A writer for Fusion, the network and platform that debuted on Monday to appeal to Hispanics and Millennials, believes Sports Illustrated is sexist for not putting female athletes on its cover in issues other than the swimsuit issue.
In an article titled, “Sports Illustrated’s Women Problem,” Fusion writer Elizabeth Murray writes that Sports Illustrated “has an incredibly poor record featuring female athletes on its cover.”
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue features female athletes on the inside of the magazine, and also always includes a female editor in chief. It’s also become synonymous with the Sports Illustrated brand. But the fact remains that the cover remains one of the major ways that women can land a Sports Illustrated cover, and we’d be doing a disservice to the magazine and media industry by not discussing the lack of women on such a prominent magazine.
Less than 5 percent of non-swimsuit issue covers featured female athletes, a study by University of Louisville professors Jonetta Weber and Robert Carini published in the journal International Review for the Sociology of Sport revealed this past May. While there were 716 non-swimsuit issues of Sports Illustrated published between 2000 and 2011, only 18 times a woman was the “primary or sole image” on the cover.
Fusion also cites an Atlantic article that criticizes the magazine for “featuring anonymous women not related directly to sports participation, sexually objectifying female athletes, and promoting women in more socially acceptable gender-neutral or feminine sports.”
For some reason, Fusion thinks Sports Illustrated should have featured the marriage between “United States Women’s National Team players Abby Wambach and Sarah Huffman” or the accomplishments of another gay athlete, Brittney Griner, on the cover and complains that the last time a female athlete was on the cover of Sports Illustrated was on July 23, 2012, when the magazine “featured the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team during the London Olympics.”