May 2, 2019 10:00 am

Scott Thompson: Whether a bikini or burkini, is it progress or exploitation?

Halima Aden becomes the first woman in a hijab and burkini to land a shoot in SI's 2019 swimsuit edition.

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Does the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition attract the same kind of attention it did years ago or has it gone the way of Playboy magazine and the dodo bird?

At one time an appearance in the edition could launch a supermodel’s career, especially with a cover. These days, we barely hear of it — until now.

Sports Illustrated is receiving a great deal of self-generated publicity this week after it unveiled its current swimsuit edition.

READ MORE: Meet the first model to wear a burkini in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition

Kenyan-born Muslim model Halima Aden, 21, is the first to appear in the magazine’s swimsuit edition wearing a hijab and burkini.

Unlike the bikini, which can cover very little, the burkini covers a woman’s body from ankle to wrist and everything in between.

Aden tells the magazine about her childhood growing up in a refugee camp, never imaging she would return to film such a shoot in the most beautiful parts of Kenya.

“Don’t change yourself… Change the game,” she wrote on social media.

WATCH BELOW: Halima Aden becomes first model to wear burkini, hijab in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition


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This was the not the first time she has drawn attention to this issue, making it to the semifinals in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant wearing her hijab.

As you can expect, reaction over the issue varies from “the world is coming to an end” to “who cares?”

Many will say her attire is oppressive, while others will say it’s a woman’s choice what she wears or doesn’t.

Who has progressed or gained the most out of this social experiment?

The magazine.

Whether it’s a woman draped in a burkini or exposed in a bikini, the question remains the same: is it progress or exploitation?

Scott Thompson is the host of The Scott Thompson Show on Global News Radio 900 CHML​.​​

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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