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How companies market to women is under extra scrutiny in the #MeToo era. What kinds of messages are they sending? What norms are they enforcing? This hyper-aware cultural moment has resulted in ads that are “inspiring” and “uplifting” and focused on the “female gaze.”
But Saturday Night Live has just upstaged them all.
The show’s faux ad for Nike’s “Pro-Chiller” leggings depicts “what most women actually do in leggings: Setting up shop on their couch.” Like a meme, the commercial is cathartic and unexpectedly empowering. You’re not lazy for spending eight hours absorbing trashy reality TV while alternating between stuffing your face with carbs and hydrating your face with Sephora sheet masks; the ad implies, you’re normal!
In the spirit of Nike’s “Just Do It” ethos, SNL’s “Nike Women’s Ad” encourages you to just do… nothing. “I just sit the hell down and chill in these soft pants,” declares Aidy Bryant, who wrote the sketch with Fran Gillespie. Refreshing!
The commercial emphasizes leggings’ oft-overlooked virtues, including versatility (“Let’s get real,” says Kate McKinnon, “leggings can be pants, pajamas and a napkin”), warmth (“I bring the heat,” adds Bryant, “Leggings. Blanket. Laptop. Couch Panini.”) and, of course, comfort (they pair best with an oversize tee and no bra).
“Women can do anything,” shouts McKinnon into the void. “And I want to do… Nothing!” Amen.
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