February 17, 2010 by Stacy McDonald

Sports Illustrated Continues to Degrade Women!

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Two years ago, I blogged about the fact that Sam’s Club was displaying the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, featuring a topless woman, in full view of families. You can read the post HERE.

Unfortunately, Sports Illustrated is still about the business of degrading women, harming families, and disgracing society. This year on the cover another topless model is featured. The American Decency Association has this to say about the 2010 issue:

Starting with the topless woman on the cover, SI gets to the real purpose of the issue – the pornographic exhibition of women for the pleasure of men. Page after page reveals erotically posed young women sometimes topless, sometimes – at the most – in barely there bikinis. Each lust-producing display reinforces the message to ogling men and boys that women are nothing more than sexual objects to be used. And wives and young girls, whose husbands or fathers bring home this issue, are given the message that to be loved they must degrade themselves and that their worth is dependent upon their body and bust size.

As young girls starve themselves; as women undergo all sorts of painful surgeries to compete with the “new normal;” and as the decency of our culture erodes into moral debauchery; companies like Sports Illustrated cash in on the humiliation and exploitation of women.

And it gets worse. The sexual exploitation of children continues to increase in our society. Instead of petticoats and playgrounds, our little girls are taught to “flaunt their stuff” in mini dresses and black fish net stockings. Read Childhood Innocence under Fire.

It is crucial that we wake up and take action! It will continue to get worse until the church gets active. Glorifying God has a little to do with saying He is great, and a lot to do with proving that He is. Pray, speak out, write letters, write blog posts, spread the word on Facebook; grab these companies by their perverted pocketbooks and say, “No! We will not stand by while you strip our daughters of their dignity!”

Don’t be fooled into thinking this will not affect you. If we are silent, it is to the shame and detriment of us and our children.

Check back later to find out how else you can help.

Here is the SAMPLE LETTER you can send to your local grocery stores, Sam’s Clubs, Walmarts etc. Please take the time to write and demand that these stores stop helping Sports Illustrated degrade us and our daughters!

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29 Responses to “Sports Illustrated Continues to Degrade Women!”

  1. Autumn says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this.

  2. mosey says:

    I am so thankful that you are addressing this subject so head on. I couldn't agree more… I try to address the subject on my blog as well

  3. MommaMindy says:

    I agree with the issue that women are being exploited. But, men wouldn't be able if women weren't so willing. There are always going to be women who love to be sexual.

    I know you agree, people need the Lord, they need the life-changing message of the Gospel. Financial pressure will change for a season, but only when hearts change will clothing/activities change. I love to read stories of the changes in society because of the Great Awakening.

    I love your passion!

  4. Stacy McDonald says:

    Hi Civilla,

    I think that's a good point. We can't appeal to their sense of religious conviction because most of them don't have any. But hopefully we can all agree that women should be treated with respect and dignity – rather than like pieces of meat for ogling men to enjoy over a cold beer.

    I tried the link and it worked for me. If you'd like, I could send it to you in a Word doc. But here is what it says:

    Dear ________,
    My name is ____ and I am [some personal information, family involvement with ministry or church, local civic activity, etc]
    My [husband/wife] and I, along with our children, live in [city or area]; and aside from this one troubling issue, we have always been happy shopping at your [city or location] store.

    I have to say, I was absolutely appalled to see in your store, in full view of my children, a large display of magazines [name of magazine(s)]. These magazines [is/are] nothing more than soft pornography and I am outraged that families are subjected to this smut while innocently shopping in your stores.

    By carrying [this/these] magazine(s) you are helping to promote products that degrades women, harms families, and contributes to the moral decay of society. There are many others like me who don't appreciate companies that promote illicit sex and neglect the moral safety of families (and children) who shop in their stores. I plead with you to pull these offensive products from your shelves immediately.

