Vonn Watch: Sports Illustrated Cover is Predictable

Sports Illustrated February 8, 2010 Cover

I’ve thought to myself and predicted out loud that leading up to the 2010 Vancouver Olympics that we would see a LOT of Lindsey Vonn in the media.

Vonn is first a GREAT athlete, but she also represents the norm of feminine attractiveness. The combination of athleticism and attractiveness make Vonn the likely poster girl of the US Olympic Team, and the media hasn’t disappointed in constructing her as such.

Not to be left out, Sports Illustrated is featuring Vonn on their February 8,2010 cover (pictured here). For those of you who follow SI Covers, know that female athletes are RARELY featured on the cover.

2007 Sports Illustrated Covers Featuring Women

Over the last 60 years researchers have shown that about 4% of all SI covers have portrayed women.

When females are featured on the cover of SI, they are more likely than not to be in sexualized poses and not in action–and the most recent Vonn cover is no exception.

NOTE: Please read my follow up post below in the comments section, in response to blog readers differing opinions about this post.

Follow up response:

I’ve been getting a lot of comments in this particular blog. It seems I’ve touched a nerve and many disagree with my interpretation of Vonn on the cover of SI. And many of the comments provide alternative perspectives, which is good for discussion. First, let me say I am a fan of Vonn. I have nothing against her and am proud she is a Minnesotan. I am also not saying that Vonn thrives on the attention of the sport media, or seeks it out. I believe she is being covered so frequently because of the combination of the skill, accomplishment, AND her appearance. I have to disagree that this pose is “in action”. In sport media research, we would code this Vonn cover as a passive shot. She is not actually ON the slope skiing, with her helmet on. She IS in a posed tuck position in an attempt to simulate what actually skiing would look like. Yes she is “in uniform” but not her complete uniform and she appears to be on the slope. Picture this as a way to frame what I’m trying to get at: Picture a male ski racer in a similar pose on the cover of SI, smiling at the camera. Would we see that? How would you react to that picture, verses the picture of Vonn? As one blog commenter seemed to hint at, this pose is “ok” because she is hot and sexy, so she is nice to look at. How would “we” feel if the female skier did not meet normative standards of feminine attractiveness (i.e., she was “ugly”) and was in the same pose? I appreciate everyone’s willingness to share their opinions.

Some have brought up a good point that male athletes have been photographed in similar poses, and I do not deny this fact. However, the argument is that because female athletes only receive 6-8% of all sport media coverage regardless of the medium, that when we DO see them it is MORE LIKELY in poses that highlight traditional gender norms, femininity and framed in a way that can be interpreted as sexualized. So yes, Ohno or Kitt have been on the cover in similar ways but we will more likely see male athletes in action, on the court/ice/mat, and in their uniform that we will female athletes, this is a proven fact over the last 25 years of sport media research. -nml

Follow up Part 2 (2/6/10): Thank you to everyone who has submitted a comment. I have approved a sampling of the hundreds of comments that are representative of the varying opinions about this cover and issue. As you can read in the “About This Blog” tab, my goal with this blog is “help readers see the issues I write about with a different perspective (not necessarily one that you agree with)”. It is clear not everyone agreed with the critique of the Vonn SI cover and that is the point, to stimulate dialogue about an issue.  If you are interested in one explanation as to why this post generated so much discussion and attacks on me personally , click here.

Follow up Part 3 (2/8/10): This blog got so much exposure due to the fact it was picked up by USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and more recently CoCo Perez, among other media outlets.

164 thoughts on “Vonn Watch: Sports Illustrated Cover is Predictable

  1. I am truly sorry that so many people have gotten defensive about this topic. It does make you wonder why they do. The idea that this blog is “fueled by [the blogger’s] personal bias” is absurd. If research had been done by the person who posted this, he/she would’ve seen that many other respectful researchers would agree with the blogger’s point of view. However, no research seems to have been done before. In fact, if seems that no research was done before any of the three responses this individual posted. It is true that women’s sports make little, if any, money; however, if one looks at men’s sports (please note the difference between men’s sports and professional men’s sports), one would see that they “make little (if any) money”.

    Unfortunately, the negative comments here are due to deeply rooted social and cultural issues that will not change anytime soon.

  2. There you go guy. Good for you. After my 71 years experience I must declare that 80% of women are what is now called drama queens. If there is nothing or very little to go on a particular subject the resulting responses are that of a soap opera type person. Hey, I almost forgot, could be the competitive or jealous reaction?

  3. Yes, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION FOR WOMEN 2011! If Time Warner won’t do it, maybe someone else will.

  4. It is time women demand SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION FOR WOMEN! What is good for the goose is good for the gander. I know that SI had SI for women, which failed, but have they ever tried to publish JUST a swimsuit edition, featuring male athletes in sexual poses? I know alot of women who would buy it for eye candy, others just to make a point. I say contact SI and tell them to get right on it. I will buy it. Let’s start objectifying male athletes as opposed to focusing on their skill and see how they like it.

  5. Steven G.,
    You bring up a great point in that research produces results that adds to a body of knowledge. There are many ways to produce knowledge from personal opinion or the scientific method. The great part about research is that it can be critiqued publicly–as on this blog. The idea that the world was flat, was at one time a minority opinion as well. But just because a critical analysis (which is different than being “critical”) is a minority opinion doesn’t make it any more true or false, right or wrong. All research can be argued to be biased, as research is not value neutral as some might claim. The research I am basing the analysis of the Vonn cover upon is that of the sport media research done over the last three decades (see Duncan, Messner, Kane, Hardin, Pedersen, Whisenant, and Daniels…to name a few). Thanks for bringing up a part of this issue that had not been previously touched upon. -nml

  6. This is a great cover shot of a wonderful athlete and a beautiful woman. It’s about time that we got to see a healthy body image for women on a magazine cover! I enjoy seeing a talented and athletic woman posing on the cover of any magazine, doing (or at least posed to look like she’s doing) an activity that she loves. In a world where we are force fed the images of twig thin woman who don’t eat and chain smoke to stay thin, wearing the latest fashions made to fit anorexics. This photo is a breath of fresh air. And if the fact that she is bent over makes you instantly think about sex, it is you that needs to take a good hard look in the mirror.

  7. It is interesting that several of the more recent comments support the author. She was certainly innundated with massive numbers of emails. It is just unfortunate that she doesn’t show everyone how badly in the minoity her opinion is. It was funny to read one of the earlier comments though. It was to point out how because she is a researcher that she knows what she is talking about. I have great respect for the great many researchers that provide us with information that can’t be disputed and helps us live better lives. Regretfully, this is not that type of research and likely is fueled by her own personal bias. I am sure, if we looked hard enough, we could find research to contradict this blog. This is not a personal attack on the Dr. but a critique of her “Research”. If people want to take offense, including the Dr, to these comments then maybe it’s time to get out of the habit of being critcal.

  8. wow. cant say how offensive i found this article when i first saw it. your interpretation of this as a “sexualized” pose is ridiculous. who wants to hang this photo up in their locker unless they just love lindsey? nobody because it isnt a hot picture. you justify your position because she doesnt have goggles on, well actually she would have a face mask and goggles on, did you know that??? is that what america wants to see a picture of a person with number 23 on the back that is in a head-to-toe body suit that you have no idea who it actually is??? how many people in america follow downhill skiing and would know what lindsey vonn looked like before this cover??? could this simply be providing positive exposure to a highly successful and deserving athlete that americans are interested in and will be watching during the olympics as a known “star”??? evidently not. we will all just be waiting for the glamour shot as she goes down the hill, wont we… btw the only way you could even have taken this angle is if you were looking for this slant in the first place. look it up in one of your medical books but i think the word would be biased, which is obviously what you are. go ahead and rationalize away your position but the only “provocative thought” that should be going on here is with yourself. a long self-examination is in order.

  9. I am very pleased to read that the overwhelming opinion about the article over L. Vonns cover tends strongly to recognizing the absurdity of the statements of Dr.LaVoi. It might be best to actually ask what lies behind such a statement. I do see that more then enough has been said.

  10. I am constantly stunned by the inability of people to see images, words and events in CONTEXT, rather than as isolated entities. Women are constantly sexualized in print and broadcast media. The photo of Vonn is definitely not an action shot. The photographers and stylists could have chosen any number of poses, yet–surprise, surprise!–they chose one that involved ass in the air.

    It also disturbs me that people are forgetting a significant fact: If a sportsman poses in a sexual way, he is still considered an athlete first, no matter what. But if a sportswoman poses in a sexual way, she is likely to be considered “hot” (or a slut, depending on the pose and the viewer) first, and an athlete second.

    Mostly, though, I am disgusted by the need of so many readers to hurl insults at the blogger. If you are defensive enough to say disgusting things to the author, I have to wonder why.

  11. The Sports Illustrated Cover Curse Strikes Again!!! I hope that Lindsey will recover from her thigh injury to steal the slopes.

  12. Davidson–agreed. How do these people even FIND this blog?? Can it be true that so many people mistrust media researchers? Do they really believe that their own “observation” of magazine imagery outstrips the credibility of a scholar specializing in this kind of research? I guess any criticism of the status quo is frightening for some people.

  13. “If she was wearing a helmet, it would be different and I’ve not seen a male athlete do a similar pose (sans helmet or other necessary gear while wearing skintight attire). And she’s smiling right at the camera. None of the guys I know looked at that and didn’t think of a certain sexual position.”

