For years, the cover of Guitar World’s annual gear guide has featured not just guitars and gear, but also women in bikinis. It’s a look that has been criticized as sexist and demeaning, and recently, the mag’s publisher has announced plans to remove it entirely.
“We knew we were making a change and thought now was the time to stop with the models as well,” said Bill Amstutz, VP and general manager of the music group at NewBay Media LLC (via an interview with Reverb). Amstutz admitted the decision was mainly driven by economics (this year, Guitar World and Guitar Player’s annual guides will be combined, with a new online version) though he did call the bikini models “outdated” and admitted female guitar players could find them offensive or feel misrepresented.
“We want to reach female readers and cultivate them. And we can do a better job, as all guitar media can do,” he said. “It’s a bit of a boy’s club and we are taking steps this year to change that.”
Amstutz has been in charge of Guitar World, Guitar Aficionado and Revolver since 2012, when they were acquired by New Bay.
Expect Guitar World’s next guide to look quite different from this promo video, shot in 2015 for the edition dated 2016: