The annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue arrives on newsstands Tuesday. It features three semi-nude babes on the cover.
The issue is eagerly awaited by much of SI’s readership. However, let those of us who are Christ followers not deceive ourselves: the magazine’s swimsuit issue is nothing more than softcore pornography.
Indeed, SI’s cover, celebrating the 50th anniversary of its swimsuit issue, actually is more sexualized than the cover of the latest issue of Playboy, which marks the skin magazine’s 60th anniversary, and which features the model Kate Moss in a bunny costume.
What particularly offends about SI is its hypocrisy.
The magazine’s writers and editors pride themselves in being on the right side of controversial social issues that transcend sport. But they have been silent about the sports media’s shameless exploitation of young women for the lustful pleasure of men (and boys).
To wit: SI recently published a fawning cover story about Michael Sam, the former Missouri college football player who came out of the closet as a homosexual, who hopes to become the first openly-gay player in the NFL.
“America is ready for Michael Sam,” SI declared.
Then there’s SI’s campaign to compel the Washington Redskins to change its team name to comport with the magazine’s politically correct sensibilities. In fact, the mag’s NFL writer Peter King decided last football season he would no longer reference the franchise’s team name.
“It has nothing to do with calling anyone racist.” said King. “It’s just I’m uncomfortable using the name.”
Yet, SI’s writers and editors think it perfectly acceptable to pander to its preponderantly male readership with lascivious pictorials of young women that are seminude or fully nude (save for body paint).
MJ Day, the madam of sorts who edits the mag’s swimsuit issue, even goes so far as to suggest that the cover shot of models Nina Agdal and Lily Aldridge, “clad in orange thong bikini bottoms,” as the New York Daily News described their skimpy attire, and Chrissy Teigen, in a “barely-there pink bikini,” was perfectly wholesome.
As to the models themselves, who’ve sold their souls for fame and fortune, “They’re really good girls,” Day told the Newark Star-Ledger. “They’re the girl next door.”
Well, really good girls do not take their clothes off for the titillation of millions of men. And girls next door don’t strike come hither poses suggesting that they’re inviting a sex acts.
Of course, most of SI’s male readers look forward to this Tuesday’s arrival of the swimsuit issue. They can’t wait to ogle the scantily clad models therein.
But for those us who are Christ followers first, sports fans further down the list (behind family, country, et al.) we are instructed to be not “conformed to this world,” where soft core pornography has been mainstreamed by the popular culture.
No, we will not go to hell by viewing the risqué photos in SI’s swimsuit issue. But we certainly will be conducting ourselves outside of God’s will.
Indeed, in the Gospel According to Matthew, Jesus declared, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
That’s why the men among us who are committed Christ followers will bring every lustful thought into captivity to the obedience of God. And that means avoiding SI’s soft core porn issue.