Boycott Sports Illustrated & their Swimsuit Edition of Pornography

My parents had a free subscription to Sports Illustrated awarded to them and they decided to transfer it to me, knowing I’m a big sports fan.  This made me nervous because the biggest temptations from my past in my battle with pornography has been their swimsuit edition.  In fact, their swimsuit website was my first step into the evil, dark, addictive world of pornography when I was in middle school.

So when my mom informed me these magazines would once again be coming to my house (I long ago stopped subscribing due to the amount of swimsuit / sexually graphic ads in every magazine, let alone the swimsuit edition itself), I decided to try the old trick of having Jen preview the magazine and tear out the sexually graphic pictures (typically swimsuit ads), before giving it to me to read (a.k.a. to put on the back of my toilet).

My mom told me the subscription would run out before the swimsuit edition came.  This was not the case as the dark cloud of mid-February crept closer (when the swimsuit edition always comes, the week of Valentine’s Day, how appropriate) and the magazines are still being delivered to my mailbox.  A few weeks ago, I was delighted to see a notice near the table of contents that you could call customer service and have the swimsuit edition cancelled.  Problem solved.

I called.

It was cancelled.

They even mailed me a letter confirming that it was cancelled.

So I was in for quite a surprise when I opened my mailbox last week to see the familiar 1/2 inch thick shiny book of seduction staring up at me from my mailbox.  The magazine in my mailbox reminded me of all the times I’ve eaten from the trough of porn in the past, and after ridding it from my life completely, it is now as readily available as ever before, beckoning me back into bed with it.

Jesus teaches in Matthew 5:27-28 that if a man looks lustfully at a woman, it is the same as committing adultery.  This means it is the same as having sex with her.  That’s the sickening thing about porn, and lust in general.  There are insecure, captive, and/or ignorant women (and male models as well) making themselves available for this type of mental sex with stupid, addicted, sinful men like me.  Or at least, the man I used to be.  But this is a dark reality I lived for far too long and so I want to make a point about it in this blog post.  Not to judge these women, who many either don’t know what they’re doing, or don’t feel like they have a choice in doing it, or simply aren’t Christians and thus don’t care about God’s standards for intimacy (not going to judge a non-Christian based on Christ’s standards).  It’s also not the judge the men, so many who are addicted to these fake, empty, instant gratification experiences, yet that leave us empty and polluted in the end.  But my hope is to raise some awareness that the swimsuit edition is not an innocent fashion magazine and it’s not something that should be accepted so normally by our culture.  It destroys marriages.  It almost destroyed mine.  We should be angry about this.  Not angry at the women, but angry at the industry and the system.  And we should stand up for God’s design for sexual intimacy, both in our own lives, and as a warning for others.

Back to the mailbox…

A pit is now in my stomach.  I’m home alone.  With a lust banquet sitting in my mailbox.  It’s as if someone played a cruel joke and subscribed me to Playboy without me knowing it.  It’s like sending a bag of crack to a recovered drug addict.  I feel a lot like Joseph felt when Potiphar’s adulterous wife tried dragging him to bed with her in Genesis 39.

The advantage I have is I am bundled up, dog leash in hand (with attached dog), ready to go on a nice walk since the sun finally decided to show it still exists in February in Lansing.  Joseph ran, could I do the same?  In earlier years, I know for a fact I would have crumbled.  The swimsuit edition has always been a temptation to me this time of year.  It stares at me from magazine racks every year seductively whispering, “You want me, don’t you?”, “Remember when you had me?”

Like Joseph, I ran.  Well, I walked, but you get the picture.  I was angry.  Angry at Sports Illustrated for sending me this lethal dose of smut after my mind has been reformatted and clean for so long.  Angry at myself that there’s a strong part of me that still longs for these images.  Angry at Satan because I know he orchestrated the magazine to arrive in my mailbox after it was officially confirmed it wouldn’t.  Angry at God because it was another reminder that I’ve been pure, but the transactional exchange I still expected from him in terms of blessing for my obedience felt lacking (You know, like the reward Joseph got for being pure…oh wait, he was thrown in prison for years for that…um…).

So I walked down Michigan Ave. with my dog, angry at this system and this cycle, and not wanting to go near my house because this book of evil was waiting for me in my mailbox and I wasn’t sure I could defeat it again.  I called Jen and told her what had transpired.  Thankfully she was close to being home from work and soon could take the magazine and discard it at a public garbage can can somewhere.  For the next day or two, there was still that evil voice inside of me telling me I should have at least taken a peek.  That I should have taken advantage of the opportunity and had lost my chance.

