Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit issue will attempt to embrace the #MeToo movement by replacing some of the skimpy bathing suits with empowering words – but not everyone is a fan.
The magazine rolled out a preview of the issue on Wednesday with a feature in Vanity Fair and a firsthand account from some of the models that was published on Sports Illustrated’s website. The swimsuit issue will now feature more athletes, written pieces from models, a nude spread by a female photographer and an all-female crew.
A portion of the issue titled “In her own words” replaces clothing with painted-on word such as “truth,” “mother,” nurturer” and “human.” Editor MJ Day said her team decided the 2018 edition would dial back objectifying women months before Harvey Weinstein was exposed, sparking the #MeToo movement.
Despite Day’s efforts, a quick glance at the magazine’s Twitter feed is evidence that the swimsuit issue will still be showcase topless women rolling around on the beach — and critics have taken notice.
Musician and political commentator Kaya Jones tweeted that she is “appalled” by the photos that were released.
National Center on Sexual Exploitation Director of Communications Katherine Blakeman wrote a Townhall column explaining it would be “wrong” to suggest the magazine “will be a huge step forward in the effort to promote the dignity and equality” of women.
Blakeman feels that “men who excitedly go out to purchase this magazine” are only interested in “consuming nearly nude images of women.”
Blakeman ended her column by challenging Sports Illustrated to scrap the swim issue altogether in 2019.
“Instead, sell a women-focused issue with just text interviews of the models about their professional and intellectual pursuits, their interests, and their voice. Include only photos of these models clothed,” she wrote. “I dare you.”
The 2018 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is set to hit shelves on Feb. 13.