I can easily sum up the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in one word: breasts.
Yes, I said it. Breasts. Don’t pretend to be embarrassed, because if you’ve seen the cover of the magazine, it’s all out there. I’m surprised it didn’t come wrapped in a paper bag.
My husband subscribes to SI, and he’s usually the first to throw the swimsuit issue in the trash when it arrives in the mail. But I intercepted it this time. It arrived just days after I returned from Christian Fashion Week, which featured a for-women-only swimwear collection. I thought it might be interesting to compare notes.
But right off the bat (see what I did there?), before I could turn one page, the cover had my blood boiling. My husband’s only comment: “Are those real?” Swimsuit my foot. The magazine is selling much more than just swimsuits.
For the sports fans reading this, a few stats:
Cover girl Kate Upton: age 20
Emily DiDonato: age 21
Hannah Davis: age 22
Alyssa Miller: age 22
Nina Agdal: age 20
These girls are babies. Okay, they’re legally adults, and they’ve made these choices themselves. And that makes me even more sad – that they think of this as some sort of achievement.
The locations of the photo shoots are incredibly beautiful – for the first time ever, they shot on all seven continents. But to call this a swimsuit issue is a bit of a misnomer. There aren’t many swimsuits featured. In fact, most of the photos show the girls topless – barely covering themselves with a hat, an arm, or a scarf. Most of the models are holding the top of their bikini in their hands. And to pour even more salt on my wounds, there is also a spread featuring body paint. Just body paint.
So why is this bad?
For girls – It creates an unattainable ideal of beauty.
For guys – It creates an unrealistic expectation of beauty.
Girls will think they have to look like Kate Upton to get guys to look at them. Most girls do not look like Kate Upton.
Guys will want every girl they date to look like Kate Upton. Most guys can never get Kate Upton. They will think they are “settling” for anything less.
I’m not saying a woman’s body is not beautiful. God values beauty and we are made in His image. But we should not be displaying it for everyone in the grocery store to see. We should be reserving that particular joy for our husbands.
Girls and guys can reach higher than this porn that is shoveled in our direction every day. It’s hurtful. It’s exploitative. It’s degrading. It will reshape the way you think about women, and not in a good way. Toss it in the garbage – where it belongs.
OK, I’m getting off my shoebox now.