the swimsuit magazine today is for the women in the house, not the men.

This just isn't true. It is, as you say, supposed to appeal to both sexes. The fact that there are more female readers than for the average issue does not make it primarily for women since there are also far more male readers.

Sure, after culture and society pounds it into you that there is a way to be and that women are the playthings of men.

Do you think it is possible to produce a magazine whose purpose is the depiction of barely-clad women which does not do this? If not, are you not saying that the desire to view said scantily clad women is, in itself, problematic? That seems perilously close to stigmatizing male sexuality in general. I understand it is a difficult issue given that sexism is a very real problem. I'm not sure I have a great answer except to say that pretending the drive to view such things doesn't exist or is abnormal seems unlikely to be beneficial.
posted by Justinian at 12:31 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Strippers who keep their knickers on. That's all they are.

oh hey let's denigrate women because we disagree with their choices, go go go

???

Do you have issues with strippers, Pope Guilty? It seems like it.

I've seen plenty of SI Swimsuit editions, and bits of The Making of SI Swimsuit Editions videos. It's pure titillation; the models are often in prone positions, and are often striking seductive poses missing the top halves of their bikinis. What I'm saying is I don't think they're that far removed from being strippers. That is all.

Classy schmassy.

And I was also pondering how girls end up taking these different career paths – specifically the strippers who are gorgeous and athletic enough to make it as SI models.

The one generalisation I was making [I wonder if anyone spotted it?] is that girls would rather be swimsuit models and not strippers. I'm happy to take that bit back.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:35 PM on February 9, 2010


Yes, but the word "pornography" DOES have a sitgma attached to it (as does "stripper")

Fair call, three blind mice.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 12:36 PM on February 9, 2010


shakespeherian: "70I can't tell if you guys are really really polite or absolutely hate each other."

This is the cue for both of them to respond at the same time, with one saying "I hate him!" and the other saying "I love him!" and then they both say "Oh."

Then I go to the store and buy myself a coke.
posted by iamkimiam at 12:47 PM on February 9, 2010


This is the cue for both of them to respond at the same time, with one saying "I hate him!" and the other saying "I love him!" and then they both say "Oh."

Then I go to the store and buy myself a coke.


Then the synth bass line and wahwah guitar start up.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


The purpose of the swimsuit magazine today is for the women in the house, not the men.

I'm guessing it's about brand awareness more than anything else.

There must be other sports magazines around, and would certainly have been even more across the decades since this began in the 1960s. But what this does is provide a shitload of free advertising for the brand. It's not "hey, one of the mags has some girly pictures in it..."; it's the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit EditionTM and for at least a few weeks there will be a metric crapton of stories about it in the media, not to mention water-cooler conversations & the like.

Hell, I don't even know if we have an Aussie version of Sports Illustrated, but I can guarantee I was aware of the brand from an early age, and if I cared to buy a sports magazine to read, chances are I'd reach for the familiar flaghead.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:05 PM on February 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


As for strippers versus swimsuit models, jebus!

Strippers get into the industry because of a drug habit.

Models get a drug habit to stay in the industry.

They're completely different things.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:08 PM on February 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


Do you think it is possible to produce a magazine whose purpose is the depiction of barely-clad women which does not do this?

Hey man, what do I know. I did used to have a subscription to SI. I'm sure the magazine could accurately be described as a place one would expect guys to go to look at guys running around and getting sweaty. Running around in shorts and a tank top or running around with pads and helmets on or skates and helmets or whatever. But guys looking at guys. I haven't looked at it in years but if it is anything like ESPN of late, there is little to no coverage of the WNBA, Women's NCAA BB or other sports women are playing. So then why don't they put out a swimsuit issue with women and men? All of a sudden there's complete coverage of women and 0 coverage of men. No non-sport dudes in swim trunks. Not one. It's not like guys don't enjoy looking at muscular dudes, there are a ton of muscle mags to prove that point. So why all of a sudden women appear? Surely these points have been debated a million times and we're not saying anything new here, I just think it's a little surface level to act like women and men are equal in various senses around this issue.
posted by cashman at 1:11 PM on February 9, 2010


ESPN magazine, which is pretty much better than SI in every way, is also better at the naked-bodies thing.
posted by box at 1:15 PM on February 9, 2010


Then the synth bass line and wahwah guitar start up.

...and that's when the CHUDs attack.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:17 PM on February 9, 2010


After reading several discussions on the nature of beauty lately, I'm again reminded of a project I'd love to undertake; I want to make monstrous models.

More specifically, I want to take male and female models who are traditionally beautiful and standing in the classic poses, and modify them so that at a glance they seem all wrong. Starting with asymmetry, a withered arm on one side combined with a giant oversized shoulder on the other, and then move into textures under the skin like diamond plate and tire tread. And then the scars and other deformities; I want the models to have lots of them.

