Amy Schumer’s ‘I Feel Pretty’ is offending women

Amy Schumer’s new film, “I Feel Fairly,” out Friday, feels like a certain wager: a deeply insecure, average-looking younger girl (performed by Schumer) wakes up from a head harm considering she’s a supermodel. Out of the blue, she’s dressing hotter, strutting more durable and dreaming larger than she ever dared to earlier than — till, in the long run, she realizes it wasn’t her appears that modified; it was her perspective.

But regardless of its you-go-girl ethos, social-media customers have slammed the trailer as “fat-phobic,” complaining that Schumer is too skinny, too fairly, too blond and too “abled” to painting somebody so ostensibly oafish. (Nevermind that the script — written by Abby Kohn and Marc Silverstein — in all probability appealed to Schumer as a result of she’s routinely referred to as too “fats” and “ugly” by Web trolls to be in films in any respect.)

Maybe all of the brouhaha will simply add to the film’s hype, maybe the movie will make buckets of money, maybe it is simply an innocuous comedy. However, regardless, “I Feel Fairly” and its swift backlash spells hassle for certainly one of cinema’s most dependable and enduring tropes: Women are turning away from the makeover film.

You’ve seen 1,000,000 of them. A mousy main woman realizes her magnificence, confidence and price by means of the magic of make-up, excessive trend and — within the case of the ne plus extremely of makeover scripts, “Pygmalion” — manners. Assume: “My Truthful Woman,” “Fairly Girl,” “Clueless,” “She’s All That” and even man-makeover masterpieces “The 40-Yr-Previous Virgin” and “Loopy, Silly, Love” . . . the listing goes on.


The concept of bodily transformation main to like and happiness comes from fairy tales like “Cinderella.” It’s additionally a part of the unique lore of Hollywood, that dream manufacturing facility the place undiscovered Midwestern ducklings can blossom into swans on the silver display.

That’s why early filmmakers beloved George Bernard Shaw’s 1913 play “Pygmalion,” wherein a complicated professor units out to remodel a rough, cockney flower-seller right into a high-society woman. (Spoiler alert: they fall in love.) The primary movie model got here out in 1935, adopted by one in 1937, and one other in 1938. Since then, “Pygmalion” has been tailored for the display some 20 occasions, together with the Audrey Hepburn-starring musical “My Truthful Woman” and the 2015 teen comedy “The DUFF.”

However it wasn’t till the 1942 melodrama “Now, Voyager,” starring Bette Davis as a dowdy spinster who finds romance and self-confidence after altering her look, that the makeover film grew to become its personal subgenre.

The movie established the blueprint for almost each film metamorphosis that has come since: the frumpy uniform (dorky glasses, wise sneakers, bushy bun), the shopping-and-beauty montage and the full-body pan revealing the heroine’s jaw-dropping transformation. Its message has endured, too: {That a} makeover doesn’t a lot change the particular person however provides her simply sufficient of a lift to let her inner-beauty shine by means of.

“I Feel Fairly” places its personal spin on this cinematic cliche by making Schumer’s glamorous rebirth happen completely in her head. However the issue isn’t that Schumer isn’t frumpy or fats or ugly sufficient (is any film star, actually?), however that bodily transformation is now not in vogue: women are to be thought of excellent the way in which they’re. Because the singer of Finest Coast tweeted, “Why the hell is a film a few girl who isn’t glad or assured about herself till she sees herself as ‘supermodel skinny and exquisite’ even being made in 2018?”

The cinematic heroines that resonate at this time are now not mousy spinsters (like in “Now, Voyager”), edgy hookers with hearts of gold (“Fairly Girl”) or anxiety-ridden teenagers (choose any high-school comedy from the late 1990s) that simply want some sprucing. They’re Surprise Girl: competent, sturdy, morally superior goddesses. It doesn’t matter that in the actual world, women are simply as anxious — if no more so, with social media permitting strangers to touch upon our appears across the clock — than we’ve ever been.

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