2016 ‘Sports Illustrated’ Swimsuit Edition Cover Reveal: Twitter Reacts, Activists Ask For Censorship

The 2016 Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition cover reveal caused a lot of excitement last night as the magazine made history by selecting three cover models instead of one. Ronda Rousey, Ashley Graham, and Hailey Clauson all stun on their individual covers. It’s the first time in 52 years that the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover will represent the three very different body types that have been represented in its annual bikini special.

The issue hits newsstands on Monday, and typically, the annual swimsuit edition sells more than 1 million copies each year.

The honor of being a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover model has been bestowed in the past on such models as Kate Upton, Irina Shayk, Cheryl Tiegs, Christie Brinkley, Kathy Ireland, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, and Marisa Miller.

Here’s a quick look at all three covers. Ashley Graham is the first plus size model to make the cover, Ashley Graham is topless, and Ronda Rousey actually isn’t in a swimsuit, what you’re seeing is body paint.

The magazine will also include five rookies making their first ever Sports Illustrated Swimsuit appearance, and more than 20 models, according to the Daily Mail.

“Every single woman that is booked for this magazine is cover worthy,” explained Sports Illustrated Assistant Managing Editor MJ Day. “The collective beauty in the magazine is overwhelming. SI has always been and will always be about the models; the pictures you see here are a celebration of them.”

“The three covers of Hailey, Ronda and Ashley celebrate the new SI Swimsuit. All three women are beautiful, sexy and strong. Beauty is not cookie cutter. Beauty is not ‘one size fits all.’ Beauty is all around us and that became especially obvious to me while shooting and editing this year’s issue.”

Here’s how Twitter is reacting to the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover reveal.

However, one particular activist group were making demands for censorship of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition even before the three different covers were revealed.

MassLive reports that an advocacy group already asked the public to demand retailers wrap or remove the issue from public view. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation said it is making its appeal based on Sports Illustrated‘s long history of objectification of women.

The group asked the public to target retailers including Walmart, Walgreens, and Barnes & Noble. A website for participants has been set up at endsexualexploitation.org/articles/sports-illustrated-swimsuit

“Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue should be renamed the Sexploitation Issue,” said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“This magazine has a long history of sexually objectifying women for sport, and any store that displays SI’s February issue is sending the message that it agrees women’s bodies are for public consumption.”

Hawkins criticized TNT for airing a special on the cover reveal on Saturday evening with this statement.

“TNT ‘s participation only reveals the network’s ignorance about the links between all forms of sexual exploitation, and makes them complicit in sexual exploitation.”

“Just last week there was a torrent of media about the tragedy of sex trafficking at the Super Bowl, and now Sports Illustrated, a prominent sports news source, is promoting the commodification of women’s bodies as sexual objects for personal entertainment,” Hawkins said. “A publication that denigrates women by portraying them as ornamental objects for sexual pleasure is a publication that perpetuates a toxic culture of sexual exploitation and inequality.”

Do you think this year’s Sports Illustrated‘s Swimsuit Edition cover should be censored?

[Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images]