Does Sports Illustrated's 2015 Swimsuit Cover Go Too Low?


Hannah Davis on the 2015 cover of the Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue. (Photo: Courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

When model Hannah Davis called her mom to tell her she landed the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, Davis says her mom told her that she “wet her pants” in shock.

Which implies that Davis the elder was wearing pants, unlike her daughter — who is sporting next to nothing in the bottoms department on this year’s cover.

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“This is my dream come true. This is my dream job,” 24-year-old Davis said upon finding out she was this year’s cover girl. Born and raised in St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Davis is a former champion of the Caribbean National Tennis Team, valedictorian of her high school class, and on-again, off-again girlfriend of Yankee extraordinaire Derek Jeter. A former regular face on Ralph Lauren campaigns, Davis is no stranger to the modeling world — though cinching this year’s Sports Illustrated cover is sure to take her career to a whole new level.

Especially due to her state of undress on the cover.

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In the photo, Davis is engaged in the classic swimsuit-model pose of tugging down her bikini bottoms. But what makes this image particularly notable is the degree to which she does so — and the degree to which her mons pubis (or pubic mound) is on display without even so much of a hint of the start of pudendal cleft or labia majora.

From a full-frontal angle, this year’s cover goes lower than ever before, though recent covers are memorable in their own right: 2009’s cover with Israeli model Bar Refaeli in a near-identical pose, Kate Upton’s nipple-grazing 2013 snow bunny shot, or last year’s cover featuring the estimable trio of rears belonging to Chrissy Teigen, Lily Aldridge, and Nina Agdal.


Chrissy Teigen, Lily Aldridge, and Nina Agdal on the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover. (Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

Some might argue this is a striking display of female empowerment and sexuality. Indeed, what could make for a better mascot of sex-positive feminism than a young woman such as Davis recognizing and using the power of her own body — and the power of the male gaze — to achieve her own great professional success?


Bar Refaeli on the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover. (Photo courtesy of Sports Illustrated)

But there’s no question that Sports Illustrated has gone lower than ever before, swimsuit-bottom-wise. Is the female form meant to be ogled and consumed? Or is this bare-all attitude really one of female empowerment?