    What bullshit! If she was wearing a helmet in the photo, these same yentas-in-training would complain that by covering her face, the photographer was seeking to cause the viewer to pay more attention to her legs and her ass.

    Speaking of which, if the series of photos in SI are meant to be “sexualized” , why aren’t there any good shots of her butt?

  14. As a woman benefiting from Title IX, I find it fantastic that our society sees athletic women as sexy (the women worked to get those bodies and hurray for showing them off, same as for men who show it off!). The bikini pictures of the athletes in SI this year are fantastic, as SI has been doing now for years. The couples where one or both are athletes, those pictures are great, too. A great counterpoint to the thin, tall models, some with surgical enhancements, who really are not athletes.

  15. CD-as you are most likely learning in your doctoral training that one of the best parts about academia is that many perspectives exist and we don’t always agree with one another. In graduate school one is taught to respectfully disagree with peers and colleagues as there are different ways of producing scientific knowledge. -nml

  16. eagerowl-if you click on the ‘About This Blog’ tab you’ll that I explicitly state that what I write in this blog are my views and not representative of the U of MN. I provide one perspective, and I never say it is right or wrong. -nml

  17. Jesus, the swarms are out in force! How can that pose be anything but sexually suggestive? If she was wearing a helmet, it would be different and I’ve not seen a male athlete do a similar pose (sans helmet or other necessary gear while wearing skintight attire). And she’s smiling right at the camera. None of the guys I know looked at that and didn’t think of a certain sexual position.

    It’s incredible how utterly insane some of the comments you have been getting. They’re a touch hateful aren’t they?

    Only suggestion: in the future refer to “objectification” as dehumanization since that word actually describes what’s going on while the former is rather empty (e.g. “What is being turned into an object? Why is being an object bad?”).

  18. Wow! I can’t believe you consider this to be a sexualized pose. Yes – it is very artificial – but sexual? – she’s a downhill skier – what the hell is wrong with you? You are a disgrace. Lindsey doesn’t deserve this crap.


  19. Yes women are rarely on the cover of SI but I think that has more to do with the magazines audience. Not to many people care about women sports, maybe tennis, golf, and every 2 years Olympic events but for the the most part we don’t follow women sports. It’s not like they are putty ugly guys on the cover of SI either, and I would say photo’s of men in actual action poses on the cover are under 15%. Sure they like to put sexy women on the cover and so does any women magazine out there, if you were going to select a picture to write this article about you should have waited a week for the swimsuit issue. That is not a very provocative pose, would you rather have her helmet on so you don’t know who she is or maybe a zoom out photo when she is actually skiing so you don’t even know she is on the US team, I mean come on.

  20. Thank you for pointing out this useless piece of information. She is in a racing position, posing for a cover shot. That is all. There is absolutely nothing sexual about the photograph, with the exception being your misdirected and unnecessary analysis. Now her great accomplishments are being blemished by your comments. I hope her performance at the Olympics will erase this from everyones memory.

  21. While I agree with Dr. LaVoi’s assessment that women are dramatically underrepresented in Sports Illustrated, I think I disagree with the assessment that the pose not being “in action” makes it more sexist.

    From that angle, I’m not even certain that it would be possible to take a high-resolution, magazine cover quality, close-up shot of a downhill skier traveling at 70mph or so.

    Based on a cursory glance at past Sports Illustrated covers, it seems that, except for football, the majority of their covers are of staged photographs. And they have had sexualized covers of males on their covers, like so:


  22. I wish feminists would realize that sexualization and objectification is not practiced only for female athletes. For those who say that female athletes are “held to a different standard,” let me ask this: how many times have you seen Warren Sapp photographed shirtless? There’s a premium on attractiveness in our society, regardless of sex.

    I’m also not sure it’s beneficial to suggest that lionization of unattractiveness is a good idea. Fitness is, largely, conducive to attractiveness. Given the problem our society has with obesity in our young people, I think there should be more emphasis on fitness and attractiveness, not less. In short, looking good is not a bad thing.

  23. I understand your point of view, but something tells me if Sports Illustrated put Vonn on their cover and she was in full uniform and in action, some feminist blog would decry SI for not showing her feminine side.

    This is a staged action photo, simple as that. SI does them from time to time. Here’s Sydney Crosby, not wearing a helmet, but prepared to take a face-off with a smile.


    I realize that Cosby isn’t in a sexual position, but given that Vonn is replicating what she would do during a race, neither is she.

  24. Your post is right on. My jaw dropped when I first saw this cover. It’s so fake, made up, and sexualized, it’s crazy! This is exactly what SI and so many androcentric media do to women: take them doing something somewhat powerful (like rocking out on the slopes) then warping the pose a bit to make it sexualized, and thereby drain that action of its power.

    It’s obvious also that less stereotypically attractive athletes do not receive the same celebrity status, especially women. Today’s professional sports are about much more than athleticism: they’re about marketing people to the masses.

  25. I think this points out more flaws in your original opinion. Now you are saying that it isn’t so much the pose but the fact that many consider Vonn attractive. And again I say since Vonn is the most successful woman’s skier ever, there was no way they could not put her on the cover. As for if it was a man – seeing Bode Miller in a similar pose wouldn’t have generated nearly the same hoopla.

  26. So I am stumbled across this blog today, and I am glad I did.

    I am very surprised (ok, not that surprised) by the comments on here. Would you say this same stuff to another’s face? Years of experience, , education, conversation, analysis, observation, and evidence should be respected, not blown apart with nasty comments.

    Instead of thinking about ourselves and Vonn and Dr. LaVoi, let’s consider how this cover makes thousands of other people feel. Then let’s consider similar poses of female athletes over the course of 10, 50, 100 years. The result is that women, particularly female athletes, are supposed to be attractive and sexy. They are held to a different standard than male athletes. AND they are shown less often than male athletes.

    This discussion should focus more on the broader picture (a macro- level, so to speak) of female athletes in sport, not whether or not, you think Vonn is sexy.

  27. This is a lose-lose for people like you, Nicole. Had she been featured in a non-ski related pose, you’d bash it because SI was taking away from her accomplishments and trying to sexualize her. Put her in a “natural” ski pose, with helmet and you’d find a reason to bash SI for that. It’s a lose-lose. You want to pick beef with it and you would have found a reason no matter what the cover was.

    News flash – skiing isn’t mainstream here. How do you promote someone who’s talented? The way SI did.

    People, like you, who find a way to complain about everything make me sick. Get off your soapbox.

  28. I think you need to do a little more research before you make acusations like this. Did you happen to see the Canadian SI olympic preview cover of Sidney Crosby in a similarly styled photo (Posed action shot, bent over, with no helmet). http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/11383/index.htm
    It’s just too bad that you had force this negative publicity on Lindsey so close to the olympics. I’m sure that really helps her focus. Nice job!

  29. People, People, People…..

    When are you going to get it, Dr. Lavoi, isn’t writing about the double standard that she and her ilk would rarely (if ever) write about, that being…women and men are both used in marketing to invoke a sexual response in each gender.

    She, as she continually points out, is an expert on sports media research. She knows more about how we reacted to that photo than we do. She is better educated (I only have a masters degree) and therefore knows that we are less capable of knowing what our subconscious was thinking when we saw the cover photo of Ms. Vonn.

    When I saw the photo, my mind thought ‘Go get em Lindsey!’ but obviously my subconscious was thinking something else because the EXPERTS like Dr. Lavoi told us what we thought.

    Hell, every time I get my CPR card renewed I have to darn near re-learn how to do it because it has changed. The Four Basic food groups…not any more. Research has proven that it is just that someone paying money to try and figure something out and until someone with more money to change the research comes along to dispute commonly accepted research this is what we are told is fact. Forget the FACT that the VAST majority of the people reading this blog and the reprints in other stories from other media outlets all disagree with what Dr. Lavoi has asserted.

    The author has accomplished just what she set out to do, create controvery where there really is none and to get her name out there to further her own career while claiming that Ms. Vonn has in some way been degraded when the rest of us just saw a great photo of a great athlete that we admire and wish we could switch places with.

  30. She’s a G*d damn skier — if she was in her helmet going down the slope, who the hell would be able to recognize her and notice who she is? The reason they can show some football players with their helmets is because people KNOW these players, and their jerseys distinguish them anyway. An action shot of a minor athlete (not to negate her accomplishments, she is a fantastic skier, but doesn’t have the fame or cache of 99% of SI cover athletes) would be useless, and could very well be my 55-year-old mom skiing, and no one would know the difference. The only possible way an athlete like Vonn could be featured on the cover is in a simulated shot with her helmet off and facing the camera. End of story.

  31. Byron,
    Many others who have commented have mentioned this cover. The picture is similar but the point here is that he actually is IN action and with his full gear on as you point out. So in those respects the picture is different from Vonn’s cover. It also shows that it is not necessary to show one’s face on the cover so we know who the athlete is, a caption will do. Thank for sending the link. -nml

  32. Take a look at USA today on Thur. this week .It has a similar picture of Olympic skeleton racer also posed and ties in I believe with what you are saying in recent blogs. Also another article on the same day ,same paper about the lack of female representation on the USOC. How is the hockey going ? I have not seen any recent info on stats. Some very thought provoking ideas in your writings.
    John houghton

  33. I think you’re right. Because most people have sex while on a snow covered mountain, wearing boots and skis while carrying two sharp poles.

