SNL Uses Gender Nonconformity as a Joke, But Is It Really?

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Taylor Henderson

Saturday Night Live poked fun at "the generation that defies labels" with a satirical ad for gender-nonconforming jeans, aptly called Levi's Wokes.

The baggy one-size-fits-all denim sidesteps even the most basic of labels by fitting literally everyone, complete with a 180-degree zipper that lets you decide how to go to the bathroom. 

"My Wokes are the size of me," a wearer proclaims, in what feels like a desperate corporate attempt to appeal to millennials by co-opting black lingo.

"Defining someone by their style. That's offensive. That's why Levi's Wokes have no style.

The lowkey condescending outrageous skit begrudgingly got some chuckles out of me, but might further stigmatize gender-neutral products by making them seem ridiculous. Making these products the butt of a joke rather than an important step forward leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, especially from a show as "progressive" as Saturday Night Live. When you consider the research that points out that gender-neutral marketing is beneficial for consumers and business, and can help kids be more confident and empowered, the jibes feel like a slap in the face.

But this is comedy, a joke is a joke, and it's not like television has an actual effect on society's opinions. While Kate McKinnon can make literally anything funny, we might foam at the mouth if we ever have to hear Ryan Gosling utter the phrase "I'm triggered" again. 

Watch the skit below, and let us know what you think in the comments.

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