Growing up, my mother would always make sure she tossed the annual SI swimsuit edition into the trash, before presumably, I stashed it under my mattress for those cold New England nights. It was a move that always signaled to me, that the magazine was dirty. Something that should not be looked at or consumed.Who knows what the motivation actually was — maybe she just didn’t care to have half-naked women on her coffee table, or maybe she resented the objectification of women and didn’t want to raise her son to feel that was okay, or maybe she thought it was trash and felt better about throwing it in the garbage.
Whatever the reason, it was fairly inline with my chaste Catholic upbringing. Long after the glut of internet porn allowed me instant access to Japanese bukake videos, German S&M, golden showers, double penetrations and whatever disgusting fetish you could imagine, my family was still fast forwarding through the steamy love scenes of movies if there was ever a family movie night when I was home from college.
And so, in that light, it’s strange to see the SI Swimsuit magazine become the standard-bearer of good taste and class. Especially because in my history it’s always been the height of impropriety. It’s downright prudish in its sensibilities, harkening back to era when a women in a bathing suit was risque. Now, it’s not. But there is something sexy in the less-is-more approach to the image of a woman in her bathing suit.
This year, the cover model is Russian Irina Shayk. Never heard of her until this morning, when she was revealed as the new face of the swimsuit edition.