So this morning I called Sports Illustrated’s customer service and told them what happened.  They told me it was my fault I got the magazine because I didn’t call early enough to cancel it.  Even though I called right after reading their notice…even though the person I talked to confirmed it would be cancelled…even though I got a letter from them confirming the cancellation…it was my fault.

Oh and he told me my account would be credited and I should give the swimsuit edition to a friend!

I informed the gentleman that I have a young child, and that I also don’t want to see this pornography, and how irresponsible it was of their company to allow what happened to happen.  (Honestly yes, I was hoping for a free Eagles or Reds fleece, or SOMETHING that showed they screwed up and wanted to keep me around)  I got nothing.  So I told him to cancel my subscription and that I didn’t want anything to do with their company.

So I’m writing this blog so my legions of readers can help me put Sports Illustrated out of business!  After all, SI’s highest selling magazine edition is by far their swimsuit edition, which accounts for 11% of their annual revenue as a company and is the single best-selling issue in Time Inc.’s magazine franchise.

Blog readers, we can do this!

Ok, maybe not.

So why write this blog post?  Because I’m sick of every sports radio DJ talking about the SI swimsuit edition like you’re not a man if you don’t look at it.  I’m sick of it being such an accepted part of our culture.  I’m sick of marriages everywhere suffering because men are wishing their wives looked like these imaginary women and wives everywhere feeling insecure because they don’t.

And so I needed to say something, so I did.

And I won’t miss it.  And looking back, it’s stupid that I even had it coming to my house in the first place.  That my wife has to rip out porn pictures ever other issue (mostly advertisements for their swimsuit content), so I can read about sports while I poop.  Doesn’t quite seem worth it.  And I don’t think it’s worth it for you either.

Down with SI! 🙂

 

 

 

Please read my next post about how Christians should treat the women in the swimsuit edition and in pornography.

 

*For those of you unfamiliar with the recent swimsuit editions, these women are essentially nude.  This is why I call it “porn”.  Photos that stand out in my memory are the numerous ones where she is not wearing a top, but her hair hangs down and covers her nipples, the one where she is laying down completely naked with sand over her nipples and an iPod over her pubic hair, the numerous ones where the nipples easily show through the wet top, the painted on swimsuit (paint over a naked body, that is all), as well as the many “regular” swimsuits that show every centimeter of skin possible and only cover up the nipples and crotch itself.  These are not “regular” bikinis that you might wear to the beach and this is not a fashion magazine.  They have one intent and one intent only, and it’s to get men to lust over them, masturbate over them, and fantasize over them while having sex with their wives, wishing their wives looked like these naked models.  This breeds addiction and is why the magazine is such a cash cow for SI.  Men don’t shell out this type of cash for fashion magazines.  None of those things are your intention when you go to he beach and wear a regular bikini.  I’m not saying wearing a bikini is wrong, I’m saying intentionally trying to get men to lust over you and masturbate over you is wrong.  You can decide if that is your intention when you wear a bikini, but I doubt it is, and thus I classify it completely differently than what is found in the glossy pages of SI’s swimsuit edition.

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19 responses to Boycott Sports Illustrated & their Swimsuit Edition of Pornography


  1. Interesting post, I didn’t know how bad the Swimsuit edition had gotten but wondered when they had the cover lady on tv for an interview and they had images from the magazine with blur/banner spots over strategic areas. Made me wonder, and now makes more sense.


  2. Noah,

    I appreciate your willingness to deal with such a difficult subject, however, I have to say that it disappoints me to note that when you write with the heightened emotion of being in the middle of a personal struggle, your words seem to cast more blame and hatred on others than on your own sin. I think that is the most distressing part of reading the language you use to talk about people whom God loves – and although you admit that you would treat them as Jesus would in person, I don’t believe Jesus would distinguish between the words we say behind closed doors and those we say to someone’s face.


    • Thanks for the post Kate, I definitely appreciate it. I hope that my follow-up post helped some: http://www.cutthereligiouscheese.com/how-should-we-treat-the-women-in-porn-the-swimsuit-edition-etc/ –I’m realizing through this post that the word “whore” carries a much heavier connotation to some than others and frankly, I may have simply misused the word.

