Sports Illustrated To Discontinue Swimsuit Issue
New York, January 27 – Sports Illustrated publisher Frank Wall told reporters today that TimeWarner would make this year’s swimsuit edition the last, as the company no longer sees the annual issue as a core part of its commercial appeal.
Wall assembled a press conference to announce the news, noting that the American sports fan has grown ever more sophisticated, and base appeals to sexual desires are no longer the sales draw that they once were. “With the maturity of the American male sports aficionado, the annual swimsuit issue just doesn’t suit our target market anymore,” he said. “Our strength has always been in trenchant analysis, not cheap pandering to the male libido.”
The decision brings to an end a fifty-year-old practice. For years, the swimsuit issue was the magazine’s best-seller, but according to Wall, TimeWarner’s board decided late last year that it was time to move beyond the adolescent appeal of lithe, bronzed supermodels showcasing designer bathing suits in provocative poses. “We have more respect for our audience than that now,” said Wall, “and of course we regret subjecting women to such treatment, thereby fostering their objectification and warping the way in which people view romantic relationships.”
Once release of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition ceases, there will be only two American magazine publishers that use sex appeal to engage the male reader. Maxim and Muscle&Fitness magazines will be the only remaining such publications available at newsstands. Penthouse, Playboy, and Hustler, all one-time mainstays of the pornography field, folded over the last few years as interest in their offerings faded with the rising maturity and morality of their audience. Other, lesser-known purveyors of smut have likewise gone under or moved their operations exclusively to the internet, where discreet access to the crude content is still available to the few with stunted sensibilities.