Amy Schumer’s New Movie Is Basically One Long Fat Joke

In Schumer’s world, the only thing funnier than a fat woman is a fat woman who thinks she’s beautiful.

If you ask the the directors of Amy Schumer’s new movie, I Feel Pretty, what its message is, they’ll tell you it’s about self-empowerment and not letting society’s perceptions of you dictate your self worth.

The problem is that the movie itself is basically one long fat joke.

The movie’s premise is simple. Renee, played by Schumer, has low self-esteem and a poor body image until she gets hit in the head and wakes up feeling beautiful and confident. That’s right, a movie about empowerment begins with the idea that it takes a hit to the head to feel beautiful if you happen to be more than a size 2.

But wait, it gets worse! The trailers depict Schumer engaged in a variety of cringe-worthy moments, from competing in a bikini content to strutting her stuff in a miniskirt. And in every case, the audience isn’t meant to laugh with her — the joke is most decidedly on her.

In Schumer’s world, the only thing funnier than a fat woman is a fat woman who thinks she’s beautiful.

But let’s talk about fat women for a second. The movie makes it clear that we’re supposed to consider Schumer fat. Never mind that she’s said she’s a size 8 or that she’s a pretty typical-looking blonde-haired white woman. The entire movie relies on the audience’s perception as Schumer as fat and unattractive, even though she’s objectively thinner and more conventionally attractive than the average woman.

Yet, somehow, the directors say the movie will empower teen girls whose body images are under fire, particularly on social media. These girls are supposed to walk away from a movie that pokes fun at an average woman daring to believe she’s beautiful feeling…beautiful?

That said, the directors aren’t wrong about one thing: Schumer has repeatedly come under fire for her weight and her appearance. But it’s hard to follow the logic of a movie that purports to fight fatphobia with a storyline rooted in fatphobia.

If we’re being real, this is exactly the type of movie someone in Hollywood would decide was empowering. Schumer isn’t a size 2, and she gets to prove that fat people can love themselves too. In some circles, that’s apparently still a radical idea.

God forbid Schumer get to star in a romantic comedy that’s not about her weight — or that doesn’t require her to get hit in the head to justify her confidence in herself and her body. Now that would be radical.

Like most women, I’ve had my share of struggles with my body image. I’ve been too thin, too fat, developed eating disorders, recovered from eating disorders. My mother had an untreated eating disorder for most of my childhood so there’s never been a time I can remember not monitoring my calories or food intake.

I’m pushing 40 now, and it’s taken me nearly this many years to come to peace with my body. Even now, I still have moments where I look at myself in the mirror with dismay. Mostly, though, I’ve just run out of fucks to give about what other people think of me — my body included.

I don’t know much about how to avoid developing body image issues, but I do know that poking fun at fat people isn’t the right way. It further marginalizes fat people, while reinforcing the idea that self-love is a joke unless you look like a conventional swimsuit model. It’s disappointing, depressing, and downright ridiculous.

I Feel Pretty opens April 20. But do yourself a favor and spend two hours nurturing yourself instead of buying in to more Hollywood bullshit.

Jody Allard is a former techie-turned-freelance-writer living in Seattle. She can be reached through her website, on Twitter or via her Facebook page.

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