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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Top 10 Ways Sports Illustrated Disrespects Women

10. Sports Illustrated disrespects women through sex-discriminatory coverage of women's sports. (Fewer than 10 percent of Sports Illustrated pages are devoted to women's athletic achievements.)

9. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by displaying demeaning stereotypes of female sexuality. The swimsuit issue features women models posed not as athletes of strength, skill, and endurance but as playthings--in costumes no one could possibly swim in competitively.

8. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue disrespects women by showing women's primary value to be their value as sex objects.

7. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by photographing their bodies as if they are merely body parts--breasts, buttocks, and crotches.

6. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by encouraging boys and young men to view women as sex toys and by turning voyeurism into a sport.

5. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue disrespects women by imitating an idea of women that originates in pornography. Mimicking magazines like Playboy and Penthouse, Sports Illustrated spreads out women's bodies on the page for male "readers" to ogle at.

4. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by numbing men to women's humanity.

3. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by exhibiting women to men as the "other"--as if women were a different species from the "real" athletes who are men.

2. Sports Illustrated disrespects women by sending a message to girls and young women that no matter how much they excel in athletics, all that matters is how they look to men.

1. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue disrespects women by directly contradicting Time-Warner's corporate hype, which claims the magazine stands for serious sports journalism and respects the ability and dignity of women and girls in athletics. If that were true, where is the magazine with all the scantily clad men wearing nothing but Speedos?

Women and Sports:

Sport in A Masculinist World

Gender Biases in School Sports

You Throw Like A Girl!


  1. If SI's actions are so disrespectful and repugnant, maybe just one picture would have sufficed?

  2. Here's a fundamental question I've struggled with, and I'm honestly not trying to start an argument. If we should respect women as people, and then women choose to pose in a magazine like this (or in a Calvin Klein photo shoot, for instance, where they will get paid a lot of money), why shouldn't they be seen as the ones who provide the "supply" instead of SI becoming the guilty party?

    For instance, if you look at the staff page for SI, available here:


    And you do a "find" for swimsuit, you'll see that a fair amount of women played senior level roles in putting together the swimsuit edition:

    Diane Smith (Swimsuit)
    M.J. Day (Swimsuit)
    Darcie Baum (Swimsuit)



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