  34. That’s the egg/tuck skiing position to me. Even with that smile, it seems to speak competition on the slopes. I would be more worried about the 7 year old girl that is competing to be a Carnival Queen in Rio!

  35. Of course, SI posed her in a sexually alluring way. No question about it. Her butt is given prominence in the cover, and her smile verges on naughtiness! The vast majority of SI readers are male, need I say more?!?
    Nicole -you’ve nailed it with your observationss

  36. The conclusion could also be that SI’s photographers did not take the action shot of Vonn (I doubt the magazine sends its photogs to many skiing events) and thus didn’t want to put someone else’s image (Robert Jaeger/EPA to be exact) on its cover.

    Furthermore, the cover story is a feature about Vonn and not about a game; SI’s action-shot covers tend to be for the latter (NFL playoff games, NCAA championships, etc.). One need only look at the alternate Canadian cover of Sidney Crosby–taken in an athetic pose in his hockey uniform sans helmet–to render the idea of sexualization in this instance moot.

  37. Congratulations, you got yourself some headlines.

    Granted, they make you look like an out-of-touch radical feminist, or someone with no idea what “sexualization” means, but you got some headlines.

    Too bad you did nothing to actually advance the discussion of sex roles in society.

  38. NOPE! She doesn’t have her helmet and goggles on!! it doesn’t count! Well according to Nicole LaVoi…

  39. You’ve made an issue out of something that wasn’t. You have successfully distracted people from Vonn’s accomplishments as an athlete and switched the focus to her sexuality.

    Beautiful people get magazine covers. If the had posed a successful female athlete who was unattractive you wouldn’t have opened your mouth at all.

    You really need to get over it and give up the double standard.

  40. So is a picture of Mark Spitz in a speedo with all his medals also a sexist media piece? This is a rather silly discussion as it does not address the idea that Sports Illustrated is in the business of selling magazines. Why wouldn’t they try to put something on the cover that will entice a buyer? They could have put an image of a female Luge athlete on her “sled” but that just doesn’t sell as much. They could have put Ms. Vonn in a true tuck on the mountain but that would be as enticing either.

    SI has had many males on their covers that had a beefcake look during competition and that sells too. I don’t understand your feeling that this picture is any more sexist than male cover pictures many of which were posed too. A male skier that was good looking in a tuck, and no helmut, would also be a good thing for some males (not me but I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with that). Or on the other hand I might buy an SI in the 80’s if they had a picture of Michael Jordan was dunking or even standing around posed with his other championship teammates but I’m from Chicago. And yes I do look at the swimsuit issue from time to time when it comes out but Ms. Vonn isn’t presented in anywhere near the same fashion- no pun intended.

    It seems to me that it is neat that Ms. Vonn is on the cover of SI even though I won’t buy one. I am glad she is being celebrated as one of the top potential US medal winners. Is it nice that she is attractive sure but I would be happy if she won just like I would be happy if Bode Miller wins and I don’t know what he looks like. You are being too sensitive and not celebrating that she is enough of an athlete to make the cover of SI. Few do make a cover especially in the minor non revenue generating sports like skiing track and field, lacrosse, etc.

  41. To everyone who says theres nothing sexual about this cover If the shot was taken from behind w her looking back would that be sexual, she’s in a down hill skiers position, right? If there was no sexual intention she would be in full gear looking straight ahead. If this pose is not pleasing to any man under 50 he’s not straight.

  42. A really sickening interpretation, and not just from a rational point of view. The writer’s interpretation echoes the latter day hyper-conservative mentality that is increasingly taking hold in the USA. Linked to the all pervading approach that whatever is perceived as a vague threat to anything is to be pursued relentlessly, and with the aid of litigation too, where possible. People like you are driving thinking people like me to decide to leave North America.

  43. Dr. Lavoi,

    Please don’t be discouraged by some of these comments – some of them are downright ridiculous.

    These kinds of media portrayals are exactly what I try to expose my students to in Sports and Media classes. This cover is just one of an increasing amount of portrayals – ESPN’s treatment of Serena Williams and Candace Parker, numerous depictions of female college sports teams in media guides and team posters – that speak to the issue of sexualizing female athletes and pointing our gaze to their bodies and not them as athletes.

    That some people can’t understand this is a pose and not action is unfortunate, keep up the great work.

  44. Nicole

    I googled your picture and your smile is very seductive in that picture. Stop sexualizing yourself (and us men). :p

    Seriously, what men would not look at an attractive woman or her picture (regardless of pose) and not have sexual thoughts? And before you think of us as animals (which we are), there have been studies after studies about men’s evolution and their visual cues. Nothing new here!

  45. What are we to say about this posed photo of the USA Softball team smiling with their gold medals?


    Or this summer issue with USA pitcher Jennie Finch posing with a plastic bat, a ball, and normal clothes?


    Or even Danica Patrick taking a photo looking into the camera over her racing helmet?


    All sexualized? All exploitative? All mis-steps for women?

  46. What gives you the right to diminish this young woman’s moment in the sun? She is a great athlete about to compete in the olympics and you see fit to drag her into your sexist agenda for the sake of publicity? When this photo shot was being done, I bet she in no way thought that this shot was sexual… This type of commentary hurts your cause… Kind of like p.e.t.a. saying that Phil the groundhog should be replaced with a mechanical robot groundhog because of undue stress on the real one… I hope Lindsay calls you out on this!

  47. If she were on the cover in a swimsuit or something totally unrelated to skiing your point may be valid. Otherwise it’s fairly evident you are looking to pick a fight.

    You are aware skiers bend over when they ski right? It helps with the speed see?

    It’s not like they took the shot from behind with her looking over her shoulder licking her lips.

  48. When you wrote this particular blog, are you absolutely sure there wasn’t a tad bit of envy anywhere within you? I’m a fan, have nothing against her and am proud of her. I myself would have wrote a blog congratulating her in a grand way instead of critisizing a pose. You more than touched a nerve. You obviously hit a nerve with a baseball bat to say the least. Why even write a blog as such?

  49. I’m going to try and be the only polite response you’ll get to this silliness today.
    “sexualized poses”?
    How about stupidized writing? (Oh Sh*t I blew the polite thing)
    You might want to try your future critiques out on a few close friends and enemies in the future before going to print with them. You are a thousand feet off base on this one Nicole.

  50. besides you and your ridiculous view that this pose is “sexual”, where else is this
    “drawing heat” from?…..
    how long does the aftertaste last in the evening from biting balls all day Dr.?
    sports illustrated is targeted to MEN and they are in business to make MONEY
    sexy female athletes attract men and their money…

  51. Here’s an interesting cover for comparison: In 1992 SI ran an Olympic preview with a cover shot of male skiier A.J. Kitt in a somewhat similar pose. However, Kitt was not bent over nearly as far as Vonn. Further, he was looking straight ahead (away from the camera) and his face was covered by his helmet’s facemask and his goggles. Without the caption very few people would have known who it was.


  52. I think you are as narrow minded as the original author. Get a life and keep it out of the gutter!

  53. I think this is really pointless. I mean wouldn’t you rather make a more pointed statement about women is music videos, or reality tv or something? I mean this women is in an Apline Skier. In downhill skiing you tuck like this to increase speed and make the body more aerodynamic. How you arrived at this being a sexaul pose baffles me.

  54. Sports Illustrated Objectifies Men!

    (tongue firmly in my own cheek. not like that you pervs!)

    I found these by searching “Google Images” for ((“Sports Illustrated” cover)).

    Aug 17, 2009 SI College Football Preview – posed, & bent over
    Apr 24, 1989 SI Tony Mandarich oiled up in his underwear
    Dec 25 2009 SI Stephen Colbert in lycra, bent over (he’s not an athlete, so it’s just for the sex appeal, obviously)
    Jul 27 2009, SI Tim Tebow, helmet off, bent over
    Mar 5, 2001 SI Nomar Garciaparra shirtless (clearly not a working)
    Feb 22, 2009 SI Cole Hamels “posing” as if he were pitching
    Aug 2, 2004 SI Michael Phelps, bent over crotch shot

    I do not claim this list to be exhaustive, it is just what I happened to find in the first 10 minutes of a google search.

    There were also many, many covers that were clearly sexist–none that I saw, however of female athletes–the swimsuit issues. Why are you so worked up over what is obviously an effort to share the face of an athlete who normally has her faced obscured by a helmet?

    It seems obvious to me, though obviously not to you, that an action shot would render any action shot of her unrecognizable, and anonymous, which is not in the interests of her, her team, her sponsors, or the magazine.

  55. It is people like you (“Dr. Women’s Sports Expert”) that influence comedian’s like Daniel Tosh, to say ” Wow that is a great question can somebody please hand that mic to a man, so your sports question will be relevant.” Maybe the summer Olympics shouldn’t televise the women’s 200m breast stroke?!?!? Too many sexual symbols placed in that event, you got women, swimsuits, and the word breast. When a so called “women’s sports expert” brings out a sexually negative post on an athlete whose time to shine, before the biggest event, on the biggest stage shows way sexism is still around. -“Yes she is “in uniform” but not her complete uniform and she appears to be on the slope”-. Ok let’s just throw her helmet on so we can’t have any personal connection to the athlete. “It simulates an ACTION pose.” So if it’s not 100% real it shouldn’t be on a magazine. Wonder if she blogged about the ESPN mag that did a whole feature on men and women athletes naked posing?? They say any publicity is good publicity; there you go Doc you achieved it by getting people to go to your website.

