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Posted: May 09, 2024

AboutFace’s Response to The SNL sketch “The Anomalous Man”: How is this Still Acceptable in 2024?

Saturday Night Live recently aired "The Anomalous Man,” a sketch with echoes of the 1980s movie “The Elephant Man,” centering on a 19th playwright with seductive powers whose face resembles that of a pig-like creature.

Although more is always needed, society has made progress in recognizing that the media and entertainment industries have the power to do harm when tropes and one-note representations of other marginalized communities are approved for broadcast. The facial difference community is a lesser-known group, but the smaller numbers do not make it acceptable to perpetuate storytelling and portrayals that only strengthen the stigma that people with facial differences encounter all too often. There is no place for sketches like these in a progressive society.

Members of the facial difference community are often told that their response to these types of portrayals is an overreaction, i.e. "it was just a joke or story.” But in the words of Penny, a member of the facial difference community, "stories are how we as a society tell how things are, and how we want them to be."

The voices of those in the facial difference community have historically not been heard or listened to.

It is time to start listening.

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