SALT LAKE CITY – Two University of Utah grad students are taking on “Sports Illustrated” in a campaign against the sexualization of women in mass media.
Lexie and Lindsey Kite have created sticky notes with positive messages for women’s body image.
“These messages say things like, ‘There’s more to be than eye candy,’” said Lexie Kite.
The messages were featured as part of a billboard campaign last summer. Now, they’re on Post-Its and the two have sold 1,500 sticky note packs internationally. Most have gone to women and teenage girls.
Now, the Kites are supporting those who stick them on the cover of the new Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, to cover model Kate Upton’s cleavage.
“I’ve done a content study on ‘Sports Illustrated’ over the last 40 years and they’ve been able to package themselves as the number one voice in sports journalism and then once a year they get away with what has become normalized pornography,” said Lexie Kite.
“For the most part, the women are more nude than clothed and they’re able to package this for 10-year-olds to see at eye level at department stores,” said Kite, who co-founded BeautyRedefined.net.
Niya Suddarth used to model internationally and felt the pressure of having to stay thin but she says ultimately that came down to her choice.
“For BeautyRedefined to have their blog out here with their positive quotes like, ‘You’re capable of much more than being hot.’ I feel a lot of our models know that. They’re involved in different extracurricular activities. However, this is a passion for them.”
Fitness model Nicole Michel agrees and feels the twins’ campaign against “Sports Illustrated” goes overboard. She says a recent shoot for “Muscle and Fitness” magazine was empowering.
“I don’t look at that and go, ‘Oh gross, This is really bad for women everywhere.’ That’s a fun, fit, healthy body. That’s motivating,” said Michel.
Some who have posted the sticky notes on magazines in local stores, have been kicked out by managers.
“Sports Illustrated” has not issued a comment.