Swimsuits, sex and a sporting chance at progress

By Kit-Bacon Gressitt

UPDATE: See below.

SportsIllusCvr2014I was just shopping at Fallbrook's local grocery store, Major Market, and I noticed this juxtaposition of sexualized female bodies with the bottom row of the magazine rack, where the kids' magazines are displayed. I figured, well, they do have nice tushies, and there is a flap that's supposed to cover the tushies, and I started to walk away. But that darn juxtaposition was gnawing at my conscience, and the flap wasn't cutting the mustard. So, I took the photo, went to the manager's desk, and showed the image to the young man there.

"What's wrong with this picture?" I asked him.

He looked from me to my phone and then back at me with a befuddled face and said, "Um."

If he'd said anything else—even,"They aren't showing enough breast"—I'd have been less dismayed. That, at least, would have been funny—sexist, but funny. But all I got was an "Um."

I contemplated explaining the sexualization of women's bodies and the inappropriate nature of juxtaposing such imagery with kids' magazines. But I opened my mouth, and his look went from befuddled to puckered with a hint of "This old hag is fricken nuts—somebody help me please!"

So I said, "The breasts and tushies are right where children will be looking at the kids' magazines."

"Oh, oh," he said, "maybe I could move them?"

"Move them, yes, great idea. Thank you so much."

When I finished shopping and checked back on the magazine aisle, he'd moved the Sports Illustrated display just about 2.5 feet to the right.

This is not progress.

Love, K-B

UPDATE: I thought it would be interesting to get Facebook's read on the Sport Illustrated cover, as FB has been notoriously inconsistent about what it has allowed (such as pornographic images passing as satire) and what it hasn't allowed (such as breastfeeding images). To its credit, Facebook would not advertise this post "because it violates Facebook's ad guidelines by including a sexual image that shows excessive amounts of skin or focuses unnecessarily on body parts." . . .  Hallooo, Sport Illustrated?

Photo credit: K-B Gressitt, taken with that thing that's supposed to be a phone