      Lust/porn is not only a personal struggle for me, for which I call myself a whore as well, making me equally guilty to the women on the pages, it is also simply personal, and that’s where the heavier language comes in. Having that magazine in my mailbox last week is the difference between a porn magazine being in a magazine rack at an airport versus a wife finding a porn magazine in her husband’s suitcase. Her reaction toward the women in that magazine is going to be very different than it would be in a more objective situation. It’s personal, it’s attacking her marriage. It’s the difference between counseling a couple who’s had an affair and walking in on your spouse having an affair. It’s personal. And it felt very personal when these women were on my doorstep trying to ruin my life. That sounds like an overstatement to some, but it’s not to me, knowing the depths of addiction porn causes, and knowing how far I’ve come for so long, to only have it almost stolen away from me last week.

      And it’s my fault there’s still an allure for it, I completely own that. I don’t blame them for my struggle, but I do blame them for attempting to damage millions of marriages. I think it’s okay to get angry that an entire industry is attempting to crush marriages with its seduction. And to speak out against it. I don’t hate those women. I do hate the porn industry as a whole. If hate was communicated, it was meant to be aimed at the industry, not the women themselves. And how the industry nearly seeped its way back into my life last week. The women are enslaved themselves, and I do have compassion on them for that, which I write more about in my next post. I think my emotions flared up at Satan’s attack to try to knock me down, he just happened to use this magazine as his tool.

      I hope the gravity of what this feels like for me helps some. And I do hope that my follow-up post shows where my heart is at. Maybe I shouldn’t have used such a heavy word in this post. I honestly was not trying to insult these women, I was just trying to identify what it is they are actually doing to millions of marriages. Maybe a verb would have been better than a noun? I was trying to give a warning that what these glossy images that millions and millions of men are looking at are not of “beautiful” women, they are of seductive adulterers trying to wreak havoc on their marriages and the way their brains are programmed to look at every other woman they run across in their lives, including my wife and my daughter. I just know too many men, myself included, who for so long have allowed themselves to be deceived by the deceptions of porn, and the swimsuit edition represents the worst kind of porn to me: the kind the vast majority of our culture sees as normal and no problem.

      I would not have blogged on this had it not ended up on my doorstep. I would appreciate any advice you have on how I can better word something like this, something that tried to take me out with its deception, and tries to take out so many others.

      I’m really not trying to gloss over your comment or your concern, I’m trying to reconcile it with the incredible damage these women do, have done to me in the past, and potentially could do to me in the future.


      • Kate, I went ahead and made changes, and thanked you and others who helped me with this. This blog is a good learning experience for me. I am typically a ready-fire-aim guy and sometimes it backfires. Thanks for your help, I appreciate your courage in confronting me. -Noah

        new blog post: Beep Beep Bleep – Backing Up On My Use of the W-word http://www.cutthereligiouscheese.com/beep-beep-bleep-backing-up-on-my-use-of-the-w-word/


        • As someone who is a counter-human trafficking activist, I can tell you that there is a school of thought that says it would be better to not call anyone a prostitute. Why? Well, first, the word prostitute places a terrible stigma on the individual. Second, it subtly shifts the focus of the sin away from those who use that prostituted person. Without buyers, there would be no prostitutes.

          I am personally undecided on this approach as the Bible is replete with the usage of the word. On the other hand, even the Bible often uses euphemisms to describe some very ugly or undignified things.


    • Very respectfully, kfthrams, we should be careful about invoking Jesus’ example on what to say about other people’s sin. Jesus was often *extremely* harsh in his face-to-face words with people … and they crucified him for it. Here is a quick list of Jesus’ harsher comments as compiled at Carm.org.

      Matt. 7:4, “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
      Matt. 15:7-9, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying, 8 ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.” 9 ‘But in vain do they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’”
      Matt. 23:13, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you shut off the kingdom of heaven from men; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.”
      Matt. 23:15, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites . . . ”
      Matt. 23:16-17, “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold of the temple, he is obligated.’ 17 “You fools and blind men; which is more important, the gold, or the temple that sanctified the gold?”
      Matt. 23:23-24, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cummin, and have neglected the weightier provisions of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others. 24 “You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!”
      Matt. 23:25, ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”
      Matt. 23:27-28, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 “Even so you too outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
      Matt. 23:29, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!”
      Matt. 23:33, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell?”
      Mark 12:38-40, “Beware of the scribes who like to walk around in long robes, and like respectful greetings in the market places, 39 and chief seats in the synagogues, and places of honor at banquets, 40 who devour widows’ houses, and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers; these will receive greater condemnation.”
      Luke 11:40, “You foolish ones, did not He who made the outside make the inside also?”
      Luke 11:43-44, “Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the front seats in the synagogues, and the respectful greetings in the market places. 44 “Woe to you! For you are like concealed tombs, and the people who walk over them are unaware of it.”
      Luke 11:52, “Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter in yourselves, and those who were entering in you hindered.”
      Luke 12:1, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.”
      John 8:44, “You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father . . . ”
      John 8:49, “I do not have a demon; but I honor My Father, and you dishonor Me.”
      John 8:55, “and you have not come to know Him, but I know Him; and if I say that I do not know Him, I shall be a liar like you, but I do know Him, and keep His word.”


