Shaming Schumer

Love her or loathe her Amy Schumer – I love her – is a powerful force in pop culture. Her TV show, Inside Amy Schumer, is a boundary-pusher. She spoofs, and therefore brings to light, even serious issues like rape culture on university campuses. She did a skit about college football players gathered in a locker room after winning a big game, and asking their coach about every possible scenario they could find themselves in, and whether it would make a rape okay. Doesn’t sound funny? Well it was, and every time the coach said an emphatic “No” to the increasingly ridiculous hypothetical situations, it drove the point home that it’s never okay.

But Schumer can’t escape criticism in Hollywood because that’s what Hollywood is all about. They tell you you’re not good enough to make it and then when you make it, they fawn all over you like you’re the best thing ever until they decide you’re too successful, and then they try to take you down.

Schumer revealed last week that she was told to lose weight for the movie Trainwreck, or “you’ll hurt people’s eyes.” Trainwreck – the film she thought of and cowrote with Judd Apatow. Trainwreck – the movie that made millions for everyone involved with it and launched her into the stratosphere of the entertainment world. Some studio executive actually said those words to her and what’s worse, she went on a diet, hating every minute of it. She says she’ll never again bend her values for someone else’s opinion of her.

Amy Schumer takes her seat at an interview session for media
photo by Anna Hanks

Amy Schumer isn’t a skinny supermodel, nor does she aim to be one. What she is, is confident and comfortable in her size 6-8 body. In Hollywood, size 2 is the norm, zero is better and 4 is approaching morbid obesity. The average non-movie-making woman is size 12-14. Plus size starts at 16. Glamour Magazine actually put Schumer in their “plus size” magazine. Surprise! You’re half of plus size, but not to Glamour!

If you want to see women who should lose weight, if only for their own health, go to a country fair. Spandex stretches as far as the eye can see, over miles and miles of puckered flesh, as elephant ears and beaver tails coated in powdered sugar and whipped cream disappear into waiting pie-holes. Do I judge these women? Maybe a little, deep down inside, and only because I know how easily I could become one of them. Do I want them mocked or shamed? Absolutely not. Not publicly and not privately. They know they’re overweight and will or won’t do something when they’re ready. And I won’t stand for anyone, rich Hollywood executive or traveling carny, telling a healthy, beautiful and delightfully imperfect force of nature like Schumer that she needs to change in any way, just because they said so.

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