I see it on the newsstands every year. Back in school, I used to see copies being passed around, generally moving under the desks when the teacher wasn't looking. And today gave me the displeasure of listening to just a fragment of interview with this year's covergirl, who turned her first answer into a generic I Have Said This A Thousand Times Today pageant winner platitude and that was it for that station. But this is the first time I've ever had a personal copy. It came with the SI subscription I won on MCR last year. I was given a multi-week notice if I wanted to opt out and I said no, mail the thing, it's not as if any of this is going to offend me with things I haven't seen before, nor am I likely to scream about women displaying their bodies in return for money. It arrived about an hour ago and I just finished going through it page by page, paying close attention to every detail. And having given it my time and attention, I would like to report the following:
None of the women in there look like me or have anything remotely resembling my body type.
I'm not going to be wearing any of the swimsuits. Some because they're not available for me, some because I hate the material, but pretty much all because if I could get them in my size and favored fabric, they would still be incredibly ugly.
The background settings are repetitive. And boring. And repetitively boring. For that matter, the foreground photography is, at best, insipid. The models seem to have been given a list of five facial expressions they were allowed to use, which the editors then cut down to two. And the poses are so generic that the basic bikini should have been white with a bar code. Every model is named on every page possibly from fears that you might confuse them with each other. A couple of them do seem to blend after a while. If only the suits would.
The single best shot I saw in the entire issue was a Toyota Tundra ad which splashed its model with mud. She looked like she was ready to carve out the photographer's eyes with her fingernails, and it was the most emotion anyone displayed in the entire magazine.
The closest the issue comes to sports coverage is covering a few female athletes with swimsuit-styled body paint.
Glorification of the female body comes in many forms. This was none of them.
I have seen a wider range of suits, poses, and expressions on store mannikins.