Let Me Mansplain That Sports Illustrated Cover For You, Little Lady!
Lindsey Vonn is on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Womentalksports.com notes
Vonn is first a GREAT athlete, but she also represents norm of feminine attractiveness. The combination of athleticism and attractiveness make Vonn the likely poster girl of the US Olympic Team, and the media hasn’t disappointed in constructed her as such.
Not to be left out, Sports Illustrated is featuring Vonn on their February 8,2010 cover (pictured here). For those of you who follow SI Covers, know that female athletes are RARELY featured on the cover.
Over the last 60 years researchers have shown that about 4% of all SI covers have portrayed women.
When females are featured on the cover of SI, they are more likely than not to be in sexualized poses and not in action-and the most recent Vonn cover is no exception.
Silly ladeez! Chris Chase mansplains why you are WRONG!!!! (Though I note, alas, poor Chris is unable to actually directly link to the womentalksports.com post he is mansplaining.)
Because the ladybranes are tiny, I am here to help. I am going to translate Chris’s mansplaining post into a more direct communication that really gets the message across, so that even the teeniest tiniest ladybraned ladeez out there will understand what is meant. Chase’s original text is in boldface. Here we go!
Vonn’s semi-provocative pose has drawn predictable ire from some whiny women who are probably ugly. She’s an athlete, not a sex symbol, the shrieking harridans wail, as if women athletes could ever be just athletic.They have a point that SI never puts women on the cover except in swimsuits, but Vonn’s cover is awesome because, while she is posed in a classic come-hither-and-fuck-me-hard-you-know-you-wanna stance, the pose at least resembles the tuck stance vagina skiers (though, of course, not penis skiers) take when barrelling down the hill. It’s exaggerated, of course, but not gratuitously so. It’s not as if SI put her in blackface and had her sing a minstrel tune. That would be racist.
Also, this is Vonn’s moment, so it’s especially important that we be reminded that she is hot and fuckable. If she wins multiple golds in Vancouver, Vonn has the potential to become a major crossover star. She’d be like Michael Phelps, only with better looks and an actual personality (plus hetero d00ds would want to fuck her). Landing on the SI cover with her hot ass in the air, that long blond hair swinging in the breeze, and the plummy mouth ever-so-suggestively open is a good way for her to start the Vonn saturation campaign. It’s as important for her as it is the magazine, and pornifying Vonn to sell a few magazines is just the beginning. The pose is suggestive, sure, but it’s not objectifying, because all women are pornified in America like this. The headline reads “America’s best woman skier ever”, for Jean-Claude’s sake! Why can’t she be both the best skier in the world and a sex object, too? Tom Brady’s a great athlete and a handsome dude and I don’t hear people whine when he’s shirtless in GQ, and that is so exactly the same thing in a culture that objectifies women 24/7 as the playthings of men who are glorified for their sexual prowess.
Most importantly, this cover is almost identical to the one that ran on SI’s Winter Olympic preview in 1992. That one featured a gentleman named A.J. Kitt and I’m pretty sure nobody complained that it was too provocative, possibly because he was wearing helmet and goggles and wasn’t lookin’ all sassy at the camera as if begging for some hot d00d to come ram a stiff cock right up his humped up ass. Or even just because images of bent over d00ds on magazine covers aren’t burnt into our collective brain as a signifier of “take me, I’m yours”.