Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Photos “Racist”? Nah, Just Plain Weird

Oh precious good old innocent times when one still could speak one’s mind without filters. Political correctness goes overboard these days — even in photography matters. Everything seems to be politically incorrect — or racist. Even the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 2013 issue. That’s “sex and stereotypes,” slanders Jezebel. Really?

Prude Sports Illustrated is accused of publishing “racist” content because it used locations on all seven continents and featured people in native garb as a back drop for its swimsuit models. And that’s why the magazine must be racist.

Emily Didonato in Namibia | Sports Illustrated
Emily Didonato in Namibia | Sports Illustrated

Maybe the busy race merchants mix up “racist” with “racy,” but why not denounce feature photos shot in Spain featuring matadors as props? Or are the defendants of political correctness paranoid victims of the centrality of whiteness? Do they still feel guilty about the West’s past obsession and fetishization with so-called savages, jungle comics and the like?

Take the Sports Illustrated model photographed in China surrounded by young girls in traditional Chinese garb.

Jessica Gomes in China | Sports Illustrated
Jessica Gomes in China | Sports Illustrated
In another shot in China an older man in a bamboo cooley hat made ready to pole-push a homemade raft as the model sat alluringly by. In Namibia a white model was shown next to a black man in traditional garb.


Rather weird and bad taste.

And it makes complete sense to wear a swimsuit in the desert and the Antarctica…

Trying to highlight beauty while celebrating exotic diversity turns out to be a challenge hardly a photographer can master, however good the gear is and beautiful the models are.

And the Antarctica photo is such a bad photoshop. That’s what this debate should be about. Not about a black man used a prop in Namibia. Just imagine, showing a black man in Namibia. And Hannah Davis semi-nude in front of a Chinese temple. God! Where’s the respect!

Read somewhere that the images play on some of the most old and stereotypical images, showing especially the African as primitive as almost uncivilized.

Anne V in China | Sports Illustrated
Anne V in China | Sports Illustrated
Boy we have become paranoid. To the point where we won’t dare to do and say anything.

Still, there were no people-props used in the Australia photoshoot. Australians probably aren’t exotic enough.

In Antarctica, Kate Upton in bikinis far too small for her was joined by penguins. Black man, Chinese man, penguins… and aren’t Spanish matadors white?

Thinking of it, haven’t the models become props themselves? The body parts that aren’t are boobs.

But as always, a nice little controversy does not hurt in selling many many magazines.

Enough talk, now check out the Swimsuit 2013 edition. Boycott political correctness, ignore the weird stuff and enjoy natural beauty. You’ll find more than enough of it, promised. Just beware of the bodypaint sections.

Now that's bad bad photoshop: Kate Upton in the Antarctica | Sports Illustrated
Now that’s bad bad photoshop: Kate Upton in the Antarctica | Sports Illustrated