  3. big money sports is idolitry isnt it? pretty girls dont bother me as much as masses of people worshiping sports.


    • There is a lot wrong with the sports industry and you’re absolutely right to also be very concerned about people making it an idol.


  4. I bought the SI subscription for my son for Christmas. When the swimsuit edition came, i didn’t think anything of it as my son took it to his room. When I went down to visit him later, I was *appalled* at the porn in that magazine. Where were the women in swimsuits? These women are naked! Just exactly what the devil wants. I told him that I was pitching it and he was fine with it. Disgusting!


    • Thanks for the comment menee92. Part of the reason i wrote the post is because so many think the magazine is just an innocent fashion magazine, but like you said “where are the women in swimsuits???” the name is very misleading as many of the photos the women aren’t even wearing a top and like i mentioned, sometimes not even a bottom. they are going to need to come up with a new name for it soon or else be sued for false advertising!!!


  5. Agreed. The porn industry is simply another form of slavery–mental and emotional slavery in addition to the physical aspect. I despise it. Additionally, I think it is necessary to be fired up about something so inhumane and that leaves such lasting effects. If the anger is directed at the industry rather than the broken people who make up the industry who have fallen short like myself and every other Christian, then anger is justified and even expected, especially from one who has struggled with this temptation in the past. Isn’t it our past that God uses to relate us to those fighting the same temptations we once faced?

    How can I get on board to helping fight this destructive industry?


    • You are right on KyBux. The biggest thing I have found is just to talk about this issue, in the church, on blogs, etc. Share your story. If you’d like to write up your struggle/victory/testimony in this area, I’d be happy to take a look at it and consider posting it as a guest blog post. Something cool you can share with your friends on Facebook, etc. I think these types of things encourage others that “hey I’m not alone in this” and if you’ve found victory, they can too. Porn often feels so hopeless, like there is no way out. So people need to hear there is a way out and it isn’t hopeless. Especially with Christians. I think most Christians don’t want to look at porn, they just can’t get out from under the addiction. XXXchurch.com has a lot of good resources too and are doing a lot of good anti-porn stuff. I also blogged about a cool organization I found at the Justice Conference called the Defenders USA who have some creative anti-porn challenges for men: http://www.cutthereligiouscheese.com/porns-ripple-effects-3-collateral-damages-of-pornography-use/


  6. I completely agree with you, its tempting to view things like this and its hard living in todays world porn is not only easily obtainable, but its ACCEPTED. this should never be accepted, but sadly we are living in a world FULL of perverts, both young and old.
    Also, just to mention, the Bible does say that if you are burning with lust, you should marry. and you seem to be burning indeed. it sounds to me like you don’t have a girlfriend or wife, maybe you should look into starting a relationship instead of being tempted with porn. That way if you are feeling aroused at some point of the day, you know you could go home and have your wife please you and you would not only not guilty, but HAPPY and content that you have a way of sexual release for you and your wife to both enjoy together as one flesh. Its the way God intended!


    • Hi Peter, I am married and I agree that sex within marriage is definitely God’s design for sex. I blog a lot about that topic on here. But it’s not enough to tell a single person that if they get married, the allure of pornography will go away. Porn is much more accessible and convenient and easy and selfish and less complicated than sex within marriage, so the allure will remain until we are fully rewired to view all women the way God intended, and to view marriage as much more than simply an avenue for sex. We can’t just replace porn with a wife–that may work temporary, but porn really is an addiction, just like drugs, and when things get difficult in the marriage, that temptation is going to come back. Marriage is great, but it’s only part of the solution.


  7. I agree, very Evil! I cannot go anywhere without being marketed this specific issue. I came home today to see it on my Facebook as a “suggested page” on my phone and laptop! I detest this company and will not support anything they sell or partner with. Thank you for your wonderful, wisdom filled blogs.


    • Thank you for your encouragement Carlie! It is very troublesome how NORMAL they try to make. If they want to publish that stuff, I suppose they are free as Americans to do that, but don’t try to cram it down our throats (on Facebook ads, cashier stands, etc.) if we want to stay away from it!


  8. I wish my husband through like you. He has a collection of magazines. He putted in the trash because I asked him. I still think that when we make love he thinks in those women. Very hurtful.

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