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Does Lindsey Vonn SI cover objectify women?

Feb 5, 2010, 10:45 AM EDT

So what do you think of this week’s Sports Illustrated cover, featuring U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn seemingly cooing to the reader: “Come knock down a few slalom gates with me, handsome.” This will sell a few issues, although I would have gone with the Pope wearing a papal toque. But like just about anything these days, the Vonn photo is causing a bit of controversy. Why must SI objectify women, asks the site WomenTalkSports? (I link to a post at Yahoo’s Fourth Place Medal due to the fact that the WTS post is down as I write this).

Vonn is first a GREAT athlete, but she also represents norm of feminine attractiveness. The combination of athleticism and attractiveness make Vonn the likely poster girl of the US Olympic Team, and the media hasn’t disappointed in constructed her as such.

Not to be left out, Sports Illustrated is featuring Vonn on their Feb. 8, 2010 cover. For those of you who follow SI Covers, know that female athletes are RARELY featured on the cover.

Over the last 60 years researchers have shown that about 4% of all SI covers have portrayed women.

When females are featured on the cover of SI, they are more likely than not to be in sexualized poses and not in action-and the most recent Vonn cover is no exception.

I have no problem with the Vonn cover, but then I’m not a woman: Although I occasionally dress as one for Mardi Gras. And I’m not sure which “researchers” came up with the 4 percent figure, but that must be a great job. Sitting around the lab perusing Sports Illustrated all day: “Anna Kournikova! Found another one, Larry!”
If true, the four percent number is rather shameful, though. You’d think SI would at least find enough filly racehorses to up that percentage a bit.
But really, once SI gave us this cover, it was announcing that pretty much anything goes, right?
***
Let the Lindsey hype begin: Vonn is Sports Illustrated cover girl [Fourth Place Medal]
Lindsey Vonn’s SI Cover Photo Controversy [eCanadaNow]

  1. BC - Feb 5, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    What’s the big deal, she’s wearing what she wears when she races. This isn’t like that Maxim cover with Gretchen Bleiler and the body paint. I don’t see how anyone could be offended.

  2. Tony Metler - Feb 5, 2010 at 11:32 AM

    BC – Please provide link to Maxim cover immediately.

  3. BC - Feb 5, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    I’m efforting the magazine cover. Here is something to tide you over.
    http://www.theskichannel.com/image/news/20090714_gretchenbleilerfhm.jpg

  4. BC - Feb 5, 2010 at 12:08 PM

    Found it. And for the record it was FHM and not Maxim.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/donnyroad/99372956/

  5. ann - Feb 5, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    Give me a break. I am a woman and I do not think Vonn is being objectified in this picture. She is a skier – that is her equipment and a common position she would strike going down hill. She deserves to be on the cover representing the Olympics because of her success not her looks.

  6. matt - Feb 5, 2010 at 12:54 PM

    Why don’t you find something to write about that has merit. She is an incredible ATHLETE.

  7. Paul - Feb 5, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Does anyone care anymore what is on the SI cover?

  8. LR - Feb 5, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Can`t wait to see her in SI`S Swimsuit Edition.

  9. RG - Feb 5, 2010 at 2:33 PM

    This position is the position she assumes when she practices her sport.I think it is f***ing annoying how PC this country has become. Ignorant people will find anything to complain about and anyone that has a problem with this cover is an ignorant a**.

  10. john ryder - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    I think she looks great.Its a good photo.

  11. JohnG Sr. - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:05 PM

    AS USUAL, A DIRTY MIND WILL SEE DIRT EVERYWHERE!!! Folks, the picture is of a down hill skier in tuck position. Dah… These “dirty minded folks” better not watch any skin-tight fitting suit events… they’ll have to go to their religious leader for consuling… then to OVER SEXED REHAB… GIVE ME A BREAK… GO JUMP ON AIG and BANK OF AMERICA EXECS– NOW THEY ARE DIRTY!!!

  12. rags - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:14 PM

    There’s nothing offensive about the side-view pose! However, a front-view pose would’ve amplified her natural beauty.

  13. Phil DeSoto - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    It’s just a ski pose. I live in a ski town (Mammoth Lakes CA.)

  14. Lisa Pennington - Feb 5, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    I don’t think the cover photo is offensive. The annual swimsuit issue shows women barely dressed. You don’t hear anyone saying those are offensive. It’s just a ski pose.

  15. T-Bone - Feb 5, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    So she has an outstanding body that includes a shapely bum! That’s the product of the YEARS of tireless work she’s put in to her sport. Don’t devalue her effort by focusing on all the possible ways we can be offended instead of the bigger point – she’s a world class athlete who is at the top of her game.

  16. BC - Feb 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    Thank you all for re-affirming. She’s wearing what she wears when she races. She’s not posing in freaking underwear or body paint. That fact that is good-looking is an “oh-by-the-way”. Tom Brady is good looking. LeBron James. Lisa Leslie. Anika Sorenstam. Derek Jeter. David Beckham. Any objectifying there? They’ve
    all been on mag covers in glam photos and looked great doing it.
    Completely overblown….

  17. Rick Chandler - Feb 5, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    T-bone! T-bone! T-bone! …

  18. Maggie - Feb 5, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    The big deal is her rump is up in the air and it is obviously the focus of the photograph. She should be ashamed of herself for allowing the photographer to do this.

  19. Kevin Loney - Feb 5, 2010 at 10:13 PM

    Really?? Have you ever watched a Down Hill Ski event? I gather not. It’s a tuck position – it is for SPEED – that is what the event is about and she is one of the fastest people in the world, male or female, on a pair of skiis.

  20. Charlie - Feb 6, 2010 at 1:06 AM

    Gretchen Bleiler is a dog compared to Lindsay Vonn.

  21. William - Feb 6, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    If the picture was taken from behind then I could see the uproar. But, I just don’t get how this picture is objectionable.

  22. Justin - Feb 6, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    she is not HOT by anymeans, she is cute at best. Manly legs and screwed up face, but nice when it is photoshoped. If you think this photo is anything than a still shot of her going down a slope then you are not attached to reality.

  23. Greg - Feb 10, 2010 at 7:16 PM

    I’m not a feminist, don’t offend easily, and don’t have an axe to grind, but let’s at least be honest about SI’s motivation. Vonn is a good looking woman and perhaps the photo was taken innocently. But the fact that SI chose this photo to put on the cover was done for one and only one reason: the prospect of increased sales due to Vonn having her posterior aspect so prominently displayed. Would a man be portrayed this way, skier or not? Yeah right.

  24. Greg - Feb 11, 2010 at 11:15 AM

    You may note that the photo was taken on level ground, then turned to put her bottom in the air. Look at the mountains in the background. They rotated with the rest of the shot. If Vonn is okay with the shot, it doesn’t really matter who else objects to it. But to think that SI had no idea what they were doing or was oblivious to the attention the shot would generate is beyond naive.

  25. swellin - Feb 17, 2010 at 2:55 AM

    Wow wow wow, This photo is not sexy at all, maybe that was the intent by SI but the fact is this position is not sexy, if her back was arched, thats a different story, but she is innocently in a TUCK position. It does not matter that it was on level ground, how would they take a decent picture of her if she were actually going down hill. This is about her, so they need to see her face and not a blurry mess. Its not like she is on here hands and knees