February 16, 2016

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.

You can take action here:

You can also help raise awareness by sharing the below graphics on social media!

Haley McNamara (Halverson)

Vice President and Director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation

Haley McNamara (formerly Halverson) is the Director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK, and a Vice President at the U.S. based National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She leads international efforts and joint campaigns to improve policies and education among global governing bodies, citizenry, and corporations regarding the full web of sexual exploitation issues. Her advocacy work has contributed to policy improvements in social media, online advertising, retail, and hotel industries. She has advocated at the United Nations, led international coalition campaigns, presented to Danish, Croatian, Colombian and Rwandan government officials, and more

She is a former member of the Washington DC Mayor’s Advisory Committee on Child Abuse and Neglect. This Committee advises DC Mayor Muriel Bowser on the multi-faceted continuum of the District of Columbia’s child welfare services, including prevention, early intervention, treatment, and sources of permanency.

Haley regularly speaks and writes on topics including child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, prostitution, sexual objectification, the exploitation of males, and more. She has presented before officials at the United Nations, as well as at several national symposia before influencers from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Croatian government officials. She has provided training to Arlington County Child & Family Services on the social media grooming, recruitment, and advertising for sex trafficking. She has a Master of Arts in Government from Johns Hopkins University where she received honors for her thesis regarding the online commercial sexual exploitation marketplace.

Previously, Haley served for two years as Director of Communications for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation where she oversaw strategic messaging development, press outreach, email marketing, and social media marketing.

Prior to working at NCOSE, Haley wrote for a cultural media outlet. Haley graduated from Hillsdale College (summa cum laude) with a double major, and conducted a senior thesis on the abolitionist argument regarding prostitution. During her studies, she studied abroad at Oxford University and established a background in policy research through several internships in the DC area.

Haley has appeared on, or been quoted in, several outlets including the New York Times, NBC’s The Today Show, BBC News, New York Post, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Fox News, San Francisco Chronicle, the Washington Post, Yahoo News, Voice of America, Dr. Drew Midday Live, The DeMaio Report, the New York Daily News, the Washington Examiner, USA Radio Network, the Washington Times, CBC News, The Rod Arquette Show, The Detroit News, Lifezette, The Christian Post, Lifeline with Neil Boron, EWTN News Nightly, KCBS San Francisco Radio, LifeSiteNews, The Drew Mariano Show on Relevant Radio, News Talk KGVO, and American Family News.

She has written op-eds for the Washington Post, the Huffington Post, FoxNews.com, Washington Examiner, Townhall.com, Darling Magazine, the Daytona-Beach News Journal, and has been published in the Journal of Internet Law and the journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and ViolenceShe has also contributed to a digital middle school curriculum regarding the links between sex trafficking and pornography as well as the public health impacts of sex trafficking.

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