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Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:10 PM

Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue Reaches Out to Female Readers With... Beach Beauty Tips?

Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit edition has always had a tenuous connection to the magazine’s central subject. The issue lately features naked women, their breasts and pelvises painted to look like bikinis, which is a form of clothing sometimes worn while swimming, which is also sometimes a competitive sport in which athletes wear a very different kind of swimsuit. From an advertiser’s perspective, though, the relationship is obvious: Guys like sports. Guys like women. Lite beer! Sports cars! Synergy!

But this year, SI hopes to tweak its barely-there offerings to appeal to the ladies in the audience—the magazine counts 18 million women among its readership. Women are “a part of our franchise that we can grow,” SI swimsuit editor M.J. Day told the New York Times. “Why not deliver more to them?” So when the issue hits stands Tuesday, can we expect to find Calvin Klein model Matt Terry’s ass wearing nothing but a thin coat of liquid latex? Nope! Women will get a six-page “style guide” featuring model interviews and makeup tips for helping “everyday beautiful women” look more like the exceptionally beautiful women who fill the issue’s pages.

“Men want her, women want to be her” is as tired an advertising cliché as “sex sells.” Men’s magazines sell women’s bodies. Women’s magazines sell women’s bodies. (And Details, a men’s magazine that actually features male bodies, is coded as gay.) For SI, leveraging male eye candy in the service of female anxiety seems like a cost-effective move. If it were to court female readers by integrating some itsy-bitsy Speedo'd men into the swimsuit spread, it would risk turning off the issue’s heterosexual male audience. But toss in some copy about achieving “tousled beachy hair,” and watch the women-focused ad dollars roll in (the inaugural guide is heavily-sponsored by Target).

Still, it’s a bit gauche to straight-up sell the male gaze to female readers. Women’s magazines soften the presentation by filtering their please-your-man copy through some you-go-girl branding. So it’s strange to see the beauty and body tips lifted out of the context of the “empowering” lady mag (Glamour’s “500 Ways to Just Be Yourself!”) and transplanted into the unabashedly objectifying world of the lads (Sports Illustrated’s “Kate Upton Goes Polar Bare … and Then Sizzles In Body Paint!”).

Rest of article here at link: Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue Reaches Out




THANK YOU, Sports Illustrated. THANK YOU for reaching out and including me in your annual Objectification-Palooza-Extravaganza. Lord know, I spend my every waking moment wishing I could just figure out how to achieve the perfect tousled beachy hair to go with the teeny tiny bikini I have my eye on (so as I can show of my feminine curves to best advantage to satisfy the Male Gaze, because I am so lonely, lost and empty without a steady dose of male approval).

I felt so excluded and left out before, watching my male friends as they paged through the mag and drooled over the bikini-babes, but thanks to you, SI, I am no longer left out of the fun. Now me and the menz can enjoy the issue TOGETHER, as I can busy myself learning how to make myself into a Desirable Bikinied Beach Babe just like the women in SI.






(I am dying over here.)



("A bit gauche"...)

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Reply Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Issue Reaches Out to Female Readers With... Beach Beauty Tips? (Original post)
MadrasT Feb 2013 OP
seabeyond Feb 2013 #1
MadrasT Feb 2013 #3
seabeyond Feb 2013 #6
redqueen Feb 2013 #2
ismnotwasm Feb 2013 #4
redqueen Feb 2013 #5
seabeyond Feb 2013 #7
BainsBane Feb 2013 #8
blue neen Feb 2013 #9
chocolate ink Feb 2013 #10

Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:19 PM

1. you are always a hoot. call it like it is. we have 4 different subscription mags...

i like my kids to read. and read and read and read. they like sports. i wont give my money to sport illustrated. i let my times run out right before sw edition comes out cause times is same company and has picture after picture to sell sw edition thru their mag. subsciption dies. and i pick it up when times is done with the sexism.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #1)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:28 PM

3. Tears of fucking gratitude, sea.

I am sitting over here with tears of gratitude and joy that SI finally thought of reaching out and including little ol' me.

I can just see the marketing team now...



"Listen up, team, you know how every year we have those obnoxious wimminz complain about objectification when we do the swimsuit issue? It's really getting old and, geez, maybe they do have a point, maybe we should toss them a bone this year."

(blank stares around table)



"Hey Bob, I know... let's add fashion tips! Wimmenz love fashion tips!!! That'll shut 'em up!!!"

(high 5's all around)





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Response to MadrasT (Reply #3)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:41 PM

6. geez... if you do nto see it just right on. me? i do not have the imagination. BUT, like evo psych

i bet we can come up with a whole "scientific" story telling fact that would be a real laugh.

respect all of you with such creativity.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:23 PM

2. LOL, yeah.. I found "a bit gauche" to be a massive understatement...

But then we live in this strange, so-called 'post-feminist' world... so the minimization is sadly unsurprising.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:28 PM

4. We exist!

Sports illustrated has just acknowledged that women like sports!

But, you know that beach body thing, gotta work on that if you REALLY want to like sports. Otherwise you can't play. Watch, they'll have an issue explaining how liking sports is 'empowering' women. But on SI terms.

Dumbass fuckers. Well not in monetary terms, I suppose, they've been in the prostitution of women business for along time. And that's big bucks.


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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:39 PM

5. Not prostitution... empowerfullization!

There was a comic about the false analogy of male objectification linked from an article sea posted... so many good comments from women there about just how empowerfullizing all that crap really is.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #5)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:43 PM

7. i was gonna say to madrast,

there are going to be women that buy into it and say, golly gee si, thanks for thinking of meeee.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 01:49 PM

8. the tendency of men to compare women to models

and actresses and exalt them above real women strikes me as a phenomenon particular to places like the US and Britain, probably Europe too. When I lived in Brazil, men seemed far more concerned with the women around them than those in the media. I never heard them talk about their ideal woman being some movie star or model. But as soon as I got back to the US, I started hearing that sort of thing.

Of course the most dangerous part of this is that too many women think they should look like those models in the magazines, and a whole host of problems result.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Mon Feb 11, 2013, 11:07 PM

9. Oh my.

I'm just....dumbfounded. There are no words.

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Response to MadrasT (Original post)

Tue Feb 12, 2013, 01:57 AM

10. 'a bit guache'....

Cause really you know that just possibly showing women actually doing sports I guess wouldn't lend itself to 'beachy tousled hair' or other pressing issues us poor weak women have about our hair or our bikninis.

The ignorance of this is just depressing.

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