Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition
Every year, Sports Illustrated produces and sells their very popular Swimsuit Edition where a widely known gorgeous woman is featured on the cover with a spread layout inside as well. Famous models, such as Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and Christie Brinkley have graces the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition for almost 50 years, however, the only non-model to make it was Beyonce Knowles in the 2007 issue.
Non-models like athletes Serena Williams and Anna Kournikova have been displayed in photo insets and magazine spreads all inside the magazine, though never on the cover until Beyonce. People loved that a beautiful, talented, real woman with a normal figure was placed on the Sports Illustrated cover. She provided inspiration to female viewers and proved to the entertainment, modeling, and advertising industries that beauty was much more than tall and thin. It was wonderful to see a true role model, rather than every other cover model, on such a widespread magazine.
The public finally saw Sports Illustrated in a different light: less degrading towards women. However, the magazine unfortunately regressed and the next four Swimsuit Editions once again featured thin models who didn’t attribute to a more positive society. For example, the 2011 issue had model Irina Shayk. According to the Biography of Beyonce Knowles at http://www.notablebiographies.com/news/Ge-La/Knowles-Beyonc.html, she has won 16 Grammy Awards over her career and has sold 75 million records worldwide, making her one of the best selling music artists of all time. In addition, she was ranked second on the Forbes 100 Most Powerful and Influential Celebrities in the World and very first for the Most Powerful and Influential Musicians in the World. Finally, she played the lead role in the movie Dreamgirls, an inspirational movie about a female African American singing group. Im sorry, but what did Irina do that even comes close to measuring up to Beyonce’s criteria?
A slow change is definitely apparent in the industries dealing with the media, but a more drastic one should be on its way in order to provide change the concept of beauty. Sports Illustrated made an influential change by featuring Beyonce Knowles on their Swimsuit Edition cover, and should continue to do so by placing more beautiful and talented women in their magazine.