Swimsuit issue needs to celebrate the other half

Published On March 3, 2014 | By Alice Cook

It’s that time of year.  The NFL  has gone dark.  The torch has been extinguished.  March Madness is still weeks away.  Opening Day is way down the road, and so are the NBA and NHL playoffs.

No worries. We have the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue to lift our spirits!  Well, at least the guys do.

Hey, I get it.  For 50 years this publication has helped millions of sports fans escape the winter doldrums.  Nothing like hot babes on beautiful beaches to chase away those cold winter blues.   Never mind that 99.9% of the  male readers would never have a chance with one of these women.   It’s like looking at a menu at a five star restaurant and not being able to order.

As I flipped through the magazine, I was reminded several times that the anniversary issue  is all about celebrating women- and I’m all for that.

I read that Heidi Klum is not only a swimsuit legend, she is also designs clothes, shoes and jewelry.  She has become an author, actress, singer, painter and television producer.

That’s great.  Beauty and brains is a great combination.  But I don’t need to hear Swimsuit Issue editor MJ Day tell me “Heidi embodies what you hope every girl can achieve.”

Please.  Heidi also embodies a body most women could never dream of having.  I can’t imagine telling either of my daughters that they can grow up and be just like Heidi Klum.  Especially not with a 5 foot 2 inch mother.

Like any woman of a certain age, it’s fun to see how super models “mature.”   Still gorgeous at 4o, 50 or even 60 is both amazing and inspirtational. These gals are blessed with great genes.  They obviously take care of themselves, and their beauty should be appreciated whether we are male or female.

The fold out photo of  “The Legends” is terrific- and not one of them is wearing a swimsuit!

I am not sure what I make of the “Barbie” tie in.   It’s a good move by Mattel, but I could do without their full page THANK YOU! which says:

“Here’s to women of every generation- for breaking boundaries, living life in their own fashion, and continuing to prove that anything is possible.”

Hmmm.  One thing that will never be possible for most of us is looking like Barbie.

I did learn that the swimsuits featured on the first 6 pages were actually made to get wet.  What an idea!  Very practical indeed.

With almost 50% of the pro sport audience being female, I think it’s time to level the playing field.  Don’t the ladies deserve a little eye candy too?

You could argue that Sports Illustrated features photos of sexy guys every week.   The difference is they are not professional models striking evocotive poses on exotic beaches.    It will be a cold day in Bora Bora before we see a sun bronzed Henrik Lundqvist laying in the the soft surf vamping for the camera.

Women get the winter blues too.  Maybe next year Sports Illustrated will have a special section dedicated to the ladies.  Lord knows, there are plenty of nice tushies in football uniforms, great abs on diving platforms, and wonderful pectorals on tennis courts.  How about those speed skating thighs?  Was anyone else wondering how those guys buy jeans with 32 inch waists and 36 inch quads?

It’s all fun and playful just like the SI swimsuit issue.   Here’s hoping the editors will think about it for 2015.  After 50 years it’s time to mix  it up.

Tony Gonzalez

Tony Gonzalez




Shani Davis

Shani Davis








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About The Author

is a veteran television sports reporter and Olympian. Her experience includes 25 years of sports reporting for WBZ-TV, the CBS and former NBC affiliate in Boston. Cook has worked for ESPN, Turner Sports, and WTBS. Cook is a feature writer for She's Game Sports and Boston.com. She is also President and Founder of She's Game Sports LLC.