I am writing this letter to inform you that I was not offended by your movie, “I Feel Pretty.”
In fact, I’ll take it one step further: I left your film and I felt pretty.
I read an article the other day written by a fellow female movie goer who seemed morally and ethically offended by your film for several reasons:
- It was too mystical; women shouldn’t have to be magically knocked unconscious to find themselves beautiful
- The movie portrayed your character, Renee, as a chubby bunny, when in reality you’re just a moderately curvy bunny
- The movie did not show Renee’s acceptance of herself at the end of the movie without these magical powers
I don’t think at any point your movie implied that the only way to reach self-acceptance is through a traumatic head injury. I merely think it’s hard to unpack how beauty is a construct that has been formed over hundreds of years and impacts girls from the moment they are born, in an hour and fifty minute rom-com. And let’s be honest, I don’t want to sit through a movie that demonstrates, in real time, the journey women take towards self acceptance. That would be one sad, long-ass movie.
Further more, I was not offended when a bicycle seat accidentally collapsed beneath your character. I did not interpret that as, “She must be so fat that the bicycle seat cannot support her weight.” I thought, “Yes, bicycle seats are famously unreliable.”
I will admit; I giggled at the scene where you walked into a clothing store and the woman who worked there condescendingly told you that they wouldn’t have your size in store. I thought, “Oh poor size 6 Amy Schumer, life must be so hard for her.” But as a woman of a shapely form, I could relate to going into a store and seeing size XS as far as the eye can see, and not being able to find my size. No matter what size you are, it is hurtful going into a space and not feeling represented or welcomed.
Perhaps that is why so many people were offended by your film; everyone wanted to feel represented. That, however, is a tall task to ask of any movie.
Amy, I think those who were offended by your film may have missed the point.
Correct me if I’m wrong Ams, but I think this film was trying to initiate the question: what if attitude really was everything? How would I live my life different if my outward appearance wasn’t of any concern?
If you’re wondering what I would do, I would:
- Wear a two piece bathing suit confidently; regardless of how curvy or pale I am.
- Show off my legs more (I know it’s not possible, but if I could sustain a head injury and then mystically be able to remain curvy while also wearing shorts and dresses without my thighs rubbing together, I’d be super into that.)
- Participate. Participate in sports, participate in swimming with friends, participate in new exercise classes at the gym. I have definitely improved in this area, but for years I quite literally took myself out of the game in fear of looking foolish or not being able to keep up.
Your movie reminded me, in a very simple way, I don’t want the way I perceive my looks to hold me back from opportunities for fun, growth, or wellness.
The other potential reason I think some were offended by your film is that people are just really dang hard to please. There has been an outcry for more positive body-image messages in the media, however panties wad if the messenger is too fat, too thin, too blonde, or too popular.
I don’t know about everybody else, but I left the theatre feeling pretty good about myself. I walked out with a little more swagger, and a couple extra hair flips. And at no point since watching your film have I sought out a blow to the head in the pursuit of higher self-esteem.
You started a conversation which is typically a hard and painful one to start, in a funny, light-hearted way, and I appreciate it.