Nine Questions About the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue


One of the major events in American popular culture, it seems, is the annual release of Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Edition.  It invariably generates a lot of media attention, and many men seem to think of it as a kind of highlight of the year.

Herewith a few questions on this cultural phenomeon:


  • 1. What percentage of the Swimsuit Edition’s consumers are American Catholic men?
  • 2. What percentage of the Swimsuit Edition’s consumers are married American Catholic men?
  • 3. What, really, is the difference between the Swimsuit Edition and pornography?
  • 4. Or, to put it another way, what motive is there to look at the Swimsuit Edition that would be different from the motive for looking at pornography?
  • 5. If you can identify a theoretical motive for looking at it different from the motive for looking at pornography, how likely is it that that theoretical motive would really be the actual motive inducing you to look at it?
  • 6. Would your grandfather have approved of the Swimsuit Edition?
  • 7. Would your grandmother have approved of the Swimsuit Edition?
  • 8. Are you aware that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus (who Catholics believe is the Son of God) said this: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’  But I say to you that every one who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart'”?
  • 9. How likely is it that Jesus would have said this, and his disciples would have been careful to record it, if he had not meant it to be taken seriously?

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Carson Holloway is a political scientist and the author of The Way of Life: John Paul II and the Challenge of Liberal Modernity (Baylor University Press), The Right Darwin? Evolution, Religion, and the Future of Democracy (Spence Publishing), and All Shook Up: Music, Passion and Politics (Spence Publishing), and the editor of a collection of essays entitled Magnanimity and Statesmanship (Lexington Books). His articles have appeared in the Review of Politics, Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Perspectives on Political Science, and First Things. He is a regular contributor to the online journal The Public Discourse. Holloway was a 2005-06 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University in 1998.

1 Comment

  1. Raymond Concanmon on

    Looking at a woman and looking at a picture of a woman are two different things, are they not? If we assume Jesus was speaking seriously, then I believe we need to take him literally and not confuse human beings with inanimate objects (photographs, film, sculpture, etc.)

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