This Is What Would Happen If a Woman Focus Group-ed Her Body

Author and comedian Sara Benincasa writes and stars in a short film that externalizes a woman’s concerns over her appearance [Warning: NSFW].

This Is What Would Happen If a Woman Focus Group-ed Her Body

WHAT: The Focus Group, a nine-minute film about coming to terms with one’s body.

WHO: Author and comedian Sara Benincasa, who wrote and stars in the piece, and director Heather Fink.

WHY WE CARE: Practically once every month, a model will generate headlines by posting a makeup-free selfie online. This is the culture American women have long lived in, where even those certified as aesthetically pleasing by major corporations are considered brave for going without concealer. Sara Benincasa’s barely surreal short shows what that kind of intense scrutiny feels like, when her character outsources her body to a panel of experts. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, The Focus Group debuted online over the weekend, just in time to raise a counterargument against the droning hum of magazine covers heralding swimsuit season. Sara starts off in kind of a rut and is guided to a boutique personal services agency by her successful friend. Although the agency ostensibly offers a focus group for her “brand,” the discussion descends into an evaluation of her body that should feel like a familiar nightmare to anyone who’s ever looked in a mirror. Come for the body positivity, retweet for the spot-on Brooklyn caricature who’s store is “just mason jars of different types of animal fat on shelves I built from pews I rescued from a condemned church on Beacon.”

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.



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