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.)

Hooks Ch 4-7 Summary and Thoughts

Happy Monday all! This week’s chapters really drove some perspective home for me. In chapter 4, we read about sisterhood and how women of different backgrounds, race, and class understood and acted on what sisterhood was all about. I had to keep in mind while I was reading that this book was written nearly 40 years ago, because even though so much has changed in our growing society, so much is still the same for us and sometimes it felt like I was reading a book that was written today. We read a lot about the different ways women were trying to move the feminist movement forward, but they were all in the wrong ways. There were the women who were pushing for the “I am a victim” movement and the anti-male movement which I believe were the biggest reasons why the feminist movement was falling down. First of all, not all men want to be in the “sexist and all powerful man role”. There were men back then fighting for women’s rights, even more so now than ever. But if we had kept on the “all men are stopping us” train, then we probably wouldn’t be as far along today as we are. The victim movement was also just really disturbing to me. Especially since other women were teaching each other than they were all “victims” to men and sexism. Hooks stated on page 46 that “It would be physiologically demoralizing for these women to bond with other women on the basis of shared victimization. They bond with other women on the basis of shared strengths and resources. This is the woman bonding feminist movement should encourage. It is this type of bonding that is the essence of sisterhood”. 

Chapter 5 really brings men into perspective when it comes to how they are treated as well. Men are also oppressed but not all women saw that/still don’t see that. There were so many women who believed that the feminist movement was only for women, men had nothing to do with it, but that was so so wrong. As I mentioned earlier, not all men are bad. There are more men today than there were back then that believe women should be treated just as equal. Yes we have equal rights but there are still occurrences every day that pull women back down, showing again the need for the feminist movement. There are still many places who have a man and a woman working the same job, but the woman is still getting paid less. It is our job as women to continue to think that both men and women are in this movement together. Hooks stated on page 83, “Separatist ideology encourages us to believe that women alone can make feminist revolution- we cannot… have a tremendous contribution to make to feminist struggle in the area of exposing, confronting, opposing, and transforming the sexism of their male peers”. 

Chapter 6 was by far my favorite chapter this week. Mainly because I am all for women in powerful roles. Hooks really dives into the role of women in the workforce, the issue of women thinking all they need is more money to have more power, etc. When talking about women of power and stepping into a man’s role, Hooks mentioned on page 94 that it was never something that would happen in the United States as long as society continued to be the way it was. “As long as the United States is an imperialist, capitalist, patriarchal society, no large female majority can enter the existing ranks of the powerful”. Well I think that this chapter came at exactly the right time for us. No matter what political party you follow, no matter what race you are, the fact that for the first time in the history of our country we have a FEMALE vice president of the United States is AMAZING. If you are someone who can see above the current political party issue and just take into account what an amazing moment in history that this is for all women, then congratulations. This truly shows how much we as women have pushed forward since this book was written. Though things aren’t perfect yet in our country, this is only just the beginning for feminists everywhere. (Below are some great political comics that I think fit this piece)

In chapter 7, Hooks discussed the nature of work and how feminists can work together instead of degrading one another. She talked about how in the workforce, we commonly see women make fun of other women, especially those in a higher position than another. Though Hooks is writing this from what things were like in 1984, it is certainly very common still today in 2021. You see it not just in real life, but it is portrayed in movies and tv all the time! I think that if anything has stayed the same from any of these chapters, it is the fact that women are still catty. I’ve had to leave an amazing job because of the way women treated their other women coworkers! Hooks explains that in order to move the feminist movement in the future, women need to work together and help each other first, instead of solely fighting for ones own. 

For my peers, did anything in these chapters stick out to you that I did not mention, or have you also felt as though most of the issues in these chapters have not changed/have had little improvement! Let me know what you think!