    Please know that I will be actively participating in a campaign to purge these magazines from the stores we frequent. At the very least, we insist that you cover the offensive magazines from view. For those stores that refuse to hear our pleas, we will be forced to boycott them; and we will actively push for others to take a stand and shop elsewhere.
    I have always considered [name of store] a family-friendly store. Please, for the good of American families and society, please stop selling pornography.

  5. Treasures from a Shoebox says:

    Thanks for addressing this! I've reposted on FB, as one of my friends had complained of this just the other day. She actually went to the manager of Wal-Mart and asked what could be done about it. The manager said she wasn't sure of their policy (regarding pornography). When my friend returned to the store a few days later, the magazines were GONE! Speaking up really can be effective!

  6. ?Julie? says:

    You know what's also bad? Going to the grocery store with my children and trying to keep my 9 year old(who will literally reade everything!) away from the displays of Cosmopolitan and the other "womens" magazines that have explicit sexual conversation splashed all over the front cover! It's bad enough to sell it-MUST you put it out where my child can read such filth?

  7. Stacy McDonald says:

    I'm thinking of starting a group/association that would help to promote businesses that agreed to our "family friendly" guidelines – a stamp of approval so to speak. Not sure exactly how it would work.

    What are your biggest complaints? I'm thinking NO magazines in check out lines that show nakedness, sexual poses, or have verbiage that is sexual, crude, or obscene. And none at all in the store that are in the sight of customers (without covers).

    If we could find a few grocery stores (and maybe Costco) etc. that would work with us, we could direct customers (and urge others to do the same) to the family friendly stores, and away from those bent on making a buck off the degradation of women.

    It would be nice if they didn't sell them at all, but for now I'll settle for them keeping it out of my and my family's sight. We shouldn't be forced to see this stuff.

    Maybe there could be different levels of family friendly. If they don't carry the magazines at all, they could get some sort of extra endorsement. Hmmm….

  8. Jeanette says:

    Thank you, Stacy, for keeping us aware always of how it doesn't matter what we may believe if we don't scream it from the roof tops. We can't make a difference if we don't speak out, letting business' know that we are watching. I think your idea of a "stamp of approval" is a fantastic idea. Networking with other organizations that are against moral decay, gathering our resources and making our voices heard.

    Even if it doesn't change how some will do business, it would help those of us that don't want to help them prosper if they won't listen to us know the places we can spend our money without encourageing them to continue making those things appealing before peoples eyes.

    I am so grateful to know you.

  9. Kate says:

    It's not just the exploitation of women. It's the exploitation of men, too. While men make the ultimate decision whether or not to buy this filth, they are continually assaulted and tempted. Sometimes, it's like being drawn to a movie or a magazine article that looks really good and then, oops, the next scene or the next page has some airbrushed girl plastered across it.

    Magazines like SI make a LOT of money off of tempting men, excusing such behavior and turning sin into "something ok." They put out there magazines in hopes of drawing not only those addicted to magazines like Playboy, but also those who wouldn't dream of buying a Playboy but think SI is "safe enough" or that little wife won't get "that mad about." Teenage boys can buy SI without showing ID.

    MommaMindy makes a good point in "men wouldn't be able if women weren't so willing. There are always going to be women who love to be sexual." And there are always going to be men who buy into it.

    We have to be the squeaky wheel and continue to hold stores, the women and the men to a higher standard than the low expectations already out there.

  10. JulyGulf says:

    Does anyone know of any retailers who refuse to sell the magazine or at the very least don't openly display it? We also need to thank those establishments for taking a stand.

  11. Persuaded says:

    Stacy, I admit that I have always been one to shy away from addressing issues like this. I'm not quite sure why… it's certainly not from an indifference of heart or mind towards p*rnography and especially the s*xualiztion of children. I despise such things with all of my heart and have been personally affected by them.

    I admire your courage and dedication, and I'll be praying about my own role in coming against such things as this?

