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Why Sports Illustrated’s Latest Swim Issue Shows Body Positivity And Fashion Are Moving In The Right Direction

Over the last few years, media, companies, and advertisements have been moving towards better reflecting the population. And with doing that, we’re seeing an increase in diversity of bodies, races, and religions from the brands we love. This movement is now making its way into the fashion and clothing industry. 

Women are seeing their body types, cellulite, dimples, stretch marks, and scars reflected in ads, shopping catalogs, and social media. And now, the modeling industry and the trendsetters of beauty are finally mirroring that. 

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has been a reflection for beauty standards and what was considered sexy for decades. This year the media immediately took notice of a few photos this time around and applauded them for moving with the times. 

The SI 2019 swim issue had three covers. One with Tyra Banks, mirroring her first cover for SI Swimsuit 23 years ago when she was the first Black woman to grace the cover alone in 1997. Another with Alex Morgan, a player on the USA National Women’s Soccer team. And the final cover with Camille Kostek, winner of the 2018 SI Swim Model Search and this year’s SI Swimsuit Rookie. 

All the covers side by side reflect a different type of body. Tyra’s covers not only have a 23-year difference, but she’s also 25 pounds heavier in the new cover. In Morgan’s cover, she not only looks beautiful but athletic and fit. And Kostek’s cover shows her sun-kissed tan with a smile while leaving in a dusting of her stretch marks and freckles. 

SI also made the news for including Halima Aden, a Muslim model, as the first to wear a hijab and burkini for the swimsuit issue. And they included Paulina Porizkova, a 54-year-old model, who’s been vocal about ageism in modeling. 

The messaging is loud and clear here, Sports Illustrated has heard you. 

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Companies, brands, and ads have realized the importance of diversity and moving forward. And if you don’t think your voices aren’t being heard, ask Victoria Secret. That company has been losing out to other companies and sales for a while now. A lot of it boils down to its lack of diversity in bodies, beauty standards, and being outdated during this body positivity movement.

Things aren’t what they used to be. Females are not just being sexualized in bikinis on the beach with wet hair and sandy skin. They’re also not just fair-skinned, flawless, and modelesque thin and tall. Women aren’t only a fantasy to be sold for 42 minutes during a Victoria Secret fashion show that’s losing viewers each year on television. 

Women are what’s being reflected in this issue of SI. These women look like women we probably know, who we’ve passed by at the store, or what we see in the mirror. Girls and women get to look at something as popular as SI Swimsuit and see confident women enjoying and embracing their bodies in bathing suits. Can Sports Illustrated and other companies do better? Obviously. But if this isn’t a marker that the fashion industry is catching the body positivity bug and moving forward, then I don’t know what is.

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