The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue is always controversial.
This year, in an effort to be a little more sensitive to those who might be upset by the images, Sports Illustrated hired me to write Trigger Warnings to precede each photograph:
Viewing of the following image of totally inaccessible supermodel Tanya Mituyshin may trigger traumatic memories of the time you saw high school goddess Marie-Therese Vitzhum in a bikini at a pool party when you were in grade 10. You might recall how out of your league she was and how she seemed like she might have been from Europe, or some angel galaxy that was as far from Ottawa as anything could possible be. You might recall feeling bony, insufficient and pale, watching as she sat piggyback on the shoulders of the muscular Randy Rafter, her breasts pressing against the back of his head as she leaned forward laughing. This image of Tanya Mituyshin could trigger such memories, creating a constant, deeply haunting reminder that you never mustered the courage to speak to MT– as she was known to her friends– and how regardless of the status and success you might achieve, you will always feel like that overlooked and scared 14 year-old boy.
Viewing of the following image of supermodel Hannah Davies may trigger traumatic memories for people who have had difficult relationships with fishing nets in their past. This photograph could spark a deeply repressed memory of the time your friend, as a “prank,” threw a fishing net over you down by the boathouse while attending a cottage party, and instead of fighting to escape from the net, you lay in a fetal position and quietly wept for your mother, certain that you were about to be murdered, as you had always had premonitions of death by fish net.
Viewing the following image of supermodel Gigi Hadid may trigger feelings of profound resentment and homicidal rage in people with a history of despising life in a society where Gigi Hadid, a glittering, young celebrity, is considered an achievable model of feminine beauty. Recollections of unreasonable and cruel demands may flood over you as you navigate the aisles of Shopper’s Drug Mart, your mind flashing red to every cultural message that has ever helped make you feel that you were somehow just not enough. You’re just trying to get some shit done after a long, grinding day behind your desk at the Ministry of Transportation, and then there’s Gigi, smoulder-glowing out at you from the pages of a stupid magazine, and suddenly, before you know it, you’ve kicked the hell out of an entire display stand of kale-and-beet-infused shampoo and punched-out a pharmacist, Club Optima points be damned.