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?


  • Michele

    Dear Sports Illustrated,
    After a bit of a hectic day, I was assailed by the cover of your swimsuit issue while innocently waiting in line at the gas station. Most days, I could laugh it off or ignore it, but for some reason, seeing that image hit me like a ton of bricks. I went home, wrapped myself in a blanket, sat outside in the cold to evade my family, and had a good pity party. My sweet husband’s kindness finally pulled me out of the funk. However, the sting has continued to linger somewhat like a splinter under a fingernail, so I wanted to send you a “thank you” note.
    Thanks for putting your butts in my face.
    Thanks for putting your naked butts in my husband’s face.
    Thanks for making me feel less beautiful.
    Thanks for the attack on my marriage by giving my husband one more temptation while he waits in line at the gas station for his daily stop.
    Thanks for another burden as a mother who tries to teach my daughters modesty and my sons to respect women.
    I think it was Shakespeare who said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.” Thanks for taking something beautiful and turning it into something ugly, lewd, and disrespectful.
    Thanks for offending my religion which values the dignity of each person including women, purity of men, and fighting for the common good.
    Thanks for degrading women everywhere by feeding their insecurities and propagating illusions of what true beauty is. Thanks for insulting women by turning them into a commodity, exposing, exhibiting and exploiting them for your financial gain. You know there are things more valuable than money?
    Thanks for hurting men everywhere by exploiting their weakness, under-mining their natural role to protect their wives and daughters from harm.
    Thanks for hurting marriages by putting pornography on the shelves of gas stations.
    Thanks for dissing diversity of people and religions that love purity and hate lust.
    Thanks for your corporate greed that values profit over the common good.
    Thanks for your part in turning America into the land of the lewd and selfish.
    In summary, thanks for trashing me, my gender, my marriage, my family, my religion, my community – in short – everything I cherish.
    Thanks a lot.

  • David

    Very interesting and worth thinking about!

  • Jen

    It is amazing that this particular form of objectification is so mainstream and so accepted. A far cry from, “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out,” isn’t it?

  • Mary

    Really great article. Do not be dismayed by the lack of “views” counted. Since I have been banned by google for defending Holy Matrimony, I’ve noticed my “views” are not counted on sites that link with (g). So, you’re likely getting more views than are counted.

  • Rebecca

    This goes with all thing that Christ talked about that doesn’t please the Father. Our first and most important aspect of our walk with God is bringing glory and praise to HIM. Pray for these people involved in this type of porn.



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