Here’s What Critics Are Missing About ‘I Feel Pretty’

I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer is out in theaters Friday, April 20. To date, there have been mixed reviews of the film, which has been dubbed a “body-positive comedy.” Naysayers are claiming that there are too many instances of fat-shaming and that Schumer “has no right” to feel sorry for herself as a white, blond, thin, cisgender woman in Hollywood.

In response to this criticism, Schumer told Vulture, “… there was a backlash to the trailer, and that was kind of disappointing. Even then, though, I understood it, and knew that the film was not about what they thought it was about. I just wished they could see it.” Well, thanks to STX Entertainment, Her Campus at Drexel was invited to a screening of the film. As someone who has seen it, here is what I have to say.

First and foremost, let’s define “comedy.” According to Merriam-Webster, a comedy refers to “the genre of dramatic literature dealing with the comic or with the serious in a light or satirical manner.” Now, let’s define “satire.” Again, our friends at Merriam-Webster say satire is “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly.” So, we can all agree that the job of a comedy is to poke fun at a serious issue by bringing light to how silly and oftentimes distasteful certain practices are in reality. That is just what Schumer was doing with her character, Renee.

For women who wear a larger size than Renee does, I understand your frustration. For women who belong to a minority demographic, your feelings are valid. For trans women or other members of the LGBTQ+ community, your voice is heard. However, although the trailer might be triggering and misleading, Schumer is not claiming ‘woe is me’ here. I firmly believe that the intention was to expose the stupidity and hypocrisy of such things as fat-shaming, and to expand definitions to include more types of beauty in society.

Additionally, Schumer elaborated in her interview with Vulture by saying that the film is less about appearance and more about self-esteem. “We all struggle with self-esteem. … You want [your friends] to see themselves the way you see them, but it’s not our place to say who should be allowed to have low self-esteem,” she said. PREACH!

A head injury from falling off a bike at SoulCycle that results in a magical new sense of self should not be what it takes to muster up confidence. That’s what I Feel Pretty is getting at. This point can be seen at the end of the film when Renee realizes that her appearance never changed, and she got the job and guy of her dreams all on her own. Moral of the story? You can conquer the world, too, so long as you believe in yourself and all your flaws with a confidence that society has tried to convince you that you should not have.