Lindsey Vonn's appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated's Olympic preview edition for the United States got a lot of attention after the wide circulation of a critical blog post by Nicole LaVoi, associate director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls and Women in Sports at the University of Minnesota.
"When females are featured on the cover of SI," LaVoi wrote, "they are more likely than not to be in sexualized poses and not in action — and the most recent Vonn cover is no exception."
The majority of the reaction to the post has been critical of LaVoi. It has been pointed out that Vonn is wearing the outfit she competes in and is in a traditional skiing position. In followup posts, LaVoi elaborated on her feelings, saying among other things that ski stance or not, the photo is still posed and Vonn isn't in her complete uniform because she isn't wearing a helmet.
"Picture a male ski racer in a similar pose on the cover of SI, smiling at the camera. Would we see that?" she wrote.
(Responses to that comment have pointed out that SI's Canadian preview issue has on the cover the Pittsburgh Penguins' and Team Canada's Sidney Crosby in a posed shot, in uniform except for his helmet, in a faceoff stance, head up and smiling at the camera.)
LaVoi re-entered the fray Tuesday when SI announced that Vonn is one of three U.S. female Olympians in this year's swimsuit issue (the others are snowboarder Hannah Teter and freestyle skier Lacy Schnoor) and posted photos from the issue on its Web site.
"The critique here is the same," LaVoi wrote. "Arguably, the Vonn SI cover can be interpreted (or not) as sexualized, but these images are clearly sexualizing in nature and tone."
Times staff, wires