  56. Most of my arguments against your opinion have already been stated so I won’t spend time flogging a dead horse. However, have you done any research into the percentage of Male models on the cover of Cosmo that are depicted with their shirts off or open to show their 6-pack abs? Regardless of the magazine, sex sells and, when possible, most will exploit that and target it towards their primary demographic.

  57. I think an “action” shot does not serve the purpose for the cover of SI. An action shot of Michael Phelps or Michael Jordan , or anyone else named Michael, is easy to obtain because of the proximity of the photographers and the ability to see their faces. Lindsey Vonn wears a helmet and goggles and skiing is not a heavily followed sport outside of the Olympics. Showing her allows those that are not as familiar with the sport a chance to put a face to a name. The fact that she is attractive is a bonus. I cannot be for sure, but I think Larry Bird has probably been on the cover a few times and he aint pretty.

  58. If she was not in a passive shot the public would not know how to identify her in the future. If this article is to bring light to this athlete then hiding her under a body suit, boots, gloves, helmet and goggles would make it harder. Women’s basketball offers the ability to show an in-action shot and still be able to recognize her.

    “So yes, Ohno or Kitt have been on the cover in similar ways but we will more likely see male athletes in action, on the court/ice/mat, and in their uniform that we will female athletes, this is a proven fact over the last 25 years of sport media research.”

    If you have 94 percent of male athletes dominating media, yes you will see more males in action shots. You don’t need to declare this a sports media fact.

  59. Vonn’s cover was not an action shot, but neither was it a beefcake or full-on glamour shot. It’s something SI has done for many years for their “preview” issues — it has an athlete posing in uniform to promote their sport.

    Another example would be LeBron James when he was called The Chosen One on the cover (the photo was created with him with basketballs using a trampoline, I believe).

    I most certainly didn’t find that sexist or sexualized beyond the fact that the athletic form is to some extent sexual in nature simply because it is the highest form of the human body, male or female.

  60. This definitely is a sexual inuendo . Sex sells. Period. She is beautiful and will make the common guy like me pay attention to her when she is on tv. SI is demographically a men’s magazine. I never heard of lindsay before this, and now I’m interested. SI did Lindsay, the sport and the Olympics a favor.

  61. Wow.. when I first saw this cover, I just thought it was a really, really cool shot of a great female skier. As a female sports fan, I was proud. I am so disappointed that someone could find something sexual about it. To me, that says more about the author of this blog than it does about SI.

  62. Sure there are action shots of Vonn, but she’s wearing goggles and a helmet, so you can’t see her face. The point of the cover is to show who she is as a person, and not simply her as a skier. Facial exposure is extremely important in sports marketing. As a skier in a race suit with her face obscured, Lindsey is simply another ski racer to the layperson. Showing her face adds a personal element to the photo. This is nothing new for SI. Go back and look at some covers with various male football players; a large number of those pictures have athletes in posed in “action” shots without their helmet. Are those men in tight pants and makeup being objectified, I doubt it.

  63. Yes they could have taken an action shot. But, you wouldn’t be able to see her face very well if she were actually skiing. By removing her helmet, you get a more personalized photo.

    The article is complete crap!

  64. You don’t seem to be getting a lot of support for your perverted view of this picture.
    Maybe you should get YOUR mind out of the gutter. She was POSED without her helmet so that we could see her FACE. Should SI have put her in a burka?
    I see lots of pictures on male track stars in the starting blocks. How is this any different?

  65. This is ridiculous, she is a freakin skier. Its not like she is in a bathing suit having a snow fight with her sugar daddy. I am a 22 year old male and this cover has absolutely no sexual innuendo. I just think that the writer needs to get laid and or has absolutely nothing significant to write about……. other that the record number of women that participate in winter sports and the amazing show that they put up at the winter x games…….. this writer is one of the reason why women don’t receive the same respect as men in the sporting world, because they come up with absolute bullshit such as this.


  66. What a myopic point of view. Ben Rothelisberger graced the cover of SI barechested wearing eye black and football shoulder pads and nothing else. There is clearly enough sexism in the world without having to invent anything. Typical of lazy bloggers. Do your homework.

  67. I don’t believe the writer actually called this pose sexual — she stated that SI covers featuring women are frequently sexualized. The pose isn’t sexual — it just illustrates the gender issue of her thesis — that women are more likely to be shown in ways that emphasize their gender rather than their capabilities, which I think is accurate.

  68. I think you’re going way too far in criticizing this cover. While I whole-heartedly agree that women athletes are NOT shown enough on the covers of S.I., and when women are on the cover it often gets sexualized because they focus on the attractive athletes (see Jenny Finch, Mis Hamm, Danika Patrick, etc.), there is absolutely nothing sexualized about this picture. Yes, it’s posed…but S.I. (as do other sports mags) OFTEN has posed pics of athletes on its covers (men AND women) when it is a specific story about that athlete and not about a recent accomplishment of theirs. In the latter case…THEN you would often see a real life action shot of that individual winning the championship, race, etc. Lindsey IS the face of the winter Olympics this year, just as Michael Phelps was the face of the summer Olympics in ’08…and it’s because she is the best damn skier, male or female, that we’ve had since Picabo Street, and possibly one of the best ever! Just the same as Phelps was. Her attractiveness just helps her with branding, as I’m sure we’ll see over and over in commercials for the next few weeks (and hopefully after should she win a gold or three!). While S.I. does have its problems in sexualizing women in sports, I think there are FAR worse examples than this shot. If you are a researcher, please do better research on the topic before calling them out on something so silly as this. Or just save it for the swimsuit issue instead!

  69. Ms. Lavoi, you bring up excellent points. This tells us more about how SI views its readership and how they want to sell magazines. Forget WHO it actually is on the cover: it is the objectification of the feminine form to get you to plunk down money. The truly amazing picture of this athlete is on p 52-53. Don’t tell me that isn’t powerful, dymanic and exciting. Comparing the 2 pictures together, the conclusion is SI believes its readers need to see the suggestive/submissive pose to get them to buy their magazine. And by the way, standing still, looking head-on (Anton Ohno’s pose as mentioned above) is not the same as bending over and grabbing your ankles with a grin on your face.

  70. To focus on the percentage of female athletes on sport magazine covers ignores the business ($$$…) that determine magazine covers. What percentage of men shown on fashion covers aside from GQ? But to the point, if Lindsey Vonn was less attractive I don’t believe you would have taken your position. Lindsey is attractive but the cover is not sexually exploitive.

  71. I think your article will ensure that even fewer women appear on the cover of SI as the publisher attempts to avoid such manufactured controversies in the future. In your follow up, I can see a bit more how the shot should not be construed as “in action”, however, I still cannot see how that fact makes the image “sexualized” in any way. Sure, you can more clearly see her face, which strengthens her branding as representative of the sport, but to make the assumtion that merely being able to see her in this way is sexual is a reach. As for the tuck position, that is consistent with the way the sport is played – that’s a undeniable fact. Overall, it’s my opinion that your article does more harm than good to the cause of women in sport. As a psychology alumi of the University of MN I find it troubling that you are able to use that institution as a vehicle to promote this line of thinking.

  72. Jenn,
    I just checked out that cover of the speed skater and you’re right it would have been no controversy from that angle

  73. You have got to be joking…please tell us you are just kidding.
    I’m glad she made the cover. She is the BEST in her sport. Who said she was attractive?
    Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh deserved a cover for their Gold in womens beach volleyball…but would that have been to provocative, with them wearing nothing but their uniforms?
    It’s not like she took her shirt off and pumped her fists in the air like Brandi Chastain.

    Father of two girl skiers, who will be excited to see Lindsey on the Cover…
    BRING HOME THE GOLD Lindsey !!!
    You too Julie Mancuso
    GO USA!

  74. Doc,
    OK I am not an educated man. In fact I am a soldier preparing to go overseas again to fight for this sort of non-sense. I do happen to have a fairly good grasp on reality, the reality is that sex sells. However, to say that her pose was sexual is simply ridiculous. It is what she does. She is pumping up her resume for her after Olympics charge on the business world, you should be proud of her for a smart business decision.
    I am also quite proud of you. You have succeeded to make this story a national news event, I would say that certainly has boosted your stock. Congrats on making a completely non-issue something that will detract from the amazing feats these athletes train their whole lives for.
    Can we please stop and agree that Men and Women are wired differently……In the Army we have gender norming for physical activity. It is what it is. Oh and forgive me for actually enjoying a beautiful woman’s appearance. Shocker!
    Take care Doc, I hope ya get a big fat book deal or TV consultation job!

  75. There are a lot of great comments here from varying points of view. I believe you got your answer Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi; Your point of view is not shared by the greater public voice, those who read your blog believe you are part of the problem and not the cure, and that you should likely re-visit your thought process and come up with another blog that re-thinks your comments and actions.

    Bravo people, it is refreshing to read the intelligent comments listed here. You are all correct, this political correctness our world previously embraced, is finally on its’ way out!

