‘I Feel Pretty’ Is Missing the Point of Body Positivity

Amy Schumer’s new movie “I Feel Pretty” was released Friday and has seen a ton of positive reviews from the likes of The New York Times and Rolling Stone, but they seem to be missing the whole point of body positivity.

In the movie, Schumer’s character hits her head in a SoulCycle class and wakes up from the incident without any of the self-confidence issues she previously had due to her “average” appearance. The theme of the film is the idea that you don’t need to look like Emily Ratajkowski, who is also in the movie, to be confident, because beauty can also lead to being vain. The problem here is, despite the attempt to reject the societal beauty standards evident in the film, the plot is constructed off of the very standards it is trying to discredit.

The concept of beauty standards is obviously a huge part of modern society, especially for young girls, and the concept of body positivity is supposed to denounce these standards with the radical claim that everyone is beautiful. The problem with the way “I Feel Pretty” is that it interprets this notion that the audience is supposed to undeniably understand that she really is NOT pretty.

This new mindset that Schumer acquires is supposed to be humorous, because she still looks completely “ordinary.” The person watching this film is supposed to come out of the theater with a new sense of confidence, because they now know that it does not matter what you look like, the only thing that matters is your perception of yourself — but there is another way that this whole concept could be received.

What about the people that really are struggling with self-confidence issues or body dysmorphia?

Part of retaining the lesson supposedly being taught by this film would entail accepting that, societally speaking, you really aren’t beautiful. Societally speaking, you would have to smack your head hard enough to even be able to consider yourself beautiful. That’s a pill no one wants to swallow but are being forced to in order to empathize with the message of the film.

The rave reviews this film has been receiving fail to acknowledge just how toxic the message actually is. In order to rid our society of the conventionalized standard of beauty to which women are held, we must treat it as something that does not exist, rather than something that must be personally overcome.

Cover Image Courtesy of The New York Times.

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