I Feel Pretty Review
By Rachel Smith
A Tale as Old as Time: Confidence is Attractive.
By now you’ve probably heard all about Amy Schumer’s latest movie, I Feel Pretty. A story about a woman who lacks self-confidence and all the terrible things that happen to oneself in that state – until suddenly, she hits her head and magically sees herself as physically “beautiful.” Only then is when life begins to pick up for her – she meets a man, gets a huge promotion, and lives happily ever after. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, you’ve certainly heard this premise before.
But unlike the Shallow Hal-type movies (hello Gwyneth Paltrow in a fat suit) where the person physically changes shape in order to find happiness, Amy’s character Renee never actually transforms her outer appearance. Early responses to this movie were premature and ridiculous – many media outlets complained that Amy Schumer was too “beautiful” to have played this role and argued that if she was depressed about her body and appearance “before” her transformation what chance to “regular” women have at being happy. Then you had later reviews of the movie which were similarly as obnoxious to me, but this time because they pegged it as a “body revolution” and how we should love ourselves no matter what size we are – which you should – but holy face palm, people. Let me introduce you to the actual point here.
If you watch the movie and pay attention the message behind it, you’ll realize that it has nothing to do with looks or weight, which is probably why it’s called I Feel Pretty and not I Look Pretty. The focus is changing your attitude and outlook on life. I suppose for some people, they might need to lose weight or get plastic surgery in order to do that, but in this case, the only thing that she changed was the way she treated herself and people around her. If you feel like your physical appearance is holding you back from altering your attitude – absolutely do something about it – but such was not the case in this movie.
“Pretty” has a variety of definitions depending on who you talk to and it’s very likely that simply changing yourself externally won’t always fix any internal issues you’re having. Most commonly, I’d say society defines “Pretty” as a woman who is skinny, has smooth skin, flowing hair, and a symmetrical face. But that doesn’t mean that all women who are skinny, with smooth skin, flowing hair, and a symmetrical face FEEL pretty. Therein lies the point of this movie.
Once Amy’s character bumped her head and thought she was transformed into a Kardashian, the only thing that actually changed was her attitude. She had a permanent smile on her face, she took personal and professional risks she never had before and changed the way she responded to haters. People responded to her differently without her changing anything about her appearance.
Pre-head bump, she was this miserable, sad, downer of a person who was very reserved and easily pushed over by coworkers and society as a whole. It was almost uncomfortable to watch. You had this sense of wanting to press fast forward or anything to get away from this person. But once she became this talkative, bubbly person she immediately became magnetic. This new attitude attracted so many positive things in her life and opened a lot of doors just because of her mindset. Sure, she could have lost 25 pounds and got a spray tan, but that doesn’t necessarily change someone’s behavior. I know plenty of skinny and tan people who are boring AF. Or mean. Or sad.
A perfect line in the movie comes from comedy genius and the movie’s bikini contest host Dave Attell who says something along the lines of, “She wasn’t the prettiest in the competition but she’s definitely the one you’d want to be stranded with if you get a flat tire. She can handle shit.” The point of that course is, personality will always out shadow looks when it comes to deciding who you want to be around and who wants to be around you. Looks matter when it comes to romantic relationships, no one can deny that. The good news is everyone has their own definition of beauty and there’s no one-size fits all. Just because you don’t look like a Kardashian doesn’t mean you’re not beautiful in every way or desirable. But if you’re kind to yourself and those around you, you’ll feel good. And feeling good is important to achieve happiness.
I mean, what does this ideal of “Kardashian Pretty” get you, anyway? Your baby daddy cheating on you while you’re in labor? Wow, glad I worked out all those months and ate kale so I could have a perfect NBA player to impregnate me. It’s not a cure-all. We don’t know anything about other people’s internal struggles – and everyone has them – so don’t think that changing your appearance means you’ll automatically be happy. Certainly, taking care of yourself and feeling pretty in whatever form that takes is important, but doing it for you and not someone else is more important. Maybe let’s worry less about being “pretty” so “guys will like us” and focus more on being a bad ass bitch and surrounding ourselves with equally bad ass people.
God knows self-confidence is an ongoing battle for me. A few years ago I wrote this piece about self-esteem and confidence and I often have to remind myself of the lessons shared. I know what it takes to be happy in my own skin, but sometimes I need to work a little harder at it. The truth is, our outer appearance always seems to dictate internal happiness, but this movie really encourages all of us to get over that.
Just recently, I was in the grocery store when a woman commented on my leggings which are semi-sheer in the back-leg area. She said, “I love your leggings! They show just enough!” I took it as – omg “just enough?” Like I’m not someone who could pull of a full sheer legging? I’m not skinny enough to show more? So, I left the store annoyed after getting what was honestly a nice compliment from someone instead now I felt like I had been called fat by a stranger in the ethnic foods aisle. But it’s my own insecurity that made me annoyed, not her or anything she said or could have said. When you’re in a negative headspace, a simple look from someone can take you to a dark place. But if you’re in a happy place – whatever that may look like for you – it won’t matter if a truck full of guys drove past you and threw a steaming pile of dog shit at your face because you’re happy with who you are – and there’s nothing prettier than that.