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I Want to Like ‘I Feel Pretty,’ But I Just Can’t

In the past few years, actress, Amy Schumer, has been on the rise. From Inside Amy Schumer to staring in her own movie, Schumer has become one of the biggest names in comedy. She’s crude, transparent and doesn’t hold back. Personally, I loved Trainwreck, the movie that launched Schumer into superstar stardom. Trainwreck was a creative twist on traditional romantic comedies, and it became an instant classic.

Now three years later, she is back with I Feel Pretty. I wanted to like it, I really did. On paper the premise sounds inspiring: a regular woman who struggles with her own insecurities wakes up to believe she is the most stunning woman. The movie supposedly follows this now confident heroine living out her empowered life. However, something doesn’t sit well with me when thinking about how the movie targets average women, but Schumer is anything but. Sure, she’s not stick thin like other actresses, but she is a beautiful, blonde and white. I would argue that’s hardly underrepresented in Hollywood.  Full disclosure, I have yet to watch the movie but by the looks of the trailer, we are supposed to believe Schumer’s character Renee is beautiful now just because they took her hair out of a ponytail.

If a woman like Renee acted the way she does in the trailer, like voluntarily handing out her number and giving a strip tease, in the real world they would be accused of being mentally ill.

Her newfound confidence in the movie almost seems comical. It falls perfectly in line with the idea that women cannot be seriously confident about their abilities and looks, it’s all about how they misperceive themselves. For someone who tries to break the mold like Schumer, this narrative doesn’t really fit the rest of her work.

I wish more than anything that the movie could portray her as just a confident single woman. And if you don’t think this isn’t true let me prove it to you. Although it’s not blatantly said in the movie, the concept is “hey her confidence is supposed to be funny because she’s ugly”. Schumer’s character goes around being confident in the most exaggerated possible to supermodels like Emily Ratajkowski and it is meant to be comical. The fact that even her friends in the movie seem to question why she is so confident is a low blow.

Even if the movie was trying to empower underrepresented woman, it is still centered on a confident, straight, white woman, which isn’t the most diverse type of character to begin with. There was a chance to validate the beauty of minorities like African American and Latina women, but that chance was missed.  Ultimately, I Feel Pretty just shows that a stereotypical woman should not be allowed to be confident or happy with the way they look.

All this being said, I applaud Schumer for trying. If I can give her one thing, it’s that movies with her intended narrative aren’t being made. Hopefully, if anything, this movie is the beginning of a new wave of body empowerment movies and TV shows. Throwback to movies like the ones about pants that magically fit all of you and you friends like in The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants or an overweight girl in 1960s who finds out you don’t have to be skinny to shine like in Hairspray.

2018 needs more movies like these, and even though I don’t think I Feel Pretty hit that mark, the film opens the floodgates to more films about body positivity and inclusivity of all kinds of beautiful women.

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