My Issue with the Movie, I Feel Pretty

Feminism is widely spread throughout the world of cinema. Over the more recent years, women have been the lead role in many hit movies like Mamma Mia!, The Hunger Games, Star Wars, and many Marvel movies. Though all of the movies mentioned were big hits for each their own reasons, I Feel Pretty starring Amy Schumer was in my opinion, quite the opposite. I Feel Pretty was released in 2018, and is about a normal woman, Renee, who struggles with self confidence and body image issues in a world full of skinny women. At one point, Renee wakes up with new found confidence and believes that she can take over the world. With this confidence, Renee does things she never would have before until she realizes that she never looked any different with or without confidence. The incredibly misleading trailer is below:

The movie was directed by a man, Marc Silverstein, but to my surprise was also produced by Amy Schumer herself. Though the movie had good intentions by talking about body positivity and confidence, it was portrayed horribly and left a bad taste in the mouth of a young woman, myself, who is pretty similarly shaped to Schumer. The first issue I had with this movie was the fact that Schumer played the role of Renee, the woman who was a little thicker than the rest and who was picked on and looked down upon for her weight. (If you don’t know what Amy Schumer looks like, scroll to the bottom of this post.) Schumer is an incredibly beautiful and average sized woman. She is not big, not incredibly skinny, she is right in the middle. My issue is that the movie made her seem like she was not socially acceptable because of what she looked like. They took a woman who is not overweight, but who the majority of us fit in with, and make her character the one who “does not belong”. This gives the audience the interpretation that women who look like Schumer are not ideal when it comes to what a woman “should look like”.

Renee has the belief that if she was skinny and looked “beautiful” like the skinny women that she envies, that she would have everything that she ever wanted. Renee inevitably suffers a head injury that makes her have the confidence of the many women that she has always wanted to look like, and she spends the majority of the movie doing things that she never would have done before. For example, Renee interviews for a job that she thought she wasn’t pretty enough for before she hit her head, but even though her looks actually haven’t changed she goes for it. The women giving the interview immediately point out that she is not the ideal “look” for their company, seen in this clip below:

The judgmental women throughout the movie are beyond confused as to why Renee is so confident, but we see that Schumer has her character truly truly believing that she is now the ideal size when the viewers and people around her can see that she has not changed at all. Throughout the movie, Renee’s confidence grows rapidly, she is being handed opportunity after opportunity, gaining romantic relationships, portraying to the audience that this is how you get what you want, but only if you’re confident. This threw me off because in my case, it is simply not true. You can look like Schumer and have her confidence, but still not get those things. 

To me, the movie is sending the message that you’re going to have to smack your head really hard, have a miracle happen, and become a crazed person who can’t see who they really are, if you want to feel like you fit in. I believe that Schumer was trying to spread a positive message about body positivity and confidence, and for many people it was. But for some people like me, who struggle immensely with those issues, it hit all the wrong spots and actually made me feel worse about myself by the end of the movie. It caused me to question things like, “Am I Renee? Do other women look at me differently simply because I’m not built like them?”, and it shouldn’t have done that. If the producers and directors wanted to send those positive messages that they were trying to send, they needed to have done something a little more along the lines of “learning to love yourself the way you are” showing multiple women with multiple body types as to not pick one out of the line, and without a head injury and a crazed character. 

Some questions I have:

If you have seen this movie, do you agree or disagree with the message they sent?

Do you think that Amy Schumer should have played Renee? Why or why not?

What are your thoughts and ideas about how the producers could have sent their messages in a much better way for ALL women? 

(The beautiful and NOT big Amy Schumer in I Feel Pretty.)

One Comment

  1. ProfSi

    I saw this movie. In my view, the message was “Love yourself above all else.” We know that confidence is a powerful tool. Perhaps the writers were trying to say that you influence how people see you with your level of confidence. I think Amy Schumer was perfect for this. Although I think she is attractive, she is definitely on the margins by Hollywood standards. I have read many comments about her being overweight and having a large nose. She is blond, but that is the only trait that is sought after in her world. The heart of the movie is: If you “feel” pretty, you ARE pretty. I’m not sure it really works in life, but perhaps we should all take a crack at it in multiple areas of our lives. Good work!

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