    Bless you dear.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I have come to find that Sports Illustrated isn't the only "sports" magazine doing this. ESPN has an issue that came out last year called the "Body Issue" It was even worse than SI, as the model on the cover… 100% nude, but with arms and legs strategically placed.

    Want to be further outraged? Monika Schnarre was the cover model at only 17 years old.

    Paulina Porizkova was a SI swimsuit cover model for the Jamaica edition at just age 15, and completely topless!!

    This goes deeper than just disturbing and defiling magazines at our local Walmart and Sams Club. Do we stand for and cheer for modesty in our own family? Of course! But I think it's time we toss down our religious pom poms and roll up our sleeves.

    Write letters, email, call, go to the store. We can make a difference!

  13. Jessica says:

    I saw this issue on a magazine stand in the airport today. I was a little taken back, because it was displayed central on the rack and very much at a young child's eye level.

    I just don't understand how people can proudly display something like that free of conscience.

  14. Baby Blessings says:

    I saw a whole stand full of SI swimsuit issues at Wal-Mart last weekend. They were on their own "special" stand at the perfect height for a child. I wanted to scream, "Doesn't anybody care!?" I appealed to our local Wal-Mart to stop selling them or to at least put them somewhere out of the sight of the innocent! She said the best thing to do is to call 1-800-walmart. If enough people call maybe it would change. Our Kroger did put papers covering them up when I complained. It seems so futile to say anything, but if everyone would, it could make a difference. It is sad that I can't even take my 14 year old boy in stores anymore!

  15. Stacy McDonald says:

    We've been discussing the idea of having protest rallies at some of these stores (and perhaps even video taping a few for Youtube, to give other people the idea).

    Here's the concept: Invite as many families as you can (children and all) to join you for a "meeting" at Walmart/Sam's wherever. Walk in together as a huge group and head to the customer service counter. I'm contemplating whether or not the media should be called.

    You'll certainly have an audience as you confront the manager as to why they insist on showing the children of their faithful customers pornography. Pornography degrades women, damages children, harms families, and destroys marriages. Doesn't Walmart care about their customers?

    Someone with a nice clear, loud (yet gracious) voice should speak to the manager so that all the other customers can hear.

    Also, someone should go and confront the manager alone FIRST. Give him/her a chance to remove the magazines before doing this. But let him/her know that if they're not removed within 24 hours, you'll be back. Fair warning and all.

    Afterward everyone could meet together at someone's house for a shared meal/cookies etc. :-)

  16. Jane says:

    I love the "stamp of approval" idea.

    As to why it doesn't bother stores to have this trash displayed so openly, I think much of it goes back to the over-sexualization of our society through the media. Whether through video games, TV, music, movies, etc. It has been a gradual change (the last 40 years or so), like the proverbial frog in a pot of warm water heated to boiling. It has become the norm.

    Great ideas, Stacy.

  17. Suzanne says:

    It is distressing to see these mags in the likes of Sam's and the grocers. I usually don't take my 14 yo son into the store for this very reason!

  18. Sarah says:

    Thank you again Stacy for using your voice to do Gods will.

    I have recently posted on this issue within my own country (Ireland). My post was entitled 'A lewd Affair at Tesco'. I have since updated this post with the outcome so far of my meeting with my local stores manager. I hope that it will encourage other Christians to speak out too!

    God Bless

  19. Michelle says:

    Just found my way to your blog while blog surfing and I enjoyed reading that other's are speaking out on these issues!

    We do need to speak out and up…and LOUD.

    One of your commentors said that women couldn't be exploited if the women weren't so willing. In one way that's true.

    But I do think we have to remember that WE, as Christian women are affected and exploited also because of the actions of those women who pose, men who read it, magazine publisher for publishing, and stores for selling it.

    No matter who's responsible for this garbage, we will all suffer from the exploitation that results from it. When we are in public and try to nurse our children, we have people who are disgusted by it…could it be because of magazines like this…people who have so sexualized women that people now see breastfeeding as some sort of perversion? Our daughters are stared at in inappropriate ways by men who view women as sexual objects.

