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Amy Schumer explains why 'I Feel Pretty' is so misunderstood

by 
author image Shannan Rouss
Shannan Rouss is a writer and editor living in Los Angeles. She has written for magazines including Self, Prevention, Glamour and Cosmopolitan, and her work has appeared online at MSN.com, mom.me and elsewhere.
Amy Schumer explains why 'I Feel Pretty' is so misunderstood
Amy Schumer is defending her new film against body-shaming accusations. Photo Credit: Mark Davis/Getty Images Entertainment/GettyImages

In the week leading up to today’s release of “I Feel Pretty,” Amy Schumer has been busy defending the film against body-shaming accusations.

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If you haven’t gotten wind of the film’s premise by now, here’s the gist of it: An insecure woman (Schumer) bonks her head in a SoulCycle class and suddenly carries herself with the confidence of a supermodel. She looks the same on the outside, but sees herself anew. “Change everything without changing anything” is the movie’s tagline. Sounds harmless enough, right?

But the “I Feel Pretty” backlash began with the arrival of the film’s trailer back in February. As Teen Vogue noted at the time, comedian Sofie Hagen aptly summed up critics’ argument on Twitter: “Who is this meant to resonate with? Before we can enjoy the premise, surely we have to buy into the fact that she is not pretty. How many of us are bigger than her? Are we supposed to accept that THIS is ugly when it’s all we’ve been taught that we should aim for?”

This week Schumer told Bustle that she appreciated the “dialogue” (i.e., criticism) the film’s trailer prompted, adding, “One thing that I really want people to realize, especially those who have not yet seen the film, is this isn’t a movie about an ‘ugly’ woman who finds confidence in her personality. It’s about an average woman who really struggles with self-esteem. And that’s something we all do.”

The 36-year-old actress also spoke to Vulture about the backlash (like we said, she’s been busy). “I heard the comment, ‘Why does she have to think of herself as skinny?’ a lot,” she said. “But you never see how I see myself! That’s a guess, that Renee [Schumer’s character] thinks of herself as skinny.”

She continued: “In the scene after the head injury, the assumption is that the woman I see when I look in the mirror is skinny, but I’m just seeing my same self and perceiving my body as beautiful. She doesn’t say, ‘I’m so thin!’ She just says that she’s amazed by her jawline and her boobs and her ass. If anything, that sounds like a more voluptuous woman to me.”

Despite the negative reaction to the movie, one of the movie’s aims is “to paint a picture of a culture that whittles away at early girlhood confidence,” wrote KT Hawbaker in the Chicago Tribune. It was this theme of reclaiming lost innocence that partly attracted Schumer to the role.

“There’s this great quote: ‘Love yourself like you’re your own mother,’” Schumer told Hawbaker. “I try to keep that in mind and be really gentle on myself.”

Now if only the critics could be as gentle.

Read more: 21 Times Celebrities Were Our Self-Love Heroes

What Do YOU Think?

Did you see the trailer for “I Feel Pretty”? What did you think of it? Do you agree or disagree with the critics? Do you plan to see the movie? Tell us in the comments!

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