MOMENT | Sports Illustrated Covers of the 1950s



Combing though old copies of Sports Illustrated, I was surprised to find women on a what seemed like a decent amount of covers of the 1950s. That is, a good amount for the 1950s. When I looked into it more I discovered that in S.I.'s first decade of existence (1954-1965), female athletes were featured on 74 covers (12.6% of the total). Before you react to that number, know that in the past decade (2000-2011) women only appeared on 35 Sports Illustrated covers (4.9%)—and only 18 times (2.5%) as the primary or sole image [source].

All of a sudden the 1950s are feeling mighty progressive. And with much more appealing art direction.

7 comments:

Molly said...

Better art direction is right! Thanks for figuring out the stats, too. Interesting.

Lexie said...

I love your blog because you're always teaching me something new! It's wonderful. Although I'm not quite sure I like what I learned today! Come on, SI!

L.P. said...

It's a sad day when the 1950s start feeling progressive, but I know what you mean!

Great art direction, so much more interesting than a lot that's out there these days.

Anonymous said...

Having been a teen in the 1950s, I'll let you in on a secret ...... it goes further back to the 1940s and even the 1920s. Remember Rosie the Riveter's face was a familiar part of the WWII effort. Amelia Earhart was most definitely a Tomboy and Kathrine Hepburn shocked the fashion world by wearing slacks and bragging about having been quite a Tomboy. In 1926, Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel. She was followed three weeks later by Amelia Gade Corson. In 1945,Babe Didrickson Zaharias entered four PGA tournaments and made the 36 hole cut in three of them....against the men. Tomboy? I'm afraid that your sad commentary on SI today is due to the fact that sex is what sells today.

Bansh Bahadur said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Back in the 70's my brother used to get Sports Illustrated and he was allowed to rip off the cover and tack it to the beadboard ceiling in his room. I rememeber that SI used to cover so much more than the major sports - there were covers for chess, horse racing, swimming, track - and it was so much more interesting!

Amielle said...

And look at us talking about equality now. I wonder how it devolved from then to now and also how we apparently haven't seemed to notice, or that we've said anything about it to really make them change direction.