    Read more intelligent comments on

  76. Hello!!! She apparently did not have a problem doing the photo shoot… How about asking HER how she feels about it, not how YOU feel she “should” feel… If she does not object, you have no grounds to object…

  77. I agree with just about everyone on here! She is not being “sexualized” in any capacity. It’s not like they took this picture and used it without her consent. I’m sure when they did the photo shoot they took many pictures in many poses, and the magazine and Ms. Vonn came to a decision together.
    As far as this picture being “posed” rather than an action shot, I took a quick look at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/home/index.htm, and at least a third of Sports Illustrated covers are posed! What’s the big deal?
    On another note, Ms. Vonn has put in countless hours of hard work and exercise throughout her life. She worked hard for the body she has, and if she wants to show it off (which I don’t even think she’s trying to do in the picture), it’s her choice. She doesn’t need some feminist blogger, critiquing every move and blaming it on the mainstream media.
    So what if she’s the poster girl for the Olympics because she’s a beautiful woman, thats oviously not the only reason because she’s extremely talented as well. It’s not like the USOC chose Jessica Simpson to be a downhill skier to try and appeal to the US people!
    nml, for your own sake, lighten up!

  78. Nicole: I’m sorry, you are just wrong about this. It’s a great cover. It’s not a sexualized pose. It’s skiing.

  79. The fact is that some sports simply are more suited to have posed photos while some have more exciting ones. For instance of the six times michael phelps was on the cover 4 of them were posed and one of the nonposed was of him celebrating. The action shots that make the cover are generally iconic moments which can be defined in a single shot, and thats something that some sports such as swimming and skiing dont offer in abundance.
    Secondly, if you look at photos of Ms. Vonn in action you would would see that there is litttle to distinguish her from any other professional skiier. The problem is that when you do a story on a person people like to see who the story is about. Most of the action shots that you talk about are for coverage of an event that already happened. Just google “football si cover” or even just “si cover” and youll see that just about every posed shot is for an article about a person and that few action shots are for team/player profiles. While it is important to be aware of gender inequalities and stereotypes your anger is misplaced in this instance.

  80. Your followup response is even more “out There” then the origal text.
    You have no idea how to help the female cause, just be proud that a great athlete is on the cover.

  81. Dr. Lavoi,

    The world revolves around money. This blog is a way of getting your voice out there to make more money. Sports, for men and women, is a conglomeration of individual businesses that is out there to make money. You know all this, you’re a smart woman. You also know that womens sports, in general, makes little (if any) money. There are certainly exceptions out there but that isn’t my point here.

    My point is that, because of you and people like you womens sports could become even more rare. The purpose of your blog, which you state clearly, is to be critical. It seems, to me, that too many critics just take their jobs too far. You want to make it out that Lindsey is being objectified on this SI cover. You say that “many of the comments provide alternative perspectives, which is good for discussion.” It would seem to me, based on the responses that you incorrectly state the type of responses to your blog. You should have said that, “the VAST MAJORITY of the comments provide evidence that I am off base here and that maybe I am wrong in my opinion.”

    But, obviously, you can’t say this because you’re a critic and it’s rare a critic would ever say that they are wrong. Being critical is to be ambiguous and so to be open to more than one interpretation. But in the mainstream, you are in the monority here and the vast majority of the people that have now seen your blog do not agree with your critiacal review of Ms. Vonn’s SI cover and it’s meaning. Had this cover been of some less attractive skier than Ms. Vonn you would have probably not written the blog in response because your case would have been even more difficult for people to give credence to it. And as it is, few are giving credence to what you have written.

    The more people like you and of your ilk write to point out the nuances in how the business of sport tries to get ALL sport to expand for the entertainment of the general public the fewer sports we may have, in the end, to enjoy.

  82. Nicole M Lavoi. You are a joke. I left a great post here last night. It was spot on and was so detrimental to your argument referencing the SI subrciber list/fan base/audience. Number of male athletes to women athletes. Other SI covers with olpympic athletes in simmilar poses common to their sport without their helmet on (i.e. sidney crosby’s cover: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/11383/index.htm ). Obviously I went into much greater detail but I just want everyone to know on here that you are a joke for deleting my comment. If you are truly trying to run a fair discussion don’t delete comments simply because it puts your comments to shame.

    I will continue to post here and make people aware that you have deleted my comment because it was so damaging to yours.

    -Good day

  83. Jenn,
    You bring up a good point. However, I did not say that male athletes are never found in similar poses on magazines covers. The argument is that because female athletes only receive 6-8% of all sport media coverage regardless of the medium, that when we DO see them it is MORE LIKELY in poses that highlight traditional gender norms, femininity and framed in a way that can be interpreted as sexualized. So yes, Ohno was on the cover but we will more likely see male athletes in action, on the court/ice/mat, and in their uniform that we will female athletes, this is a proven fact over the last 25 years of sport media research. -nml

  84. Did I bit more research…my husband remembers the cover of Apolo Anton Ohno on SI (February 04, 2002 | Volume 96, Issue 5). He is in his speed skating “uniform” in a static pose (a.k.a. passive shot). This is not the only one of male athletes in passive shots by my count since then.

    Maybe your article should have been about how more women should be on the cover of SI with an equal share of live action shots. Just don’t use the old “sexualized object” claim anytime you are unhappy with a female athlete’s cover.

    PS – You forgot Danica Patrick on SI (May 19, 2008 | Volume 108, Issue 20).

  85. As someone who is working towards my PhD, this is just another example of why I don’t want to go into academia. It seems like all “academics” do today is look for ways to push their biases and agenda without actually being grounded in fact. The fact is she is doing a pose to simulate an action that is done in skiing. The fact is a man has been photographed doing this pose before by SI. The fact is there is nothing sexualized about this picture. Yet, you MADE it sexualized by pursuing your own misguided notions! Next time you might want to do a little bit more research before posting such an absurd opinion. Isn’t that what someone with a “doctorate” should do anyway? Pathetic.

  86. When I first saw this picture my thought (in response to this “objectification” claim) was, “are you serious???” Are we really at a point where a woman can’t bend over without it being deemed ‘sexual’? In my vast experience as a woman I have found many uses for bending over, not sex related. Imagine that? Further, would the same picture of a man also generate your same reaction? I would think not, so much for equal opportunity: men can bend over, women can’t.

    So in your opinion, what would be an appropriate picture? Or would you then object to her ski suit, poles or smile? Or is this about her being a beautiful athlete?

    The point of feminism is to empower women and give them opportunity to participate in any activity (e.g. professional sports). You can congratulate yourself on completely undermining a woman’s success in a professional sport: now the conversations are about how ridiculous your claim is instead of the success of another empowered woman!

  87. Give us a break!!!!! What do you want from SI an apology. If she didnt want to pose like that than she would not have. Get a life and quit spending your time on such little things. I cant believe you spent so much money on a good education to write such crap!!!

  88. Sorry, Dr Lavoi, I don’t buy your argument. I’m a male and former ski racer and I don’t see the picture as provocative. Ms Vonn is wearing her uniform sans helmet and goggles so we can see who she is. Could they have shot this on the slopes in “action?” Perhaps, but their have been plenty of pictures of guys in similar staged shots, too, in various sports over the years. I think you are demeaning her success with your stated position.

  89. who cares??????? Don’t you think there are more important issues in the world (let alone this country) to be talking about???? Come on.

  90. I think Vohn is accomplished and intelligent enough to decide for herself wheather or not she is being objectified. She doesn’t appear to be some undereducated , impoverished young women who doesn’t haqve have power over her own mind and body. To imply S.I. were taking advantage of her appeal simply because of her looks and you’d have to accept that you are doing the same thing. Only she doesn’t have the right to reffuse your use of her picture and you are allowed to abuse the photo as S.I. never did. Wouldn’t your article have been just effective had you described it or censored the offending parts of the photo? To sell a magizine is wrong , to sell your article without her permission of use is O.K.? Maybe you should applaud the fact that S.I. may actually promote the idea that pretty women can do more then pose for pictures or sell articles. If all they did was provide photos of women dressed as lumberjacks with out make-up you’d probably be the first to complain of that portrayal as neaderthal thinking. Ofcourse you’d be right in the argument then. I also noticed the ad next to yours was for “PLAYING WITH THE BOYS”, a book with a pretty girl and a not so well defined look on her face. Ofcourse that was wriiten by a women….

  91. Semi-provocative? How far can puritanism and/or political correctiveness go? If people thought a bit about the Bauhaus concept they would conclude that functionality and good looks often stand together…

  92. Ok not a skiier myself, even I can recognize this position to be a skiing position. Who thinks it a sexual position is LOOKING for that and not thinking about the actual pose being one she uses day after day. What a stupid thing to suggest!

  93. P. S. — Speaking as a former journalists myself, may I ask if any of you ever tried to take a picture of an athlete in motion? It’s near-impossible in many instances. I’ve had to “pose” boxers and baseball players to get a decent shot just for a newspaper, much less a national magazine. They included both men and women, about all of whom there was nothing at all “passive.” How come no one here is complaining about the literally hundreds of such male poses, often in varying degrees of undress? Oh … that’s right, it’s DIFFERENT with women, isn’t it?… I have news bulletin for everyone — the vast majority of magazine covers are posed.
    This sort of claptrap brings back bad memories of graduate school…

  94. This is utter, overdetermined feminist nonsense! Tom Brady is a great athlete and a handsome dude, and I don’t hear people whine when he’s shirtless in GQ.

