Does SI's Swimsuit Edition Illustrate The "Sexiness Of The Culture"?

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition hits stands today, and cover model Bar Refaeli is so excited about winning the coveted modeling gig, she simply cannot keep her drawers on!

Sports Illustrated group editor Terry McDonell says this photo was selected for the cover because Refaeli's hair, swimsuit, and visible freckles make this photo "natural," according to Yahoo News. He adds, "Her body is amazing and she looks intelligent." Israeli-born Refaeli, who (until now) was best known as Leonardo DiCaprio's girlfriend, said she had a special feeling about this particular shot too. "This is the one I felt the most comfortable with," said Refaeli, "I liked that the top of the suit was on."

Her miniscule bikini top is technically on, though it seems like any slight movement on her part could change that. But what of the bottom? Was there really so much fabric that it needed to be rolled down so the world can see the extent of her bikini wax?

The "removing the bikini bottoms" shot is nothing new for the Swimsuit Edition. Tyra Banks was the first Swimsuit Edition model to put the pose on the cover in 1997.

Does SI's Swimsuit Edition Illustrate The "Sexiness Of The Culture"?S

And just last year Marisa Miller looped her thumb under the string of her bikini, suggesting that though topless, she longed to be wearing even less.

Does SI's Swimsuit Edition Illustrate The "Sexiness Of The Culture"?S

Throughout the new magazine, bikini bottoms are being yanked down or are almost non-existent to start with, according to Back in Skinny Jeans. As evidenced by this galllery of previous covers, the magazine has been looking more and more like Playboy over the years. McDonell explains the cover is just a reflection of the "athleticism and sexiness of the culture" at the time. The "athleticism" in the new issue is mostly supplied by Indy Car driver and GoDaddy spokeswoman Danica Patrick who once again is featured half naked in a bikini, this time draped over the hood of a car.

We actually prefer the "sexiness" supplied by the culture of 70s. In 1970, supermodel Cheryl Tiegs was cold and refused to remove her long-sleeved top or sunglasses when the photographer asked her to take them off. The cover below is evidence that the Swimsuit Edition and our idea of sexiness has changed a lot over the years.

Does SI's Swimsuit Edition Illustrate The "Sexiness Of The Culture"?S

We'll have our Anonymous Model, Tatiana, weigh in on this tomorrow.

Does SI's Swimsuit Edition Illustrate The "Sexiness Of The Culture"?

SI Vault Covers." />

SI Cover Girl Refaeli Nudges Her Swimsuit South [Yahoo]
Is The 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Too Risque or Not? [Back In Skinny Jeans]