What: A fake ad for a women’s clothing retailer called Fashion Coward.
Who: Emma Stone and the team at Saturday Night Live.
Why we care: Dove has long been at the forefront of brand-encouraged body positivity. But there’s only so much that sketchy stunts and trite you-go-girl aphorisms can actually do. Some people simply can’t stand the way they look in the mirror, due to either societal conditioning or specific psychological hang-ups–and that’s fine! As this great piece by Amanda Mull argues, trying to convince women that their hang-ups aren’t normal or fine forces limits on their emotional spectrum.
The latest fake ad from SNL is like the inverse of a body-positive Dove ad. It doesn’t push women toward hating their bodies, but it does acknowledge and normalize the fact that they might. In the sketch, clothing retailer Fashion Coward understands both the tendency to want to hide one’s body and the anxiety around shopping for clothes to serve that function. The specificity of the kinds of clothes that the store offers–and the deeply ingrained trauma it’s meant to circumvent–should make many women who have rolled their eyes at Dove ads feel seen.
Watch the full sketch below: