Proud2Bme | Amy Schumer's Unique Approach to Body Positivity

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Amy Schumer's Unique Approach to Body Positivity

By Pooja Patel--By now you have probably heard about the star of the movie Trainwreck and the television show Inside Amy Schumer, Amy Schumer. Exploding in the past several years, Schumer has become a breath of fresh, honest air.

She is not scared to say the things that people often stray away from voicing; in fact, she embraces it. As the creator, writer, producer, and star of her show, she most definitely embodies a strong woman, with a no-nonsense take on humor. Accordingly, she has become a champion of body positivity, but in a very unique type of way.

At this year’s UK Glamour Women of the Year Award, Schumer was awarded the Trailblazer award. During her acceptance speech, Schumer implied that you don't have to be a certain size to be considered sexy and attractive. Schumer’s declaration demonstrates a society that should be okay with bold, confident, body positive women. Not everyone fits a certain mold, nor should they have to; Schumer makes this clear throughout her speech.

Generally, what Schumer says in her speech aligns with how we currently think of body positivity. When most people think of body positivity they think of being comfortable in the skin that they are in. They think of loving their bodies no matter what. They think of having others respect and love you for you. Yet, this is not always the case. You are not always comfortable in your skin, and sometimes you do not love your body, and not everyone respects you. This is what Schumer addresses in her comedy. She makes it clear that you can be confident, but also have doubts -- because guess what? We are only human.

In her 2015 Comedy Central stand-up routine, she begins by poking fun at her experience in Miami the previous week. She jokes about how beautiful the people were there. Going on, she states in New York her attractiveness is a 6 or a 7, but in Miami she felt like a -3. In this portion of the routine she addresses how the ‘normal’ standard of beauty can be intimidating, but does not act as if she is worthless because of this standard; She moves beyond it, defining herself as she wishes, as a comedian rather than an object. 

At times, some of her standup can seem a little too self-deprecating. At one point Schumer compares her specific body parts to other body parts of New Yorkers. While it starts to take on the tone of the previous jokes, near it the end it is evident that the joke may be slightly too dark and self-deprecating. In that moment, and some of the following moments, it was hard to see the confidence, and easier to see a nearly body-negative Schumer.

Yet, what does this mean for us? For some, this brazen speak (and for me, in most instances) is refreshing and honest, and therefore allows for an open conversation about body image, positivity and confidence. Yet, for others it may allow for more thoughts of comparison. Overall, Schumer’s attempts are great, but some of her jokes may fall flat in regards to fully grasping the terminology involved with body positivity, which is both a good and bad thing. Things change so terminology in this sense must also evolve. Whether you always agree with her or not, it is hard to deny that Schumer is a titan who strives to be better in the ways she seems fit, not in the ways that are defined by society.

About this blogger: Pooja Patel is a rising senior studying neuroscience and philosophy at Barnard College, Columbia University. She does research at a CU neurobiology laboratory, which emphasizes anticipation behaviors, circadian rhythms, and biology. She has interned off and on at the National Eating Disorders Associationfor about two years. Pooja enjoys reading, dancing, watching mindless tv, and keeping up with fashion trends.

More by Pooja:

Rob Kardashian, Weight Stigma, and Masculinity

Lauren Conrad Bans "Skinny"

Lena Dunham and the Body Positive Workout Selfie



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