Over-sexualization of magazine covers


The May issue of Golf Digest magazine is garnering some serious press attention, due to its unlikely cover star. Instead of featuring an actual golfer, it instead has Maxim model and Wayne Gretzky’s daughter, Paulina, on the cover. The model poses seductively with a golf club and is wearing curve-hugging white spandex pants and a sports bra.

Paulina Gretzky on the cover of Golf Digest  (Source: huffingtonpost)

Paulina Gretzky on the cover of Golf Digest (Source: huffingtonpost)

Clearly, Golf Digest is banking on the advertising technique of “sex sells.” But the cover has LPGA golfers up in arms. LGPA pro Angela Stanford says, “Nobody can argue with [the fact that sex sells]. It’s just the way it is. But the LPGA has some attractive women and very fit women, so why not use them? I’m just baffled by it.” Stacy Lewis, a two-time LPGA Champion stated, “Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines. But at the same time you’d like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”

The last time Golf Digest featured a LPGA player on their cover was in 2008. Since then, the only other women who have been featured on the cover have been Kate Upton and Holly Sonders, a Golf Channel anchor.

Many magazines and news outlets stray from their topic and use sex to sell. The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is a prime example of that. What do bikini clad women have to do with sports?

The use of using sex to sell is an element that relates to the greater issue of the over-sexualization of women. Putting a scantily clad female on a magazine cover versus one who is well-clothed will sell more issues, but is the feature story going to be as intriguing?

Which would sell more? An issue of Golf Digest with an overweight PGA player on its cover or a Maxim model? The editors at the magazine asked this question and clearly, came up with their answer. Yet, does an avid golfer, someone who would be reading and purchasing Golf Digest want to hear about how Paulina Gretzky missed the ball completely at her dad’s golf tournament or would they rather hear tips from an actual PGA pro?

Photographer CyCyr's mocking of Paulina's cover using men. source: huffingtonpost

Photographer CyCyr’s mocking of Paulina’s cover using men (Source: huffingtonpost).

While sex may sell covers, it certainly doesn’t garner respect for a publication.

A photographer named CyCyr even mocked the Golf Digest by posting a series of photos of men dressed in the same revealing outfit Gretzky wore on the cover. The results are a perfect commentary on the ridiculousness of over-sexualizing a woman on a men’s magazine cover.

Magazines should stick to their target readers versus using quick, “easy” tactics to sell issues. That’s the way publications earn respect. Vogue, for example, is the most respected fashion magazine in the world. But then again, they did just put Kim Kardashain on the cover.