Marybeth Barrett, author of Art & Soul Living

For all you parents out there, do you think the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue went too far this year?

I am not here to ask Sports Illustrated to STOP exploiting women by producing the swimsuit edition magazine. Someone else can take that stand if they feel strongly about it. But I feel that the Swimsuit Issue needs a cover up when it comes to the DISTRIBUTION of the magazine. I am here to offer a simple solution. A tiny little cover up with an added little warning. That is all I ask.

If you don’t have a child peering over your shoulder while reading this, you can click to see the original cover here.

And, here is an example of a mailing with a simple cover up:


That’s all I am asking for!

Do you feel that the editors of this magazine have a moral responsibility to protect our children?

Let me paint a picture for you and put it another way. How would you feel if I took a scantily clad photo of myself, while playing peek-a-boo with my lady parts, and knowingly placed it in hands of a minor (child under 18)? How would that make you feel? What do you think would happen? How would parents of these minors react? I think I would be deemed certifiable and probably have charges of indecent exposure brought against me.

My concern and discontent started when my 8 and 11 year old boys came running into the house a couple weeks ago after getting the mail. At that moment, Sports Illustrated successfully sexually aroused minors and I wonder if they are OK with that. I had been stalking the mailman daily knowing that this edition was coming…but of course I missed it that day and they got the mail. Oops, there it is!

I have a problem when this explicit cover photo is so easily accessible and ends up in the hands of a minor with such an overly seductive cover. Whether it is acquired by getting it out of their own mailbox or simply by standing in the checkout line at the grocery store and seeing it on the magazine rack. Houston, we have a problem.

My opinion or interpretation of this year’s provocative photo is that it is soliciting and inviting a minor to want to look further into her bikini bottoms to see her lady parts. Yup, she is all about the Nether region. My question goes back to my example above that if it is not acceptable for an everyday citizen like myself to place such a photo in the hands of a minor, when did society determine it was OK for a large publication to be able to do so? It makes no sense.

Dear Sport Illustrated, would you please just cover it up?

My husband and boys are avid readers of the regular Sports Illustrated issue. We get both the adult and kid versions, so we support the magazine 99% of the year and love it. My husband did say that you can opt out from receiving this Swimsuit issue. So, Sports Illustrated has made some strides to do something. I give them credit for that. But, it isn’t enough. Were you even aware of this option? I sure wasn’t.

Other magazines like Playboy, Hustler, etc. place a plastic wrap around the magazine have to mask the cover photo. Why doesn’t Sports Illustrated? I am aware that the other magazines have full nudity, but you can’t tell me that this year’s Swimsuit cover is just a photo of a bikini model. It is NOT just a girl in a bathing suit. She is clearly setting off a very sexual vibe with an invitation for people to want to take a peek into what is left to be exposed under those barely there bikini bottoms.

I try to be a good Mom and protect my kids where I can. I block websites and certain TV programs. I am certainly not a prude. I am not perfect. I curse like a sailor. I just don’t like the fact that my kids didn’t have a personal choice whether they saw this controversial photo or not. I get that it is like a right of passage when a boy finds his first Playboy magazine. I know it happens. I remember finding some hidden Playboy magazines in piles of leaves as a kid in my neighbor’s backyard with some of my male friends. But, at least the Dad tried to hide them. We didn’t find them in the mailbox.

Of course I would love this swimsuit model and others like her to really think about the effects of what she is doing by exposing herself to minors. I truly feel that if she knew the extent of it, she would not feel so good about herself. I will gladly give her the benefit of the doubt that she never even thought about the fact that she may be seducing an 8 or 11 year old. Gosh, she is probably just past being a minor and is almost a child herself.  I guess the term is true, if you got it, flaunt it, but let’s spare our children.

So, the parent in me is very curious. Are you OK with this or would you love to see future delivery of this Swimsuit Issue covered up so our children can’t see it? Did this issue of Sports Illustrated cross the line into pornography? Where do you stand?

Please take a moment to answers some short questions on this survey.

Great Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Up Debate Survey

I am here to take a stand to help protect our minors. I would love for Sports Illustrated to be responsible by merely covering up this issue during distribution. It is a VERY SIMPLE request and task. If it turns out that it is just me who ends up a minority and I am just being a very overprotective parent, then so be it. I feel better just getting it off my chest. But, my mother’s intuition tells me that I am not alone and that we should rally together to do something about it.

If you have a strong opinion like me and would love for next year to have the issue covered up upon delivery and distribution, please take a moment to sign this petition. Let’s Cover up this Issue! We aren’t asking Sports Illustrated to stop making the issue, just to please simply mask the sexually charged material that is not suitable for minors.

Who is with me?