In the new movie, I Feel Pretty, Amy Schumer plays Renee, a woman like you and me who struggles with feelings of insecurity and inadequacy on a daily basis and one day, after experiencing a head injury, suddenly wakes up believing she’s the most beautiful woman in the world. Armed with a newfound sense of confidence, her life changes overnight, until she comes to the realization that she is fine just the way she really is.
I had the opportunity to recently join a group of other influencers in a discussion with Schumer about her new film, after having seen it, obviously. The movie has gotten a bit of a backlash about its premise before even hitting the theate, having been accused of body-shaming women, of setting a standard of beauty so high that someone as conventionally attractive as Schumer doesn’t meet it, and for arguing that if you’re not beautiful you need to suffer a head injury in order to believe that you are.
Schumer addressed the backlash right off the bat and explained that she understands the reaction. “Certainly this movie really tapped into big feelings for people because it’s something we can all relate to,” she said. “I think it ultimately is just good because it’s bringing up a conversation. I think that if we all just work together and support each other, we can get a lot done.”
Having read that Schumer considers her movie a feminist film, I asked her why that is and what the film means to her. Here’s what she had to say:
“Everything I do, I do as a feminist, which means that I am for the equality of women socially, economically, and politically. I think this movie has such a great message because it empowers women. I think we can’t live up to our full potentials unless we feel comfortable in our own skin. I think that feminism and women getting actual equality is essential, and we still have a lot of work to do,” she added. “A huge part of all the work I do is wanting women to be–to achieve equality, and that’s what feminism is. That’s what this movie’s about.”
Schumer may be proud of this movie for the message it presents, but she is proudest of a recent screening she organized for teenage girls. About the experience, she said, “I loved it–first of all, they didn’t have their phones out, and not because they were told not to. They just didn’t, which I thought was cool. They were really laughing along with it.”
At the end of the movie, Schumer’s character gives a profound speech about accepting ourselves for who we are. She really enjoyed watching the teen’s reactions to it. “I wrote most of that speech, so getting to see it affecting them, and then getting to take pictures with all them after and hanging out and talking, I could see that it had really woken something up in them that I don’t know if they’ll just have it for that night or if they’ll carry it with them ‘cause it’ll be something that continues to fuel them. That speech and getting to see those girls experience it is — it made it one of the best nights of my life and it’s something that I will be so proud of forever and carry with me.”
The film is in theaters everywhere starting today, April 20.
Disclosure: I attended a screening of “I Feel Pretty,” hosted by STXfilms, and participated in a small conversation with influencers with Amy Schumer but all opinions are my own.