Sports Illustrated: Objectifying Plus Sized Models Doesn’t Make You “Body Positive”

The 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue released three covers this year, one of which features a plus-sized model, and all of which normalize sexual objectification and exploitation.

Consumers of Sports Illustrated‘s annual “pop-culture porn” get to choose between a cover of a plus-sized woman, a woman who is naked except for body paint, and another woman who is topless. The photo of the plus-sized model, however, is what has been making headlines as many applaud the “body positive” message is represents.

However, as a woman and a human being, I am not impressed.

Are we supposed to be grateful that Sports Illustrated is expanding the wheelhouse of body types it is willing to sexually objectify for profit?

This magazine has a long history of objectifying women for sport. While I understand the desire to increase the public presence of models who represent real and diverse women, I ultimately want LESS women to be degraded as ornaments for another’s sexual pleasure. Not more. “Body positive” does not mean “body exploitation.”

Women of all shapes, sizes, and ages deserve more than being reduced to body parts for men to ogle. This magazine is sending a message that women’s bodies are for public consumption, and any retailer that displays and sells it is condoning the toxic culture of entitlement to the female body.

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation is asking the public to demand that companies like Wal-Mart, Kroger, Walgreens, Safeway, and Barnes & Noble stop subjecting the general public to sexual exploitation by removing the magazine from the eye-level of children and from patrons who don’t want to be exposed to soft-core pornography at the store checkout line.

Learn more here:

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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