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The publication did include some diversity in their choices, with pop star Ciara, plus-size model Yumi Nu, and Elon Musk’s mother Maye joining Kim as cover stars.
However, the magazine has been slated for choosing Kim to represent the brand, after announcing earlier this year it would only allow advertising from brands that drive gender equality and empower women.
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit shared a preview of the upcoming 2022 covers, and fans blasted the publication on social media for being ‘disappointing’.
One person wrote: “This is embarrassing. After all you’ve been working towards to show regular day to day women who are incredible…this is what you do? Yikes.”
“Celebrates women with real bodies and stories, then puts Kim on the cover. Honestly don’t get it but okay,” a second person said.
“Every part of her body is surgically enhanced. How is this body positivity for women?” added another.
“She encourages disordered eating and photoshop,” one person remarked.
One fan explained that the magazine’s idea of ‘inclusivity’ could be a marketing tool: “It’s about profit and always will be. This is a business. As much as Sports Illustrated markets the idea of ‘inclusivity’, their actions are very different.”
Despite the backlash surrounding her inclusion, Kim shared the cover on her Instagram, telling fans how it was on her bucket list.
She wrote: "OMG I’m a Sports Illustrated cover girl!!!! We shot this back in January and it’s been so hard to keep this cover a secret! It’s such an honor and a dream to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. Bucket List goals!"
People were disappointed Kim had been chosen for the cover after the huge controversy surrounding the star after the Met Gala.
Kim was open about how much weight she had to lose to fit into Marilyn Monroe’s iconic ‘Happy Birthday, Mr. President’ dress, noting that she cut out all carbs and sugar for three weeks.
“Way to promote a woman who promotes starving herself to fit into a dress,” one person added.
“So f**king antithetical to everything you’ve been preaching,” another said.
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