Opinion Top of the Ticket

Sports Illustrated bikini model Kate Upton sparks a debate

Kate Upton, the model splashed across the cover of this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, is at the center of a hot debate that has nothing to do with birth control, Mitt Romney’s tax returns or how the heck Newt Gingrich persuaded three women to marry him.

Some among the sleek set in the fashion industry think the 19-year-old, self-promoting model is too chubby to be chic -- their definition of hefty encompassing 99% of the nation’s females. The fashion mavens denigrate Upton’s whole look – her too-blond hair, her generic, pouty cheerleader face and her long legs that one critic described as looking as if they belong to a player for the WNBA. The casting director for Victoria’s Secret fashion shows said she’d never allow such a skank to darken her runway. (We all know how Victoria’s Secret is the epitome of haute couture.)

Others look down on the young woman’s tabloid lifestyle, her romantic links to Kanye West and New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez and even the teeny-tiny size of her bikini bottom in the Sports Illustrated cover shot.

Upton's defenders say she has a right to party. To suggest she is fat, they say, is tantamount to promoting anorexia. Her fans insist that Kate’s look is a healthier example for American girls, even if her beach attire indicates she can’t distinguish between panties and a Post-it stuck to a strand of dental floss.

The point here is not to take sides in this debate or even imply it has any importance. The Kate Upton kerfuffle simply lends a little perspective to the current political campaign. Journalists have been covering every twitch and twist of the Republican nomination fight for months now, millions of dollars have been spent on attack ads and robo calls and the candidates have roamed the countryside shaking hands and calling each other names, yet the number of people who have taken part in primaries and caucuses compared with the number of Americans who have stayed away is about the same as the ratio of fabric to bare skin in Kate’s beach shot.

For all the intensity of the presidential race thus far, there are still millions of folks who never bothered to tune in to any of the candidates’ debates. But the YouTube video of Kate Upton dancing the Dougie in the bleachers at a ballgame has attracted more than 3.5 million views. 

We may be in the midst of a titanic struggle for the soul of the country, but, in the land of the free, none of us is required to pay attention.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Students lose out in university numbers game
    Students lose out in university numbers game

    If you thought the deluge of holiday catalogs and charitable solicitations this season was overwhelming, consider what high school seniors confronted this fall: hundreds of mailers from colleges and universities suggesting that they apply and implying they might have a shot, even if they...

  • Amid climate change, what's more important: Protecting money or people?
    Amid climate change, what's more important: Protecting money or people?

    At the latest round of international climate talks this month in Lima, Peru, melting glaciers in the Andes and recent droughts provided a fitting backdrop for the negotiators' recognition that it is too late to prevent climate change, no matter how fast we ultimately act to limit it. They now...

  • Schools should help the children of immigrants become truly bilingual
    Schools should help the children of immigrants become truly bilingual

    Many students in Los Angeles, from kindergarten through college, speak a language other than English because they grew up hearing it. They are “heritage speakers,” the children of immigrants who communicate at home in their parents' native language. Yet many of these students have...

  • Would it hurt City Hall to look into rise in worker injury claims?
    Would it hurt City Hall to look into rise in worker injury claims?

    The cost of paying salaries to Los Angeles civilian workers who are temporarily disabled because they have been hurt on the job has gone up 50% over five years, reaching $18 million last year. Employees are claiming more injuries and taking longer injury leaves. City officials don't know why...

  • Should non-citizens in the U.S. vote?
    Should non-citizens in the U.S. vote?

    As of Jan. 1, 2012, an estimated 13.3 million lawful permanent residents lived in the United States, and 8.8 million of them were eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship but had not done so. In California, 2.48 million out of 3.4 million green-card holders were eligible to apply but chose not...

  • Obama's fourth-quarter foreign policy surprises
    Obama's fourth-quarter foreign policy surprises

    Six months ago, President Obama's foreign policy looked stymied. Negotiations with Israel and the Palestinians were at a dead end. Russia was gaining ground in eastern Ukraine. U.S. efforts to end the war in Syria were ineffective. A new extremist army, Islamic State, was marching into Iraq.

Comments
Loading