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Am I missing something?Posted Friday, February 5, 2010, at 4:31 AM
I was tooling around the Internet early this morning, when I came across a link that said "Vonn magazine cover draws fire." Now, I've been barely acknowledging the existence of this year's Winter Olympics. I actually think it's hilarious that they seem to be using a swimmer to promote it.
But I know just enough to know that Lindsey Vonn is an American skier and I know that she's an attractive young woman. That was just enough to make me want to check out the offending picture. I'm a red-blooded male and the controversy meant it had to be a little bit racy, right?
At the same time, the fact that it was a Sports Illustrated cover (non-swimsuit issue) meant it couldn't be too offensive, right?
Of course, curiosity got the better of me, so I clicked on the link and found THIS!
I gasped in horror. I turned away my eyes. How could SI do something so offensive?
Oh, the humanity!!!
OK, maybe not. Here's what actually happened:
I looked at the photo.
I looked away.
Confused, I looked again, lingering a little longer this time.
Again, I looked away.
A third time, I turned back to the photo -- this time tilting my head to a 45-degree angle to be in line with Ms. Vonn's angle on the page.
Then I looked away again.
And a fourth time, I looked -- quickly this time -- just to make sure there wasn't something I was missing.
(Blink.) (Thinking, thinking, thinking.) (Blink.)
"It looks like a woman skiing to me," I said.
I suppose if she were really skiing, she'd have more protection on her face. I'm not really offended by this oversight, though. Ms. Vonn knows skiing. I'm sure she pointed out the inconsistency.
She is wearing a Red Bull headband, and I find the taste of Red Bull to be reprehensible. I don't think this is what the activists are offended by either.
Apparently, the criticism of the magazine is that a mere 4 percent of its covers feature woman, and when women are featured, they are often sexualized.
Anyone who has a beef with the number of women on the cover has a case, I suppose. I suspect, though, it has less to do with any chauvinistic agenda than it has to do with the most popular sports in the U.S. being football, baseball, men's basketball, ice hockey, men's soccer, men's golf, etc.
If they dislike the objectification of women in the annual swimsuit issue, I won't argue. I have no problem with the swimsuit issue, but I have no argument for those who don't like it.
But to say the pose Vonn is taking on the latest cover is overly sexual takes someone with a dirty mind or who is trying very hard to be offended. I understand she's wearing skin-tight clothes, but that's what skiers wear. I also noticed she is sticking her posterior out really far, but that is just a skier's tuck.
Both of these things help her make it down the hill faster, which is sort of the point.
If either of these things offend you, then try watching the sport sometime. This is basically on par with getting upset with the way a swimmer's frog kick looks or with the length of a distance runner's shorts. It's only a problem if you want it to be.
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Jared Jernagan is a 2003 graduate of Wabash College and has been in journalism since 2005.