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Thread: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition

  1. #1
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    Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition

    In the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Chinese people are exotic props

    Jessica Gomes, Guilin, Guangxi province [Sports Illustrated].

    For the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition (which is a thing that still somehow exists despite there being porn all over the internet and the editors having so few new ideas that they put the same blonde girl on the cover two years in a row), the magazine decided on a tour of all seven continents, replete with native human props.

    As Gwen Sharp noted in 2012 at Sociological Images:

    [We] see a very common trend in ads or photo shoots for fashion and luxury services: non-White individuals may be included in the photo shoot, but they are not used to model the use of the product or service itself. As Ashley Mears argues in her ethnography of modeling, Pricing Beauty: The Making of a Fashion Model, non-White bodies are generally seen as incompatible with the idealized fantasy of inaccessibility and sophistication that is the guiding aesthetic for fashion mag editorials and advertisements for luxury goods. In these images, we see that non-Whites are included in a way that superficially increases diversity in a magazine’s pages, without disrupting the assumption that the imagined consumer — the subject of these images — is White.


    Anne V in Guilin, Guangxi province [Sports Illustrated].

    Worse, as Dodai Stewart points out at Jezebel, the depictions of Chinese people (and non-white people in general) in this series is very regressive:

    A white person relaxing, a person of color working. Tale as old as time. A non-white person in the service of a white person. This photo cements stereotypes, perpetuates an imbalance in the power dynamic, is reminiscent of centuries of colonialism (and indentured servitude) and serves as a good example of both creating a centrality of whiteness and using "exotic" people as fashion props. China has tons of skyscrapers and modern cities that make New York look rickety, but this image recreates an age-old narrative in which anything non-Western is quaint, backward and impoverished. This is the image the mag is using to represent Asia. (Maybe the editors didn't want to shoot swimsuits in a city, but they did take shots on dry land and they didn't have to use a dude with dental issues on a river raft.)

    For Sports Illustrated, China is poverty and 'ethnic' clothing, not the world's second largest economy where the majority of people live in cities rather than the countryside.
    Yo, Sports Illustrated! I'm Chinese. I'd be happy to serve as as an exotic prop for the next swimsuit edition.
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  2. #2
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    penguins

    Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue Goes to 7 Continents, Finds Exotic People to Use as Props
    Dodai Stewart

    For the 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the magazine photographed models on all 7 continents. A world tour of ill-fitting "swim" wear! But sometimes a half-naked lady standing in front of a gorgeous natural backdrop just isn't enough. So the photographers used natives as props.

    Using people of color as background or extras is a popular fashion trope, whether it's Nylon magazine, the Free People catalog, British Vogue or J. Crew. But although it's prevalent, it's very distasteful.

    A photo shoot in Spain included matadors. Cliché but not that problematic: Matadors are performers themselves, in a way. (Spain, and by extension, the rest of Europe, was also represented by these carriage drivers.)

    However. One photograph shot in Guangxi, China, included a group of young girls. The model, Jessica Gomes, is Australian, but her father is from Portugal and her mother is from Singapore. Since she's part Asian, it could be argued that this shot is not about what Gwen Sharp at Sociological Images calls the centrality of whiteness. Yet the model, in Western clothes (however skimpy that suit may be), is placed in the center as a contrast to the children in non-Western clothes. It renders them "exotic," a spectacle. In addition, the model is not interacting with the kids. Classic case of othering. Also: People are not props.

    In another shot from Guilin, Guangxi, model Anne V. reclines as a local man uses a pole to propel a raft. A white person relaxing, a person of color working. Tale as old as time. A non-white person in the service of a white person. This photo cements stereotypes, perpetuates an imbalance in the power dynamic, is reminiscent of centuries of colonialism (and indentured servitude) and serves as a good example of both creating a centrality of whiteness and using "exotic" people as fashion props. China has tons of skyscrapers and modern cities that make New York look rickety, but this image recreates an age-old narrative in which anything non-Western is quaint, backward and impoverished. This is the image the mag is using to represent Asia. (Maybe the editors didn't want to shoot swimsuits in a city, but they did take shots on dry land and they didn't have to use a dude with dental issues on a river raft.) Also: People are not props.

