Beware of SI’s Swimsuit Models

America The Beautiful: Swimsuit Issue 2015

If you didn’t already know, this is the newest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover starring Hannah Davis. Sports Illustrated is know to be the largest circulated magazine in the entire world. So, I guess you could say that there is a pretty good chance that you and your family will be subjected to this magazine multiple times during your life span. Whats the problem? She is radiating beauty: with perfect hair, skin, eyes, and body. There is nothing wrong with it right?…. Wrong.

There are so many things wrong with not only this picture, but nearly every photograph in SI’s swimsuit edition. For starters, Hannah Davis is extremely skinny, so skinny that you can see the outline of her ribs if you look closely. This further pushes the idea of an extremely thin “ideal body” to women of all ages. The “ideal body” can be found all over the media and is very harmful to our youth especially. Children see these magazines and aspire to look like the models in the picture, but when they realize that they do not, they create a sense of body dissatisfaction. Negative body image, especially in pubescent children, leads to lower self-esteem and physical well being, increased risk of eating disorders and dieting behaviors, and even obesity and depression.


Another issue with Sports Illustrated is the fact that their pictures are so provocative that they are borderline obscene. Some people even think that swimsuit editions should not be on display in grocery stores, instead they should be wrapped up and put away along with the pornographic magazines. But this obscenity poses yet another problem to our society, “[women] could become potential victims of many social problems related to sexual behaviors and crimes due to the extremely sexualized images of women in general.” It is terrifying that scientist’s agree that provocative images could quite possibly be dangerous to our health.

It may seem like Sports Illustrated is only a threat to women but that is not true. Because “Advertisements provide a guideline for what is desirable and what is normal”, men and boys expectations can be altered by them. Consequently, they may subconsciously think differently about women after viewing images in magazines such as Sports Illustrated. They also may be let down in real life because they base their expectations on the unrealistic models they see in SI’s swimsuit issue every year.

Last but not least, Sports Illustrated advertises an unrealistic image to its viewers. SI readily uses photoshop to ‘enhance’ the look of each model. It is especially quite obvious in the 2012 Swimsuit issue starring Kate Upton. Kate is well know for her voluptuous curves, but in the 2012 cover she looks much smaller. What does this say to viewers? That even Kate Upton isn’t perfect enough to be shown on the ever-anticipated SI swimsuit issue cover. They must first tweak every inch of her before she is published. But, what Sports Illustrated needs to understand is the impact they have on society. Many women look up to these models and strive to look like them. Photoshopping creates a false hope because even the models that we see in magazines aren’t realistic.

As you can see, it is very easy for photographers to completely morph a model into a totally different person.



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