Actress and comedian Amy Schumer is not shy in expressing her opinions on body image. Her new movie, “I Feel Pretty,” set to release April 20, makes fun of the stereotype women often see themselves trying to fit.
The movie plot consists of an ordinary woman, played by Schumer, who is incredibly self-conscious and unconfident about her appearance, as so many men and women are. Schumer’s character does everything in her power to try to meet the social standard, such as implementing exercise and dietary restrictions to promote weight loss, but does not see any change in her appearance or confidence level.
It is only when Schumer’s character hits her head during a cycling class that she sees herself as “pretty.” Upon regaining consciousness from her injury, Schumer’s character finally can take pride in her appearance and thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world. She makes daring fashion choices and her newfound sense of confidence alters the way she lives her life.
However, since the trailer release of Schumer’s movie, “I Feel Pretty” has received negative feedback. Rather than understand Schumer’s approach of bringing attention to the current social standards by making fun of them, many viewers of the trailer see the movie as insulting, saying that the movie influences the idea that an “ordinary” woman can never see herself as beautiful unless she suffers from a concussion.
One audience member expressed her opinion on Twitter: “Who is this meant to resonate with? Before we can enjoy the premise, surely we have to buy into the fact that she is not pretty. How many of us are bigger than her? Are we supposed to accept that this is ugly when it’s all we’ve been taught that we should aim for? I mean, she hits her head and then feels beautiful. This movie literally had to become sci-fi for it to be realistic. Only in a magical universe could she possibly feel pretty. Her [Schumer] — blonde, white, thin, femme, cis, blah — is all [these] things and still she is not considered pretty.”
The concept of body image is undoubtedly a touchy subject, so any work that tries to address the situation in a comedic way is almost signing up for backlash. The message of “I Feel Pretty” is not to make “larger” woman feel worse about themselves; it’s a call to action to remodel the stereotype of a “beautiful woman.” Not all women and girls can fit into size 2 clothing while having perfect skin and standing tall at five foot nine, and “I Feel Pretty” shows that an average woman should love herself and her body.
It also depicts how important self-appreciation is while providing a real sense of what low self-esteem can feel like. Schumer’s character hates what she sees everytime she looks in the mirror, just as so many adolescents and adults do.
Rather than seeing “I Feel Pretty” as a movie that demoralizes those who do not fit the social standard, audience members should view the film for what it truly is: a comedic call-to-action for some self-appreciation.