• Sex, Swimsuits, and Sports Illustrated: Visually Analyzing the Evolution of Style, Skin, and Place in the SI Swimsuit Edition

      ConKright, Lucia; Department of Communications (Augusta University, 2017-05)
      Of the countless magazines in circulation in the United States, the widespread popularity of the Sports Illustrated is obvious; in fact, one can hardly pass a newsstand without seeing one. Since 1964, when model Babette March appeared on the cover of SI in a white bikini against the tropical backdrop of an island paradise, the SI Swimsuit Edition has graced shelves annually during the winter months. Since receiving “special issue” status in 1997, the magazine has become the single best-selling issue in the magazine franchise of Time Inc., selling more than one million copies on newsstands and boasting more than three million subscribers (Spector, D., 2013). In 2016, the SI Swimsuit Edition once again appeared on shelves nationwide; this time with three separate covers. Notable about these covers was, for the first time in the history of the edition, the inclusion of a plus-size model and a professional athlete, both a noticeable step away from the traditional models featured on the cover of the Swimsuit Edition in years past. Whether a signifier of changing times or a precursor to evolving standards of magazine models, the 2016 covers of the SI Swimsuit Edition marked a dramatic change in the magazine. In investigating this development, this study covers the history of the SI Swimsuit Edition magazine and asks the question: how has the magazine changed in terms of swimwear, setting, and cover model from the first cover in 1964 to the three covers released in 2016? [Introduction]