Sports Illustrated is swimmingly chauvinistic

July 06, 1993|By Kevin B. Blackistone | Kevin B. Blackistone,Dallas Morning News

The world made a shocking discovery last week.

Sports Illustrated, it was found, is by and large a men's magazine. Chauvinistically, too.

This significant discovery was made in Toronto at the office of Young & Rubicam, which was under contract with adidas Canada Ltd. to produce an advertisement.

The ad featured 11 members of the Richmond Hill Kick, a soccer team that plays in the National Soccer League there and is sponsored by adidas. They were photographed sporting adidas soccer shoes.

And smiles. That was it.

"The ad was designed with the values and standards of Canadians in mind," said Phil Newsome, Young & Rubicam's adidas account director.

The Kicks' hands, however, were strategically placed, as if to guard from the errant punches of a 4-year-old. The ad read: "Your team won't be taken seriously if it's not wearing adidas. Don't be seen in anything less."

Then off to Sports Illustrated adidas went, its new ad in tow. After all, America's top sports magazine was on the verge of launching its Canadian edition and was well-versed in risque adventure, too.

And SI is the magazine devoted to covering every athletic endeavor around the world. That apparently even includes ogling.

Ogling, of course, is where men compete to see who can generate the most drool or spill the most coffee or beer while scanning barely clad female bodies.

The magazine has yet to report on a winner, but for many years now it has promoted the contest in its annual and infamous swimsuit issue.

And in SI's version of the sport, it features women only.

SI has made no bones about using qustionable taste to make quite a few extra bucks.

That was the opportunity adidas Canada was looking to cash on when it bought space for the ad in Sports Illustrated. A risque photo, but of men, not women.

Sports Illustrated pulled the ad. "Not suitable for publication," the magazine deemed.

"We're seeing a double standard from the point of th magazine's offering of female anatomy and male anatomy," charged Newsome.

How shocking.

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