In case you missed it, this year the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition has grabbed some bikinis, some women and the #MeToo movement, and thrown them together in a message of anti-objectification through a vessel of historical objectification.
Sounds silly, huh?
If you ask the magazine’s editor MJ Day, the issue let the models take control of their own shoots in an industry that rarely sees them as anything more than their dress size.
“That’s an underlying thread that exists throughout the Swimsuit issue. You have Harvard graduates, you have billion-dollar moguls, you have philanthropists, you have teachers, you have mothers — you have a full range of women represented in the alumnus of this magazine, and not one of them failed because they wore a bikini,” she told Vanity Fair in an interview about the issue.
According to Vanity Fair, Day is trying to “make a magazine where models were as much participants as objects.”
“Women are usually confined to one category—like she’s the bombshell,” Day later told Glamour. “But she’s also a mum, a businesswoman, so much more. It’s frustrating.”
Because of this, Day gave the women a little remnant of power back, encouraging them to label themselves in the ways they would prefer to be perceived. In the most literal sense, they grabbed a pen, and wrote the labels across their naked bodies. Robyn Lawley wrote Mother, Nurturer, Lover, Creative. Aly Raisman wrote Survivor.
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More than that, she said the decision to marry the two – a movement on female empowerment and an institution that celebrates the female form – didn’t necessarily come from a post-Weinstein era fixated on how women are portrayed, considered and dealt with both publicly and privately.
“We were having these conversations months ago, before Harvey Weinstein, about how women are perceived in the media, how women are perceived in the workplace,” Day told Glamour. “It was all very conscious.”