    Most importantly, this cover is almost identical to the one that ran on SI’s Winter Olympic preview in 1992. That one featured a gentleman named A.J. Kitt, and nobody complained that it was too provocative.

    Quote of the Day: “To a person with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.”

  95. there’s a cover of billy martin in the classic baseball manager pose. one foot on the steps with his backside towards the camera and head turned smiling at it as well. it is a posed shot as there is no crowd in the background. 1985

  96. I have skiied in Europe and the USA since I was a teenager. There is nothing wrong with being athletic and beautiful. Part of the joy of being a female athlete is having a fit body. If you have a pretty face to match, that is frosting on the cake. Some American women are so touchy about beautiful women in their quest for feminism and equal rights that they seem to forget the grace and elegance are fine attributes. Sorry if you’re fat, ugly and envious. It’s just as hard for me to work out and eat nutritious healthy food as it is for you. So, you do NOT have my sympathy if you think every beautiful athlete is just another sex symbol exploited by men. This cover photo is not sensualized nor is it an insult to women athletes. What is insulting is the author’s implication that one can not be beautiful without being a sex object. I completely disagree with the author and strongly feel that she should accept the fact that her analysis of the photo is probably NOT how most people view it. When women are overly touchy about other women, then it makes a farce of what equal rights is all about. I don’t usually post on this website and I am gratified to see that the majority of the people who wrote comments are in agreement that the author’s opinion is different from the prevailing view of most sensible people. Thank you for reading my post. Winter is here, so keep on skiing!!!

  97. I’m sorry you feel this way. Hopefully after reading MANY replies, you may change your mind. Lindsey has been dedicated for many years. As Lindsey Kildow (prior to marriage) she was a winning athlete. She spends 5-6 hours a day in the gym in the off season. She’s had some bad falls, skied with a badly cut hand and has put off having kids to be #1 in this sport. You may consider rewarding her and her success. She recently surpassed Tamara McKinney as the most decorated U.S. female skier.

  98. A few points:

    1. How do you have a PHD? From the contents of your brief post, it appears you can barely speak English. A few snippets of award winning grammar: “she also represents norm of feminine attractiveness”, “the media hasn’t disappointed in constructed her as such.”, “for those of you who follow SI Covers, know that female athletes are RARELY featured on the cover” (in addition to the grammatical errors, I think you mean to say for those who don’t follow SI covers), “I have to disagree that this pose in “in action”.” I mean do you even proofread what you write or do you just write down whatever inflammatory statements come into your head and then immediately post them?

    2. With regards to who is featured on SI covers, there is no gender conspiracy. SI puts whatever athlete will be recognized and draw in readers on the cover. In today’s society, female athletes are not big draws. Don’t believe me? Try comparing NBA and WNBA attendance figures (or men’s vs women’s NCAA hockey and basketball attendance, men’s vs women’s World Cup ratings, or any of one hundred other examples that I need not name). Next time you want to complain about a lack of women on the cover ask yourself this: when is the last time you saw an amateur wrestler, rower, male gymnast, fencer, or ping pong player on the cover of SI. The answer is not in quite some time (or ever in most cases). Even though the sports I listed are legit Olympic events, they aren’t cover material because people just don’t care; it has nothing to do with gender.

    3. As to your complaint that the staged nature of Vonn’s picture is objectifying, feel free to check out the Sidney Crosby cover released the next day (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/11383/index.htm). Recognize any similarities? In case you can’t put it together yourself, it is an athlete in full uniform except for a helmet smiling at the camera. What about this picture of Tim Tebow? (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/11035/index.htm) Is it really all that different than that picture of Candace Parker displayed above?

    4. Finally, honestly try to tell me that you wouldn’t go bonkers if a woman was posed in a similar way to Michael Phelps in this picture. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/11034/index.htm) There is no gender war going on here, you are just reacting strongly to images of women being shown in certain ways while ignoring that men are being portrayed in an extremely similar fashion. That is what I like to call a double standard.

  99. I am shocked, offended and appalled by this photo. Ms Vonn should should have been photographed in – and should likewise ski in – a burqa, so as not to appear so sexualized. What a disgrace!

    P.S. Good luck Ms. Vonn… Continue to make us proud!

    P.P.S. Ms. Lavoi, might I quote the film Stripes while offering you a suggestion? Lighten up Francis!

  100. Great cover! Athletic with a little sex appeal, which she certainly has. Just ignore the knee-jerk reactionists that will find cause to complain in a label for generic laundry detergent! Sheesh!

    To the whiners out there: Puhleeezz! Give it a rest! YOU’re the ones with the problem, not the SI cover.

    The rest of us see a top notch athlete at the top of her game, and she happens to have some sex appeal to boot! Frankly, I’d say Vonn reflects the ideal of a healthy, sportive, attractive woman who has spent years honing her athletic art through sweat and training, rather than nicotine and dieting on the verge of an eating disorder.

    Surely Vonn is a world of improvement over the anorexic female so-called ideals of Twiggy or Kate Moss?

  101. Seriously ladies, move on. This isn’t demeaning towards women. Your boredom and inability to find something more worthy of your attention is infuriating.

  102. You clearly need to stop reading so deep into a simple picture. For starters SI is a profit-maximizing magazine and if they had more women on the cover their profits would fall. The fan base/audience and subscriber list are dominated by men. If you consider the pool of athletes available for the cover of SI (all professional athletes in the US) how many of them are men and how many of them are women? Obviously the answer is the majority are men and therefore they will grace the cover more often. As for the pose – it is not sexual at all. And why are you trying to take away what Vonn has accomplished on the basis of her attractiveness. She is the best at what she does, the fact that you may think she is attractive is irrelevant. You may have had a point if she wasn’t the best and still was chosen for the cover but you have no case in this situation. She is simply in a common ski racing position. She’s not in an action photo because she wouldn’t be recognizable and they are clearly trying to promote one of her biggest events of her career. I think they are doing something great for Lindsey and her future career. They put her in a pose closest to an action photo that you can get while still being able show her face and make her recognizable. I would understand what you are trying to say here if she were in a more common modeling pose, a half unzipped speed-suit, or wearing less (like a semi revealing shirt or something like a Lang Boots girl for example: http://lange2009.freeskier.com/). I’ve seen some of Lindsey Vonn’s other promotional shoots and this photo is so far from sexual when comparing past shoots with her posing with wind blown hair and etc – always classy though Lindsey. Vonn earned this cover and good for her for getting her face out their so people recognize her and her accomplishments. Also good for her for not posing in a sexual way when many people would agree she is a very attractive girl who could pose in a very sexual way. It’s different when there is an action shot of Lebron James dunking in the NBA since someone like him is extremely well known in the sports world and his face is plastered all over advertisements nation-wide. Lindsey does not have as ample opportunities to get her face out to the audience and she and SI are capitalizing on one here. Congratulations to Lindsey on her accomplishments and good luck in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games. Shame on you for trying to take away this accomplishment of being on the SI cover – basing it on her attractiveness and not her abilities and achievements. I mean you say she is “GREAT” but it is pretty obvious you are implying she received the cover for other reasons – come on.. stop reading so deeply into this picture.. It’s simply a picture of a great athlete posing in a common position used often in her sport.. look at the next SI cover with Sidney Crosby where he is also in a common hockey position without his helmet on (just like Lindsey – a point you used against her).. check it out here and rethink your comments.. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/cover/featured/11383/index.htm
    – I rest my case.

  103. I think that the most worrying thing about this article cover is the fact that it has the potential to be so offensive.

    If all we think about when we see women bending over is “sex!” then doesn’t it seem that we’re immersing ourselves too much in an almost paranoid sense of gender stereotypes? If everyone thinks this way when women assume certain poses, it’ll get to the point where few girls are comfortable or not sexualized in athletic positions…

  104. I find your opinion on this particular issue somewhat troubling. Yes, it is a pose. Other olympic athletes have posed in similar fashion such as Apollo Anton Ono. What would you consider appropriate attire? In what context should she appear? And you notice I am not satying in any way someone else should. The fact you seem to be glossing over is that she happens to be the best in the world for the past couple of seasons. Why shouldn’t she be the face of the team? She’s the best athlete on it!!! If she were the worst member on the team and someone better who was “ugly”, as you put it, was overlooked, you would have a good point. I am a red-blooded heterosexual male, and although she is an attractive woman, I don’t find the pose at all sexual or objectifying. It’s a world class skier in a skier’s position.

  105. Look I’m a 30 year old man and I think this cover is awsome. I’m going to buy one as soon as I leave the house. Don’t think for a second that SI didn’t know what they were doing. Show me a cover of MJ standing on the ground in the dunk position and I will by there is nothing sexual about this pose.

  106. I find your “blog” to be complete rubish. There is nothing “sexualized” about this pose. This is no differnent than having a cover of Kobe doing a layup or Tiger in the middle of a golf swing, it just so happens that it is a lot harder to get a “cover” shot when the sport is skiing. Do you propose that the photographer ski along side with a ski mounted tripod trying to find that perfect shot that describes the sport? Again…where is the “sexuality” in this pose. Is it because she is pretty? Would you blog about this if she was not attractive? Your attempt at redemption in your followup does nothing to add to the conversation. Did you “sexualize” the description of the pose to troll for chatter in your career choice? You state that only 4% of SI covers show women, why not celebrate that fact rather than criticize it. Sport media research, huh? Really? Would you even know it was her if she had her helmet on? Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of having her on the cover? The focus of the story is HER. I saw that SI had an issue with Brett Favre on the cover sans helmet, no comment on that? I also saw one of Phelps without a swim cap? Are those sexualized or do they not count?

