The women on these covers are given agency through their photographic depiction by means of their strong stances and the camera angles of the photos (take from below the subjects). Acceptions to the progress these more recent photos are exemplified in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues, other model cover shots, and the cover of Anna Kournikova (photographs taken looking down onto the subjects).
In starck contrast are the “Dream Team” photos of the U.S. Softball Team and trio of models – whose “dream” do they represent? Why does a magazine devoted to sports need to create this alternative Dream Team?
Does the photo of Anna Kournikova, by subscribing to the depiction of the models’ femininity, lessen her athletic accomplishments? Without her asthetic appeal, would her athletic accomplishments have earned her this cover?
To examine the recent photos of the athletes more closely, the photographs depict the women in powerful positions. But, are those positions of power gendered?
Why must the cover athletes be or depict masculinity at it’s “finest”? The male gaze of the magazine’s audience, a representation of larger society, can only see women in their “traditional” role. For a female to display power, they must be masculine.
Photographed from below, with little focus on “feminine” features, and in muscular stances, the women take on masculinity with each photograph. Are there only two ways for women to be portrayed on these covers – as models or males? If there are only these two ways, how can we measure the success or failure of Title IX in creating pathways for women?