A real life Renee gives her lowdown on how she feels about the trailer of Amy Schumer’s new movie, I Feel Pretty.
I Feel Pretty, Annoyed… (words Renee Cafaro)
You guys, I just saw the trailer for Amy Schumer’s movie “I Feel Pretty.” This is not sitting well with me. No, not just because Amy Schumer’s character shares my name, but this whole premise seems to be making a slapstick mockery of the body positive movement. Rather than debunking the myths put on us by the weight loss industry and doing the work to honestly be at peace with ourselves, the protagonist’s body confidence comes from a knock on the head. Insert eye roll and audible groan here. This could be a tired old Freaky Friday-in-the-wrong-body plot device but I fear it is something far more damaging for the plus size community.
First, let’s face the main hurdle. Amy Schumer. She has (gasp!) a small pinch of a belly pooch at best and we are all supposed to accept that this makes her homely and not just average-to-thin for any place outside of Tinseltown. Next, we need to deal with her relation to the curvy movement as a celebrity, which is far more flawed than her body could be. Considering the source, I am skeptical about the intentions to move the ball forward for curvy women seeking self-love or acceptance in the world. She has notoriously flip flopped on the issue, claiming her “curves’ when it is on-trend or expedient for her down-to-earth image, but quick to distance herself from the plus size movement when she loudly rejected Glamour magazine‘s placement of her on a list of curvy celebs. Like I said, I agree, she isn’t plus size, but that denouncement felt like someone trying to wash the stink off themselves, not an effort to rightfully call out mainstream media for considering anything average as plus size. You aren’t allowed to gain the “cool girl” brownie points for boldly saying “so what?!” to your weight in some interviews and the turn around and use that same tummy flab as a punchline.
Schumer’s checkered past with the body positive topic aside, this trailer has many red flags for being yet another Hollywood mistake that grinds away at the same ‘fat is ugly” tropes until the last 20 minutes where somehow we pull it together with a lack-luster mea culpa. If I had to bet, the ending comes with a man “seeing the light” that ‘Renee’ is actually great, thus validating her, so now we can all rest easy about her appearance. Phew! Thanks, random male love interest! I wouldn’t know what to do with a woman just being ok with her life and her body as-is without you giving permission to like it. Again, this is just a guess which I hope is proven wrong, but I’ve seen one too many movies like Shallow Hal to have hope for much more than the thesis: “You are great in spite of your weight.”
The bulk of the plot revealed in the trailer is problematic. Once Schumer’s character, ‘Renee”, accepts herself via concussion, the trailer depicts her going through life jumping for joy in front of a mirror as if she sees a ‘hot’ person, yet the remaining characters, who are presumably there to serve as the baseline of reality for the viewer, have another opinion. Scenes like kids crying at the mere sight of her and slack-jawed looks of disbelief when Renee asserts her self-appreciation, seems to just reinforce this message that society thinks you’re ugly, but you can live in a dream world. Every eye roll or awkward reaction to her confidence is constructed to land some laughter. It’s a comedy after all. A comedy seemingly based on the rest of the world in this movie – and presumably the audience- sharing one belief and one recently-concussed hapless woman who is just isn’t in on the joke.
I guess I have to see what the full narrative really unfolds, but I think this can really miss the mark. Oh, poor misguided Hollywood. Enough of the tokenism, type-casting and lampooning of women who represent 67% of society. I know you are just now learning things like marginalizing minority actors is bad and women are people and not objects, so I don’t have a lot of faith in you. That being said, Hollywood, I know you can do better. Is it time to start the hashtag #OscarsSoSkinny ?