  107. nmlavoi said: “Picture this as a way to frame what I’m trying to get at: Picture a male ski racer in a similar pose on the cover of SI, smiling at the camera. Would we see that? How would you react to that picture”

    If AJ Kitt in the 1992 cover had been smiling at the camera with his helmet off it would have been the exact same pose. No one would have objected. Jean Claude was notoriously attractive and probably would have sold extra magazines without a peep from the politically correct crowd. Why would anybody object to a guy skier tucking and smiling at the camera? Ever seen Lebron on multiple covers smiling all the time? Ever seen him pose for the camera? How about Shaq? Has Kobe? Michael Strahan with the gap tooth grin? Of course they have. Listing the people that have been in fake poses on the cover of sports magazines that have been male and smiling would take up pages and pages. Ever read ESPN the Magazine? It happens all the time. The fact that women do not sufficiently appear as athletes on the cover of SI is wrong and shameful. This picture and this pose is not objectifying Vonn any more than Magazine Covers objectify and mis-portray both men and women all the time, whether in sports media or other media. That’s what they do and how they sell and this is a bland example if any at all. This is an example of how political correctness is taken too far and it makes it much harder for valid complaints to gain credibility.

  108. The author is not criticizing the athlete. The author is showing that this picture/cover adds to a colossal pattern in sports media. The athlete is not “in action” because this is a staged pose. Most importantly, see how she’s smiling into the camera. That is an indicator of socially constructed femininity. This specific example certainly is not the most egregious example of sexism in sports media, but it does add to the overall pattern of sexist norms in sporting culture. So everyone here telling the author of the story to calm down should calm down themselves, and understand what this SI cover represents in the broader societal picture.

  109. I’m not sure if you subscribe to SI, lord knows the last issue they mailed to my house was over a decade ago, but most athlete cover features have a similar shoot to go with them—A wide-receiver reaching for a ball–helmet off–a running back stiff-arming–helmet off–and all manner of other athletes smiling at the camera while standing in a psuedo-athletic pose.

    Phelps was on there with a speedo and any boxer is shirtless. So what?

    And as the Yahoo article pointed out, there was a male on the cover in ’92 in roughly the same pose:

    But he has a helmet on, so we can’t interpret it sexually, or something, I fail to see your point.

  110. I just don’t see the sexual issue. If I guy were in the same typical downhill ski position, then would it be totally overlooked by everyone except amused women and the gay community? As I have read, with so few women making the cover of SI, this presentation should be heralded as a triumph, not a tragedy!

    SI choose a woman downhill skier, not a guy. Apparently, she is America’s hope for a gold medal. Women should not be reduced to wearing veils unless they want to wear them. We don’t live in the Middle East!

    I admit that I, too, have to go to the gym, but if I had a svelte figure and was at the ski professional, then I would take the same position as Ms. Vonn, as well. This, at the risk of appearing provocative to a few guys, among others.

    Of course, years later, I would probably post it on my Facebook page with no regrets!

  111. The next thing you tell us is that gymnasts shouldn’t be photographed while doing splits, and ice skaters should avoid leaping displays near cameras for fear of being “sexualized”. I’m not sure what kind of sex you have, or see, but this pose is not sexy.

    She’s showing zero skin, her female body contours are well concealed by her sport-appropriate gear, and she has been posed to appear to be skiing DOWN a hill, which explains why her rear end is in the air. She’s not posing for a beer ad in a bikini. She is clearly NOT skiing down the hill, but so what? Michael Phelps posed for SI with his hard-fought medals around his bare neck and chest and he wasn’t in a pool at the time. Oh, my!

    Do you suggest female athletes wear burkas, or just stay out of the limelight altogether? Or, should we only allow only eunuchs, prudes, and The Amish to style, shoot and publish photos of female athletes?

    I am more concerned about the other major issue in the bloggosphere and American media; the shameless wholesale hijacking of another person’s moment of fame as a weak attempt as self-ascendancy. You’re an educated, professional person, and I believe you can do better than this low-brow pandering to the hyper-sensitive and gender-squeamish.

  112. I think we need to think less with the brain in the pant’s and use the one in our heads insted . there is nothing wrong with this girl’s picture only the viewer’s demented minds, get a life! Donate your time to the needy, ie hospitals food bank, charities, and you then will not have time for foulish thought’s.

  113. I find that a big reason you believe the photo is objectifying is because of Mrs. Vonn not wearing her helmet or goggles therefore she is not in a “skiing pose.” However, she is wearing almost every single other piece of equipment. Not wearing a helmet gives us viewers a face to put with the athlete. In a sport where she frequently will be in a helmet and goggles, this helps us distinguish her from the crowd. If she was in her FULL equipment she would have just looked like any other female skier. We Americans would now be able to recognize her on the street when we might not otherwise do so. So it’s simple Dr. Lavoi, it just gave us a face to go with the athlete.

  114. If she had her “full uniform” on (helmet and goggles), we wouldn’t know it was Lindsey Vonn. She is on the cover because she is the greatest US ski racer, male or female, ever. Do you follow her career? Do you know what she has accomplished? She is the Tiger Woods of ski racing. That’s about as close to sexual as the story gets. To insinuate she is on the cover because she is attractive is wrong and insulting. There have been other pretty female skiers in previous Olympics that weren’t featured on the cover of SI. She’s on there because she is the best skier/athlete in this Olympics. And again, how is that pose sexual? Saying that just make you sound like a dope.

  115. So what about Tom Brady being in nothing but his undies and a smile in GQ, where was your indignant outrage then?

    Or, what about Michael Phelps (and before him Mark Spitz) being completely shirtless on the cover of SI.

    And as to the attractiveness, that’s irrelevant, she’s there because of her skill. As a fellow woman and avid snowboarder, I’m proud of Lindsey and I think the cover shot is very tasteful.

  116. “Picture this as a way to frame what I’m trying to get at: Picture a male ski racer in a similar pose on the cover of SI, smiling at the camera. Would we see that? How would you react to that picture, verses the picture of Vonn.”

    Is this really the crux of your analysis? That the picture is posed without full gear (and she’s facing the camera with a smile), therefore it is not focused on her ability, and must therefore be focused on her sexuality and exploiting her appearance? There seem to be significant gaps in your argument.

    There are countless SI covers with male athletes in posed shots…You ask “Would we see that?” as if it is some chimera and that male athletes are always photographed in action shots, focusing on their prowess. Grady Sizemore of the Cleveland Indians, an athlete who gets as much press regarding his good looks as he does regarding his play was featured in a posed shot with a headline that mentioned his “baby blue Lincoln convertible” (not sure what that has to do with playing Centerfield). Troy Polamalu of the Steelers was on the cover without a helmet, thus showcasing his long, flowing hair. For a truly memorable example, back in ’89, Tony Mandarich was featured on the cover without a shirt, wearing tight shorts, with a headline that read “The Incredible Bulk” (maybe that’s why he fizzled in the NFL, instead of wearing pads and a helmet, he was going shirtless in tight shorts!).

    How are those covers (or any of the dozens of other posed covers of male athletes) any different than Vonn’s?

    I will absolutely grant that SI routinely emphasizes female sexuality over female athletic achievement. The swimsuit edition has nothing to do with sports, even when they’ve made the token effort to include athletes. However, in this instance, it seems very much that because you expect to see SI exploiting a woman’s appearance, that you have therefore concluded that is what’s happening. The Sizemore cover is perhaps the best parallel I can see: two athletes being chosen for their athletic achievement, but being recognized as attractive humans as well.

    Perhaps, given SI’s track record, their lack of other types of covers means they shouldn’t be given the ‘benefit of the doubt’ in this situation, but there is a difference between examining a phenomenon in context and allowing a perceived pattern of behavior color our perceptions.

  117. Try to think about what you said, and maybe even how you said it. You are the educated one here, right ??? I really don’t think we are all cavemen and women! I think you may be the one with issues that are not of the general norm. Typical media move though… Got to be contoversial !!! Just think of all the men and women who died to defend these rights, and for something as stupid as this and that so-called racist Vouge cover. Albeit, God Bless !!!

  118. She’s a down-hill racer. What’s she supposed to do, stand next to a light pole? You idiots would find fault in chickens eating if they had their heads down and rears in the air. Why are you thinking about sex all the time? Hey..join Tiger in sex therapy and start thinking right!

  119. Again, you’re trying to justify your political statements. What you haven’t thought about is that your statement itself is selfish. You’ve stated that SI’s picture of her is hot and sexy, and is thus sexist.

    Again, this is something Vonn has been working her entire life for. It is a no doubt a dream come true for her, and for you to take her fifteen minutes and use it to advance your own political agenda is truly something that is of low dignity and integrity. You’re simply just trying to latch on her her stardom to advance your own personal political message (which seems to be that the entire world is patriarchal and systemically discriminatory against you because you’re a female). You have done yourself and all of women’s sports not a service, but a disservice by making a “mountain out of a mole hill,” and doing it in such a low-class way.

