Lindsey Vonn poses for Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

11:04 PM, Feb 9, 2010   |    comments
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  • Lindsey Vonn, Sports Illustrated
  • Lindsey Vonn, Sports Illustrated

VANCOUVER -- Lindsey Vonn is making headlines, but not for skiing.

Hers is the face adorning the cover of Sports Illustrated this week and some in the sports research world wonder if her photo is meant to be sporty, or sexy.

"When we do see an athletic female of the cover of Sports Illustrated we are more likely to see her in poses that highlight femininity, physical attractiveness and can be interpreted as sexualized," Dr. Nicole La Voi said. La Voi is the Associate Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. La Voi studies female athletes' portrayal in media meticulously and she says just 6-8 percent of all sports media coverage goes to women.

So any image that is sexual taints all of it.

"When we see the sexualization and feminization of female athletes over and over it sends the message to young girls that get internalized and they say, oh even if I am an athlete its really more important to look good that see what my body can do," Dr. La Voi said.

For those who have no issue with Vonn's cover photo, consider the photos in the Sports Illustrated 2010 swimsuit issue.

Four marquis winter Olympians, Vonn included, are pin ups in the magazine.

And the shots are certainly lacking sport, and marketing sex.

"That's the argument right, sex sells, sex sells women's sports," Dr. La Voi said.

That is exactly the argument according to Dr. Stephen Ross in the sports management graduate program at the U of M.

"It's a masterful marketing job for Sports Illustrated," Dr. Ross said.

Sex and sports all in one issue.

But sexualized women.

Women at the top of their game.

Sure, men get it too, but they also get 92% of sports media coverage.

It's proportionally out of whack.

As were the responses Dr. La Voi got when she blogged about the Vonn photo on the SI cover and the SI swimsuit issue.

The comments were not to counter her points, but rather, suggest she was, ironically, unattractive, overweight and perverted.

Attacking a woman, on what she looks like, not what she can do.

Painfully ironic.

(Copyright 2010 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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