What could they have been thinking?
A photograph is supposed to be the permanent record of a decisive, specific moment in time. A photograph is not supposed to distort reality. The photos in the SI magazine are just slightly less distorted than the paintings of Picasso and Modigliani.
Anyone with eyes, or a brain, knows that women, even very beautiful women, do not look like those that have been photoshopped out of reality in the magazine. Women have attractive curves, not unrounded bodies. Even very skinny women, unhealthfully so, have curves.
Granted that artists see women's bodies differently from the nonartists. And everyone accepts that artists - using paints, pastels, charcoals, pencils, pens, and other materials - encompass their own vision into their works. And the great portrait artists from the past used to paint their subjects with lots of jewelry, to inflate their worth even more.
But not photographers. Their goal should be to present reality. Really great portrait photographers use light and shadow to enhance the beauty (or masculinity) of their subjects. Photoshopping out the imperfections is cheating. At least to me, if a photo does not acknowledge that it has been computer enhanced (in any way), then the photographer is not telling the truth.
Photos that have been altered through photoshop or other computer methods should be identified as being altered, as being fantasy, not reality.