From year to year I can never remember if the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue comes with a cover on top of the cover to mask the nearly naked woman up front, but I know that I always flip it upside down regardless because I never want to take the chance that one of my neighbors will catch a glimpse of me carrying around a picture of someone else’s boobs.
I know it’s not porn – the women are always wearing something, even if it’s just body paint or some well-placed sand (although let’s be honest, there’s often a thin line between legitimate modeling and a sex tape distributed widely on the Internet for $29.99). And I don’t think of myself as a prude, and yet when my husband’s SI arrives this week, I think I’ll still keep the magazine hidden from my daughter.
To be sure, the human body is a beautiful thing, and the bodies in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition are certainly not an exception. This year’s cover model, Irina Shayk, is a bombshell. But raising a little girl, I wonder at what point body image issues will start to seep into her consciousness. While the jury is out (in my courtroom, at least) on whether Barbie dolls are good or bad for little girls, I’d rather that the real life, larger-than-life women she notices first in her life are doing things other than showing off their goods.
While she’s only 2 — and thinks Dora the Explorer and Cinderella both hung the moon — I guess I just know what’s ahead of her in terms of things like the SI swimsuit edition and the non-magazine issues she could very well face in terms of her own body. I know very few girls and women who have escaped childhood without an insecure moment (or scores of them). And while I’m sure Irina Shayk is a beautiful person inside, too, I just don’t see a need to expose my little one to her and the other playmates, er, models, in this week’s SI just yet.
Will you let your kids look at the SI swimsuit issue?
Image: Sports Illustrated