Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2018 will go down as one of the most controversial editions to date as it piggybacks off the #MeToo era of female empowerment.
A formidable list athletes and models appear over the latest pages in a manner of undress, but that’s not the part causing the most outrage. The American publication has copped backlash for claiming to be a part of the solution when they’ve supposedly been objectifying women since the swimsuit edition’s first issue back in 1964.
The debate raged on to a point where golfer and Instagram powerhouse Paige Spiranac had to defend her shoot with the publication against those who believe that Sport’s Illustrated’s latest move is hypocritical.
Thanks, I will☺️ pic.twitter.com/AQQRwOgAeQ
— Paige Spiranac (@PaigeSpiranac) February 13, 2018
Social commentators also weren’t happy, expressing their dismay at the publication’s new direction.
Sports Illustrated took a stand against sexual harassment/assault by encouraging their swimsuit models to wear *less* clothes and “become a canvas and share their truth.” How dangerously oblivious, permissive, objectifying, and pornified our culture has become. Lord help us.
— Sr. Theresa Aletheia (@pursuedbytruth) February 9, 2018
Whilst the debate rages on, many of the models that feature in the issue have come out in support of Sports Illustrated.
Alexandra Raisman tweeted: “Women do not need to be modest to be respected.”
— Alexandra Raisman (@Aly_Raisman) February 13, 2018
Given the controversy, it does need to be noted that Sports Illustrated have included a diverse range of women to feature this year, from traditional models like Kate Upton and Alexis Ren, to the more muscular physique of athletes like tennis player, Sloane Stephens. They’ve also integrated a photography campaign called ‘In Her Own Words’ which the SI site claims, “is a continuation and evolution of the essence of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. It is a platform that allows the voice, the strength and the passion of these women to be expressed in the rawest form – on the naked body – with all the artistic and creative control left to them.”
Nonetheless, 21-year-old Danielle Herrington who became this year’s cover model, just the third black woman to do so since Beyonce in 2007 and Tyra Banks in 1996, was over the moon.
“I can’t even believe I’m saying this. I am the 2018 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model,” she told Sports Illustrated. “I can’t wait for everyone to see it. I’m emotional, but I just want to say thank you to everyone who believed in me. I put in so much work for this, and I’m feeling very accomplished, happy and excited.”
See the gallery of some of this year’s Sports Illustrated models and let us know what you think about the their latest approach to female empowerment.