But, and this is the key part; I still want to do everything possible to keep them beautiful. Lovely hair, a single perfect eye, etc.

No blood or standard gore crap. Just people who look like they might have grown up in an irradiated war zone posing in an effort to be gorgeous.

Sadly, I don't think I have the craft to do this idea justice in photoshop, let alone with makeup and prosthetics, which is a pity, because what I see in my head is awesome.

I'm also about 95% certain that someone already did something like this, but I can't find an exact example of what I'm thinking of.
posted by quin at 1:40 PM on February 9, 2010


Do you have issues with strippers, Pope Guilty? It seems like it.

I've seen plenty of SI Swimsuit editions, and bits of The Making of SI Swimsuit Editions videos. It's pure titillation; the models are often in prone positions, and are often striking seductive poses missing the top halves of their bikinis. What I'm saying is I don't think they're that far removed from being strippers. That is all.

Classy schmassy.


Your use of "that's all they are" is pure condescension and devaluing of them as human beings. I'm happy to compare nude and seminude modeling to stripping. I'm not in the slightest going to ignore denigrating women who engage in those professions.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:44 PM on February 9, 2010


It's pure titillation;

That triggers a pleasant memory: A Mad Magazine parody called "Sports Titillated." Forget when it was.
posted by Melismata at 1:45 PM on February 9, 2010


I love SI, mainly because of the exceptional sports photographs, but also because they've got some mighty good writers. Some issues have little of interest, but when the articles are good, they are very good. I also can't get enough sports in baseball season.

Re the swimsuit edition, it isn't pornography per the definition of the word because none of the photos are sexually explicit. I could do without it myself, but it doesn't offend me terribly: we see good looking people posing as models, in various stages of undress, all the time. We are all pretty familiar with the bodies of most well known actors too.

The reality is that people view each other sexually, and tend to like seeing good looking examples of the gender to whom they are attracted. Also, as I understand it, men are particularly visual about sexual attraction. So given SI's big male heterosexual reading audience, no wonder the swimsuit edition is still around.

As for the models, I gather the chance to pose for the SI swimsuit edition is lucrative and prestigious.

I'm OK with all of this as long as women have plenty of other options and opportunities too.
posted by bearwife at 1:54 PM on February 9, 2010


What's the difference between a swimsuit supermodel and a stripper? Brains and a bit of luck? I can't figure it out.

It's about the same difference between an nascar driver, and a pizza delivery driver. Which is to say that they're two entirely different jobs, with different skillsets, entry requirements, goals, and indicators of success. That they both involve cars is irrelevant.

also, if female body issues stemming from media images is anything like the brief moment of genetic embarrasment I feel as a man whenever I see pictures of Dwight Howard with his shirt off (pic # 6 from the ESPN bodies gallery), I feel your pain.

We either need to abolish photography, or criminalize donuts. Because it's just not fair.
posted by billyfleetwood at 3:26 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Do you have issues with strippers, Pope Guilty? It seems like it.

heh, eponysterical.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:28 PM on February 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm OK with all of this as long as women have plenty of other options and opportunities too.

That's kind of it, though. Despite a comment above, the swimsuit issue seems a way of showing that Sports Illustrated doesn't particularly want, or expect me to read it. Or other female sports fans. Or, hell, my female friends who are sports writers.

There's a gaping difference between the issue making a baseline attempt to not be horribly offensive, and it being "for the women in the house." Women are pretty clearly not the target audience.

I imagine the "big male heterosexual reading audience" has as much to do with men liking sports, as it does with women feeling like the title could care less about excluding them.

Yeah, I can read other publications. And while doing that, I can sit here in my bronzer, mesh tunic, and Sobe-bottle bodypaint and be mildly annoyed.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 3:39 PM on February 9, 2010


Women will generally not buy porn for the men in their lives.

You're dating the wrong women.

there is still a difference between something being erotic and something being pornographic.

Please to explain said difference. The only exlanation I've heard is that pornography has no redeeming social or artistic qualities, but I can see only a very blurry line between the two.

Who decides what has artistic quality? What differentiates Robert Mapplethorpe's picture of Fist Up Ass (nfsw) with a "pornographer's?" Intent? The purposes of erotica and pornography seem identical.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:57 AM on February 10, 2010


I can't tell if you guys are really really polite or absolutely hate each other.

Nah, we just bring out the Canadian in each other.
posted by KokuRyu at 11:21 AM on February 10, 2010


What incentive would there be for designer swimsuit companies to donate all these free outfits if the magazine didn't somehow motivate sales?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:23 PM on February 10, 2010


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