Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition: What Every Pink-Blooded American Man Wants to See

Townhall Media

I was a long-time subscriber to Sports Illustrated. From the time I could afford a magazine subscription, I would eagerly await each month's issue. This was back when sportswriting was exciting, interesting, and even sublimely moving.


With the best photographers in the world seemingly able to catch the most extraordinary, heart-stopping moments on film, the magazine captured a time in America when sports defined a certain kind of masculinity; hardly toxic but testosterone-fueled nonetheless.

And the epitome of that masculine world was the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Compared to Playboy or Penthouse, it was tame stuff. Featuring beautiful women in skimpy bikinis frolicking on spectacular beaches, fueling the fantasies of boys and men alike, the Swimsuit Issue said something good and bad about men. The objectification of women walked side by side with the glorification of the human body in all its beauty and power. 

The magazine has lost half its subscribers in the last several years. They laid off their entire staff in January. But the current editor doesn't care what you think about transgender models or plus-sized women squeezing into bikinis.


"I want the world to realize that Sports Illustrated has evolved into such a far more wide-reaching, powerful vehicle of change," said MJ Day, editor-in-chief. 

"I mean, listen, there's a lot of swimsuit photos in this issue. We're not short on swimsuits. But I really like the idea of having all these women come together in a way that was different for us for once. We're living our best life. We're not afraid and we're not embarrassed and no one's going to stop us," said Day.

Day says she doesn't care that SI has lost half its readers."We didn't care. We thought that the right reader would come along with us. And the wrong ones we didn't want." 

As a bankruptcy strategy, it can't be beaten.

CBS News:

The SI Swimsuit Issue was first launched in the winter 1964, and was first used to fill in the magazine's pages as hockey and basketball seasons came to an end. Over the years, the swimsuit issue was eagerly anticipated, primarily featuring models in swimwear. 

Since then, the issue has transformed to include women from sports, news, and entertainment, representing different races, ages, and body types. From the magazine's first transgender cover model, Leyna Bloom, to Halima Aden, the first woman wearing a hijab. The swimsuit issue originated as a filler during the sports season lull but quickly became a cultural phenomenon.


The cover of this year's Swimsuit edition features a "plus-sized" model named Hunter McGrady.

As we all know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Some men prefer skinny women, and some men prefer larger women. The standard of beauty changes from generation to generation.

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Ms. McGrady is attractive, and I understand the point SI is trying to make about female beauty. But the swimsuit edition used to display the female body at its most sexually desirable. I guess that's no longer acceptable among some women.

Usually, the ones who aren't sexually desirable at all.


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