    I'm just trying to say, irregardless of whose fault the exploitation is, we all have a responsibility to fight this!

    Thank you for the encouragement to do something.

  20. TheFrazzledMama says:

    I agree! What is the most shocking to me this year is that the special display racks for this years SI Swimsuit Ed. is only about 2 feet tall. Who are they marketing to really? I blogged about this for the past two days. I also started a group on Facebook, for anyone who wants to join. The idea is to get Publix (our main local grocery) to remove these types of magazines from a 4 year old's eye level.

  21. ginnicsim says:

    Hi Stacy,
    Thank you for the stand you take on femininity and godliness. I appreciate reading your posts and your books! (You can delete the following from the comment before posting it – it's just for you – If you have time, would there be anyway you could e-mail me? I have tried contacting you with the address listed in your profile, but it bounces. I have a question for you about Raising Maidens of Virtue.)

    Nicole H. Simpson

  22. Courtney Walsh says:

    Stacy, funny, my mom sent me this link because I just blogged on this very same topic.


    I intend to ask bookstores and especially grocery stores to move this issue so my children don't have to be subjected to it. I can't believe how blatantly shoved in our face this is… and yes, I am angry.

    Thank you for writing about this, I am going to link your blog next week if that's ok?

  23. Julie says:

    As a mom of three young daughters (soon, praise the Lord, to be 4) I have the worst time trying to keep their focus on Jesus. My youngest
    (8) right now, espcially, is enthralled with the look and texture of the world. She loves the skimpy clothing and overly made up dolls.
    When this is thrust at her from every angle no matter where we are at it's just so hard. Even in church her favorite teenage girl can't find any clothes to wear apparently.
    It breaks my heart!
    Thank you Mrs. McDonald, for standing up! Thank you for speaking out. I feel so helpless sometimes when I seem to be the one lone voice crying in the wilderness. Thank you!

  24. Grace says:

    I just saw that magazine in the store the other day and couldn't believe it! I've never see anything like that! I was just disgusted. My sisters and I covered up all the magazines we could find. I can't believe women are willing to degrade themselves that way. :(

  25. Farrah says:

    I left something for you on my blog!

  26. waymon says:

    I saw the SL at Walmart. My husband and I was looking for the SL Saints Super bowl mag. I was absolutly shocked! I told my husband Don't look there Turn your head! He did and then I explain what was on one of the covers of SL. I was shocked that walmart would put a topless woman in view of everyone. I feel for my family.

  27. moneybagsmel says:

    I'm totally with you on this one. I just discovered the magazines at my Sam's Club this evening. Read about my experience on my blog: http://stephenkingswife.com/2010/03/10/walmart-chooses-pornography-over-family-values.aspx. What more can we do? I'm very interested in discussing the options!

  28. Liberia Adoption says:

    I always turn the magazines backwards when I stand in line with my children. My daughter does it now too. It won't change the world, but it may save someone from seeing the yucky stuff. I read somewhere that every year the Swimsuit issue is by far the biggest money maker for Sports Illustrated. Sheesh! What does that say about our society?

  29. Meowhouse says:

    Ladies, you are all saying the same thing I have been complaining about since I was five years old, and I am 49 now! People responded that I was a prude or need to grow up. So after yesterday, Thanksgiving of all days, I had to do something (I planned to spend the weekend at the mountain cabin with my friends, and they know how I feel about female exploitation and proceeded to expose me to two days of this stuff. I ended up going home a day early.) Today was my day to find you. And I am so glad I did.
    Game plan: write your congressperson, tv programmers, cable networks, (as many of you suggested) grocery stores, FCC, and the board of directors for the respective organizations. I will start accumulating information and share the links with you.
    (p.s. i loved the turning the mags over… I did that and the man behind me defiantly turned back …)

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