Opinion: The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue’s models are diverse. Their poses are not.

With few exceptions, the 100-plus pages of the print edition are a compendium of come-hither looks, cocked hips, softly parted lips, arched backs. Women crawl through sand toward the camera, head tilted, cleavage forward. Women “recline” on the beach, leaning on one arm, raising the other elbow to the sky, pushing their chests forward, and bending one knee, toes pointed.

No one points her toes while relaxing in real life. And no one who has ever met a hay bale would willingly wear a bikini to sit on one.

I know — this isn’t real life. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue sells a male fantasy, which in turn sells advertising (cigarettes, rum, watches, the Hard Rock Cafe). But it also sells a message of female empowerment that doesn’t square with the messages of the photos themselves.

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