"The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue would be more aptly named the Sexploitation Issue. 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.
These images are not designed to be empowering. Rather, they are designed to portray women as sexually desirable and available to the male customers purchasing this magazine. Women who have achieved remarkable athletic feats do not deserve to be put back into the box of male sexual accessibility in order to promote “body positivity.”
This is a growing cultural recognition. For example, Ada Hegerberg the world’s best soccer player was asked to twerk on stage after receiving the 2018 Women’s Ballon d’Or Award. The host was widely condemned for the sexist overtones that sought to focus on Hegerberg’s sexuality instead of her accomplishments. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is the magazine equivalent to this scandal.
In 2015, the cover featured a model revealing a portion of her pubic area. After more than 30,000 complaints were filed, Safeway quickly moved the magazine away from checkout stands and stated that two-thirds of the cover would be out of sight.
Patrons have a right to shop free from exposure to soft-core pornography in the checkout line."