By Meseret Carver,
“I Feel Pretty” is the same old message with a brand new face, but very necessary considering 78% of women are “unhappy with their bodies by the time they are 17 years old,” according to the National Institute on Media and the Family.
In “I Feel Pretty,” beauty fanatic Ranee (Amy Schumer) is ashamed of her body and constantly finds herself discouraged to try new things, date and apply for her dream job as a receptionist at an elite beauty company.
As a result, she joins a SoulCycle biking class to get in shape. Much of the introduction revolves around insecurity and low self-esteem. Renee gets home and she looks in a long length mirror, disappointed with herself. When she gets to the SoulCycle gym, she is ashamed to say her shoe size.
Everything changes after she falls and hits her head in the SoulCycle class, rendering her unconscious.
When she wakes up, she believes she has transformed into a size zero supermodel body and gushes at herself while a member of the gym staff stands by confused, her comments adding to the body shaming motif in the movie. Of course, Ranee’s body had not changed and everybody else sees her as she has always been.
Ranee is now newly empowered and she turns her life around for the better. She starts bending reality to believe that men are complimenting her and other people are favoring her because of her new body when in reality they are reacting to her confidence.
She gets the job as the receptionist and while people are still commenting on her size, she is immune to it because she doesn’t know she is the same size she has always been. The comments fly by.
This theory that confidence plays a large role in a women’s success is very accurate and has been proven in many studies. In 2009, reporters Katty Kay and Claire Shipman wrote “Womenomics,” a book about the positive changes in the world for women.
However, in an article they published with the Atlantic, they conceded that many of the women they interviewed, whom were very powerful women, still lacked confidence and therefore found themselves being restricted in the workplace.
“I Feel Pretty,” restates many of these facts but does not focus enough on the solutions. It is not until the last 10 minutes of the movie Ranee becomes truly empowered, not by who she thinks she has become, but by her true self.
She believes everyone is in love with her because of her new body. She even belittles her friends (Busy Philipps and Aidy Bryant) on a group date thinking the men are only interested in her. Her friends are hardly mentioned but they should be considered the true role models of the movie.
They are confident in their bodies, confident in their abilities and they did not see weight as a deterrent of success. If there was heavier dialogue from these two friends to contradict the constant barrage of negativity toward the female body, the film would have been less “Shallow Hal.”
Overall, the message was loud and clear and the writing was a melding mix of laughter and empowerment. Female teens will take away a positive message if they overcome the negative self– reflection that daunts Ranee in the beginning.