All the Questions About the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit “Edition”
I read the junk internet, which is how I know Sports Illustrated still puts out a swimsuit “edition.”
Just How Many Cover Models are There?
The first plus-size Asian-American cover model. A groundbreaking 74-year old cover model. Ciara. Kim Kardashian.
So there are four “cover” models? Assuming there actually is a cover at all, it appears to be divvied up four different ways, which beggars the question: how meaningful is it that SI was gracious enough to put a 74-year old woman on the “cover?”
Answer: no more than 25% as meaningful as that time Elle MacPherson proved just how far you could tug the waist of bikini bottoms down without showing too much mons for grocery stores in Middle America, but enough to get conservative Christians to call for a ban and create some buzz.
Do They Actually PRINT a Swimsuit Edition? Why Tho?
I haven’t read a physical magazine since — I don’t know, 2009? Do people still subscribe to Sports Illustrated magazine? Do these people know there’s a thing called the internet? SI is on Apple News, it’s on SI.com. If you have a phone, you have SI.
I haven’t been in a grocery store since curbside delivery became a thing, so I’m serious when I ask: do they still have those racks of magazines next to the pyramids of diet soda? Are people impulsively buying the swimsuit edition in the checkout line?
Confidential to SI: you could publish swimsuit photos all year long. Think of all those free media mentions and shares you could be getting winter, spring, summer and fall from all the groundbreaking recognition that women in their 70’s exist, go swimming.
If So, Why Do People Buy the Swimsuit Edition? No, SRSLY, Why?
There was a time when the swimsuit edition was the only way a teenage boy could get his hands on photographic proof of the existence of the female nipple. SI would inevitably include a sea-soaked white t-shirt as “swimwear,” and the olive contours of an areola and the shape of a pert nipple would be plainly visible, but — AND THIS IS THE CRUCIAL PART — technically covered, so no one can call the magazine pornographic. No, it is definitely still a sports publication.
Today, every teenage boy holds in the palm of his (non-dominant) hand a device that can deliver millions, if not billions, of completely exposed nipples straight to any locked bathroom.
Do middle-aged men buy it? Do women buy it now? SI has been trying for years to convince us that the swimsuit edition is celebrating the female form and empowering women, which leads me to my next question…
What Does a Photo of a 74-Year Old in a One-Piece Prove Exactly?
I see a lot of articles about body positivity online, and SI’s recent casting decisions are cut from the same cloth. See — we’re defeating the male gaze and promoting acceptance of all bodies.
Okay, but then why are we talking about it so much? If women had truly escaped the male gaze and their own judgment, why do we talk about body acceptance so much? And why exactly is Yumi Nu in a swimsuit at all? Why not put out the “Women of Actuary Edition?” Photograph the people featured from the neck up, and — I don’t know — just don’t talk about their bodies. Talk about their minds. Talk about the role of race in predictions of mortality used in life insurance premiums.
In the meantime, I think we are all obliged to masturbate equally to all the models. The SI of yore would have wanted it that way. *sniff*
Why is Kim Kardashian’s Presence on the “Cover” Controversial?
Pop quiz: when confronted with the spectacle of a fake celebrity getting the hollow “honor “ of being on the imaginary cover of a silly publication, your natural reaction should be:
c.) Complete f’in’ indifference
Score -50 points for every answer a.), -25 points for every answer b.), and +1,000,000,000 points for every answer c.).
For the love of God, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY ARTICLE OR SOCIAL MENTION ABOUT A KARDASHIAN. Do not watch their show. Do not take to social media to # or @ anything related to the dumbest institution of our times: a family that manufactures painfully obviously faux drama. I could understand if it felt real, but it doesn’t and yet people tune into this stuff? #ibelievewomen, but I also believe Ray J when he says Kim’s own mom helped release the tape. She’s given me no reason to believe that’s beneath her. Kris has shown repeatedly that she will do almost anything for attention.
Controversy should be reserved for things that actually have consequence to our lives, like the toxic effects of regressive taxation policies or the dilemma of free speech in a racist, misogynistic, authoritarian society or the subversion of the judiciary or the prevalence of laws restricting access to voting.
My hypothesis: the swimsuit edition exists purely to provoke a troll or two and get lots of mentions and free press for a moribund publication getting pummeled by ESPN. Thanks for taking the bait, Jordan Peterson: if it got you to quit the Twitter, well that’s just a bonus! Now you’ll have more time to do deep scientific research into lobsters…or something.
I miss the good old days, when the swimsuit edition was designed solely for the puerile entertainment of adolescent boys of all ages. It was only slightly less edifying…and a whole lot more honest.