    But even more upsetting are the shots taken in Namibia, in which a black man is a prop. A black model was also shot in the African country, but when the magazine used the man as a prop, they used a white model, for contrast. Photographing Emily DiDonato against the country's stunning sands wasn't enough. A half-naked native makes the shot seem more exotic — even though Namibia is a country with a capital city where there are shopping malls and people, you know, who wear Western clothes. Also: People are not props.

    Africa has long been portrayed as a place of uncivilized, primitive people, despite the fact that it is a very diverse continent with an epic diaspora and considered the birthplace of civilization. From Morocco to Côte d'Ivoire to Ethiopia to Egypt and Nigeria, no one African country is like another. But these shots tap into the West's past obsession/fetishization with so-called savages, jungle comics and the like. Again: In a visit to seven continents, this image is what Sports Illustrated is using to represent the continent of Africa. A model holding a ****ing spear.

    Questions: Who is this man? Was he cast? Was he paid? Does he know his ass is in glossy print, all over the United States right now?

    Just FYI, there were no people-props used in the Australia photoshoot. Australians probably aren't exotic enough? The photo shoots done in the Bahamas and Chile had no people-props either. In Antartica, Kate Upton was joined by penguins. Black man, Chinese man, penguins.
    Yo, Sports Illustrated! I'll wear a penguin suit to serve as as an exotic prop for the next swimsuit edition.
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  3. #3
    the elderly man and the hunter looked unhappy, they prolly knew they were being exploited but needed the monays.

    they shouldve at least let them touch the models tralala.

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    Someday this will be reversed, with poor white exotics as background.

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  5. #5
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    The photo in Spain has a very different vibe from the others. The model is touching the matador in the front, so besides being a prop, he's also shown as worthy of the model's attention/interest. He's basically treated as a 'stud', whereas the African and Chinese men are shown as complete non-prospects unworthy of the models' attention.

  6. #6
    I don't think it should be a surprise when a swimsuit issue is objectifying people.

  7. #7
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    Get rid of the bull fighting stuff. That has to stop being glorified. Just saying. Being a critical ninny and all.
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    Get rid of the bull fighting stuff. That has to stop being glorified. Just saying. Being a critical ninny and all.
    I totally agree. I've never understood it as it seems a very cruel way to kill an animal. And for those who watch it with enthusiasm, well that says a lot about them.

  9. #9
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    IN Portugal we have bull fighting too, we do NOT kill the bull BUT the bull is stabbed with darts to tire it out and then a group of guys come in and make the bull charge and they catch the bull, pile on and stop it.
    They then release the bull and the bull is taken care of and not used again.
    IMO, even THAT needs to stop.
    The running of the bulls too.
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    Being Spanish myself i agree with ending the bullfighting thing. Its even more absurd that the bull is a symbol of the country and they are harming it. Thats like like Americans having regular bald eagle hunting competitions.

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  11. #11
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    I'm looking into penguin suit rentals

    Quote Originally Posted by Syn7 View Post
    I don't think it should be a surprise when a swimsuit issue is objectifying people.
    Good one, Syn7. Spot on.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdhowland View Post
    Someday this will be reversed, with poor white exotics as background.

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    lol..."poor white exotics"

    You just described most of Russia and a lot of Eastern Europe.




    And Mississippi and Alabama....
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  13. #13
    Bullfighting epitomizes lil dick syndrome.


    I'm not completely opposed to throwing bullfighters naked in a giant cage while two enraged bulls get to go rounds on his ass. We can sell tickets.
    Last edited by Syn7; 02-22-2013 at 10:44 PM.

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