Last week the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue hit newsstands and magazine racks across the country giving millions of men and boys easy access to pornography in the mainstream family marketplace. Stores that would never sell a Playboy seem to have no qualms about selling the equally pornographic SI swimsuit issue. However, other than the name of “Sports Illustrated,” there is very little difference between the two.
Is it a stretch to label the SI swimsuit magazine as pornography? After all, the word “swimsuit” would imply that the models featured are wearing clothing. Think again. While the tiny scraps of cloth that make up the “swimsuits” worn in this magazine might stretch the definition of clothing, the SI swimsuit magazine also includes dozens of photos of topless and completely nude women.
And the young women baring their bodies are not “models.” They’re not “modeling” anything other than their erotically posed bodies. They are nothing more than strippers –exposing themselves for the pleasure of men.
Yet somehow our culture has turned them into celebrities as they make the rounds to the TV talk shows. Kate Upton who is featured on the cover, appeared on the Jimmy Kimmel show to promote the SI Swimsuit magazine. Upton is displayed nearly nude on three different cover choices – each more explicit than the next. In one such photo Upton is wearing nothing more than rope. Jimmy Kimmel asks her about the image, “Is that really a swimsuit you’re wearing? Because it seems just like a hammock that got torn to bits.”
Upton replied: “I’m pretty sure it’s just a rope. Apparently it’s…Sports Illustrated nude magazine.”
Right from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. With dozens and dozens of nude to partially nude photos, “Sports Illustrated Nude Magazine” would be a more apt title.
As research and common sense indicate, those who view pornography are soon not satisfied with the material they consume and so escalate to more explicit and extreme forms of pornography.
Not only do we know this, but so do the publishers of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit magazine. This so-called swimsuit magazine has been and still is a “gateway drug” to harder and harder forms of pornography – especially for young boys. And so to keep this money-making issue flying off the magazine racks, Sports Illustrated ratchets up the shock value every year.
Equally troubling are the young women who buy the lie that stripping for men to ogle is somehow “empowering”. It doesn’t empower women – it degrades and objectifies them.
In recent years, Sports Illustrated has even convinced accomplished female athletes to demean themselves – posing topless in some cases. SI isn’t showcasing their athleticism, their strength, their accomplishments – just their body. Athletes featured in this year’s “swimsuit magazine” include tennis pro Serena Williams and two Olympic gymnasts, Ally Raisman and Simone Biles. Sadly, these young women are sending a message to the girls who idolize them that their worth is dependent upon their sex appeal.
That same message is being given by 63 year old Christie Brinkley who posed in SI Swimsuit along with her two daughters (one of whom posed topless.) What mother would want - even encourage - her daughters to be displayed as objects of lust to be leered at by men?
We at American Decency have been one of the very few voices over the years warning of this concerning magazine, urging stores not to carry it and corporations not to advertise in it.
As we have faithfully tracked the advertisers who empower SI Swimsuit, urging them not to align with this pornographic magazine, we’re encouraged to report that the number of advertisers has drastically declined.
In 2011 there were 46 different advertisers in the magazine. This year the number dropped to only 26 advertisements. That’s down even from last year when 33 advertised. Of last year’s advertisers, only 10 returned to advertise again this year.
Another trend we’re noting is that the vast majority of advertisers are obscure companies and liquor brands.
We believe that, as you have stood with us, we have had an impact as we’ve held the advertisers accountable each year.
Yet there are still several mainline advertisers who need to hear from you!
They are Lexus, MasterCard, Snickers candy, and DirecTV.
Click here to send a message to these advertisers.
To support our efforts please click here or mail your gift to American Decency Association (ADA), PO Box 202, Fremont, MI 49412.
American Decency Association is a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.