  120. Ridiculous and clearly an attempt to drive traffic to this blog. I see absolutely nothing sexual or salacious in the SI Cover. Miss Von is attractive and has a great smile. My first reaction to seeing this pictures (being a Skier) was cool Skiing on the Cover of Sports Illustrated.

    This is much ado about nothing.. the Author is hysterical and a media agitator! Go USA!

  121. Let’s say for shits and giggles this is a sexual pose.
    And so we don’t sexualize Brad Pitt, George Clooney and goddess knows how many other men out there?
    McSteamy?? McDreamy??
    On top of that, I just got back from Target, where the clothing being offered for women are incredibly sexually hyped. They wouldn’t sell it, if women didn’t want it.
    How low can you go with your neckline and how short can you get your skirt? Women turn themselves into sex toys for men and somehow we’re supposed to crucify SI for a possibly sexy pose of a famous female athlete?
    Are you kidding me?

    In other words, while I think many can understand the point of women should be appreciated for much more than their body, the fact of the matter is, a vast majority of women don’t even appreciate themselves, let alone SI.

  122. It’s pretty selfish of you to use the lifetime of hard work of another athlete to further your own political agenda.

    Lindsey Vonn has worked her entire life for this and it is undoubtedly a dream come true for her. With that in mind, it’s truly sad you can’t celebrate her hard work and subsequent success, and instead choose to make such a political statement out of it. I’m glad I’m not one of your students, your friends, your colleagues, or part of your family. You’ve made a fool of yourself and you’ve disgraced everyone around you.

  123. wow…. so many ski positions to choose, all that time and effort to get the right cover design, (believe me this was carefully thought out, with lighting, makeup etc…) and this is the pose they chose. So, can we expect Kobe Bryant bent over at the free throw line?

  124. If you’re going to make an idiotic comment, at least use proper English. You should have said, “I think you’re jealous.” You’re=YOU ARE. Your= Term associated with possession. *ugh*

  125. Wow, you seriously need a life! Objectifying Vonn? Looks to me like she agreed to the shot so maybe your comment might be directed toward her rather then against her. So how is this shot in anyway sexual? You dont see her breasts, you dont see her ass from behind, you dont see her vagina… all you see is a profile shot of her on a slope in her skiing uniform. But then again she is a beautiful and sexy woman and that quality would come out in any picture you take of her… so maybe the previous post is correct… your jealous…

    Like I said… get a life.

  126. “Over the last 60 years researchers have shown that about 4% of all SI covers have portrayed women. ”

    Although I don’t have statistics on hand to back this up, I don’t think it’s an arguable notion that the overwhelming majority (something as high as 19 out of 20 doesnt sound like an absurd stretch) of SI subscribers are men, who by and large follow the most popular sports in this country, which are played by men. I’d like to see if the results of these anonymous “researchers” delved into this arena at all. Having a significantly higher percentage of women on the cover wouldn’t be catering correctly to the interests of their subscriber base – it would be akin to Vogue (a magaizine which caters primarily to women’s high fashion and has an overwhelmingly female subscriber base) printing a bunch of issues with guys in sweatshirts on the cover. Technically still fashion, but not the gender (guys) or level (not what fashionistas are usually into) their normal readers are looking for.

    I won’t touch on the fact that your point is inherently skewed by title IX not being ratified until 1972.

    Frankly, I think your whole argument is ridiculous (I wouldn’t argue that the swimsuit issue is objectification, but this…really? Its that type of overreaction that is driving this country into a near-unlivable universe of political correctness), but wouldn’t have posted if you hadn’t been swaying your argument with snippets such as the 4% thing. Pick your battles, or at least refrain from throwing around completely biased, irrelevant statistics just to back your point up.

  127. I think this article is spot on! The question is why pose her in this position? Why not actually have a picture of her skiing in that position? Why is it so important for it to be a posed shot? They could have staged the photo with her skiing even with her helmet off. The picture is intentional in its messages. Even if the pose is part of the sport (keeping in mind that poses-by definition is not ‘active’), it convenes real meaning. Vonn is a brilliant athlete, she deserves to be on the cover, but I would guess there would be better ways to show her as a successful athlete-hey maybe by showing her as an actual athlete instead of some posed bent over beauty.


  129. If I saw a male skier on the cover in the same pose, I bet I’d think the same thing – “I hope the SI cover jinx doesn’t apply to the Olympics. I really want an American to get gold.” She’s our best shot and instead of trying to use her to argue that SI is sexist, why not try just supporting her for the tremendous athlete and role model she is. I guess it is weird that SI would predominantly put male athletes on the cover when men’s sports are incredibly more popular and that they would cater to men when the largest part of their readership is undoubtedly male. What are they thinking? That being said, I looked back at a good deal of the covers from the 90s and they really don’t support your argument in the least. Other than the swimsuit issue – which is obviously sexualized. Oh, and there are male posed action shots on a number of covers. Some wearing far less than Vonn – Michael Johnson for example. I was not at all offended by this.

  130. There is nothing sexual about the pose. Have you never seen downhill skiing? You’re issue with the lack of women on SI covers in absolutely valid, but you belittle your argument by saying the pose is any way sexual.

  131. I’ve been getting a lot of comments in this particular blog. It seems I’ve touched a nerve and many disagree with my interpretation of Vonn on the cover of SI. And many of the comments provide alternative perspectives, which is good for discussion. First, let me say I am a fan of Vonn. I have nothing against her and am proud she is a Minnesotan. I am also not saying that Vonn thrives on the attention of the sport media, or seeks it out. I believe she is being covered so frequently because of the combination of the skill, accomplishment, AND her appearance. I have to disagree that this pose in “in action”. In sport media research, we would code that as a passive shot. She is not actually ON the slope skiing, with her helmet on. She IS in a posed tuck position in an attempt to simulate what actually skiing would look like. Yes she is “in uniform” but not her complete uniform and she appears to be on the slope. Picture this as a way to frame what I’m trying to get at: Picture a male ski racer in a similar pose on the cover of SI, smiling at the camera. Would we see that? How would you react to that picture, verses the picture of Vonn? As one blog commenter seemed to hint at, this pose is “ok” because she is hot and sexy, so she is nice to look at. How would “we” feel if the female skier did not meet normative standards of feminine attractiveness (i.e., she was “ugly”) and was in the same pose? I appreciate everyone’s willingness to share their opinions.

  132. You have got to be kidding me. How is this pose “sexualized”? Have you ever watched downhill skiing? That’s pretty much how they stand. Feet would probably be further apart. The only difference between this and an actual even is the fact she’s wearing makeup instead of a helmet. Does that make it sexualized? I say it makes it personalized. Is it really so bad that Americans know what she looks like under that helmet? Your post is just a gross overreaction to nothing. This is the kind of thing wrong with our world. You sound like you’re upset that SI doesn’t do many female covers and then when they do you shoot them down for it, even though it’s a pretty darn accurate representation of what this amazing athlete will be doing in the coming month.

  133. For Heavens sakes, would everyone STOP being so dang sensative…….it is all about selling the Olympics for goodess sakes, do you think Danica Patrick would get half the attention if she was 5 foot tall and 200 pounds? NOPE! For the person that doesn’t really know anything about skiing, do you think this might help some people turn it on? YEP! Good lord…in that case I am offended with the body condoms the Olympic Swimers are wearing….Good Lord.

    How is this pose sexual anyway? Because she doesn’t have on a helmet and goggles and you can actually see her face and hair? OHHHHHHH the humanity!

  134. I was linked to this article from yahoo.com’s home page articles. I can’t believe how easily offended some people get. Her pose objectifies her….really? Anyone with any knowledge knows that is a skiing stance. Should we claim women lying down is ojectifying as well? It sure looks like the missionary position to me… Rediculous.

  135. You don’t know what you’re talking about. She’s both hot and an athlete. I haven’t looked at your profile but my guess that your overweight and smoke.

    But you are smart – because you said something controversial enough to warrant me making a post. So cudos.

  136. You’re kidding right? Okay, I totally agree that female athletes are sorely lacking in and on Sports Illustrated, but how is Ms Vonn in a sexualized pose?

    She’s a downhill skier, and she assumes that pose every time she races, as does every other male and female skier. The tuck is important for control and gaining speed in a run.

  137. Sexualized? That is obsurd! I ski raced all through childhood and college and have coached the sport as well. Since she is America’s best hope this year at a Michael Phelps like performance, she is worthy of the cover.

    She is wearing the outfit that she wears while she competes and she is in a very common tuck position that happens all the time in ski racing and this is about as close as you can get to an action shot. This position is not a sexual “pose” at all.

    Lindsey Vonn would probably disagree with your assessment. I highly doubt she thought of this as sexual in any way. Just because she happens to be a female athlete that is attractive it doesnt automatically make it sexual.

  138. Hmmm, there is no other way to say it: Are you kidding me? You are a {I edited this word} retard! Get a life, you loser. Lindsey is awesome and that is what she will be wearing in the speed events with a helmet, of course. She will also be in that position. Jeez. What a politically-correct fool you are.

  139. I think you missed an important point – success. Vonn is the most successful USA woman’s skier and is leading the WC currently. If that were not the case she might nopt be one of the “poster girls” That said, she is hot. And that’s okay, in fact Dr LaVoi, you’re a very attractive woman yourself (http://www.womentalksports.com/images/biopic38.JPG)

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