SALT LAKE CITY — The National Center on Sexual Exploitation condemned the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which was released on Tuesday, saying it negatively impacts the #MeToo movement.
The annual magazine issue portrays athletes in scantily clad pieces of swimwear, and this year's edition, which features a topless photo of Danielle Herrington, also embraced the #MeToo movement with women wearing words and captions that define them rather than clothes. The magazine, which included an all-female crew, labeled that section "In Her Own Words," according to NBC News.
Dawn Hawkins, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's executive director, said in a statement that the issue contributes to the culture of sexual objectification and entitlement.
“For decades, women in our culture have been drowning in the message from mainstream media, Hollywood and ‘women’s magazines’ that their self-worth lies in their sexual appeal," Hawkins said in a statement. "The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition tells women and girls of all ages that no matter how many years, or how much blood, sweat and tears you put into reaching the pinnacle of athleticism, your value as a human being still ultimately hinges on your sex appeal.
"SI Swimsuit tells men of all ages, backgrounds and demographics that you are entitled to gawk at women and girls as sex objects for your viewing pleasure,” she continued. “This message is so pervasive and so insidious that countless talented, strong, courageous women are convinced that they have to bear their bodies for untold numbers of unknown men to ogle and rate in order to feel empowered.”
She added that the magazine is not about female empowerment or promoting positive body health.
“SI Swimsuit’s doublespeak about female empowerment should fool absolutely no one. This product is not about female empowerment. It’s about Sports Illustrated making money off of the sexual objectification of women, which hurts both the women depicted and every other woman and girl in our society,” Hawkins said.4 comments on this story
The organization is encouraging people to email Target and Walgreens to request that the magazine be removed from shelves.
It also called the magazine edition a “slap in the face” to the #MeToo movement, which has been "embraced by legions of women as a vital step toward countering widespread sexual abuse and misconduct," according to the Associated Press.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has criticized past Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, calling the 2016 swimsuit issue the “Sexploitation Issue.”