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Amy Schumer has long been part of the conversation on body image. Part of her ongoing comedy routine is the mechanism of self-deprecation when it comes to her shape, her weight, her eating habits, her exercise habits, and her ability to have romantic partnerships with men. Throughout her career, Amy Schumer has faced controversy for what she brings to the table about the conversation. Always making commentary on being on the ‘other side’ of pretty or skinny, it came as a surprise to fans when she expressed upset over a magazine cover. Schumer publicly expressed her frustrations with Glamour magazine when they included her in a plus-size issue under a category called “Women Who Inspire Us”, saying on Instagram, “I think there’s nothing wrong with being plus size. Beautiful healthy women. Plus size is considered size 16 in America. I go between a size 6 and an 8. Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamorous.”

Of course, Schumer missed the point that body positivity and any kind of body labels, are not determined by size. In fact, Schumer continues to polarize “big” versus “little” and “fat” versus “thin” or “skinny” which most eating disorder and body image professionals would warn against. Which is why when the first trailer for Schumer’s new movie I Feel Pretty made its debut, professionals and laypeople alike were upset by the context being portrayed about body image.

Schumer’s character Renee is chronically unsatisfied with her looks and appearance, believing that she isn’t pretty, can’t be pretty, and that other women are prettier than her, which inhibits her life. After a freak accident in a cycling class, Renee wakes up convinced she is the idealistic form of beauty she has always wanted to be and starts living her life according to the way she believes ‘pretty’ women get to live. Appearing on the Ellen Show Schumer explains that“…all the parts of life that open up to you when you’re just gorgeous…” are what happens to her character.

Problematically, Schumer’s film presents immediate issues. First, Schumer is saying that women who look like her are not beautiful, cannot feel good about themselves, or demonstrate the bold level of confidence other prettier, skinnier women can. Second, Schumer is suggesting that it takes a head injury to suddenly develop a changed perspective on self-esteem and confidence- only by thinking one is “thin” and “pretty”. No doubt the movie will follow the typical “Freaky Friday”, “13 Going on 30”, “What Women Want” trope and result in Schumer’s character losing her ‘special’ perspective and having to realize that she is confident no matter how she looks because confidence is a choice.

Making a film which evaluates confidence based on a level of physique is the most problematic. Even the various news and blog sources on the internet covering the controversy are missing the point which most therapists would enthusiastically be making to their clients with body image and/or eating disorders. These websites use words like “average” and “thin” pitted against “size 2” and “Victoria-Secret” level “hotness” which all emphasize that the gauge on which confidence is measured has to do with size and appearance- that there is some kind of confidence which exclusively belongs to a level of physical appearance which would be associated with Victoria’s Secret models.

Women and men who are recovering from body image and eating disorders have to spend a tremendous amount of time, as well as effort, to erase ideologies, ideals, standards, associations, definitions, and measurements from their mind in order to find the confidence and self-acceptance they need to realize everyone is beautiful. No head injury required.

Eating disorders and body image issues can result from physical, emotional, and sexual trauma. If you or someone you know is harming their body and livelihood through abusive behaviors, help is available. Everyone has a story when they come to The Guest House Ocala. We specialize in the treatment of traumas, addictions, and related mental health issues with concierge style custom treatment plans and a private sprawling estate. For information, call us today: 1-855-483-7800