No, Amy, I Don’t “Feel Pretty…”
Although I enjoy much of Amy Schumer’s work, I don’t think I’ll be seeing her new movie, I Feel Pretty, for a very personal reason. There were very few times in my life that I ever “felt pretty.”
What I’ve read about this movie, blonde, not overweight (no matter what she thinks) Schumer’s character has an accident and awakens believing she’s got one hot body. Her self-confidence increases and she moves up in her job and life. So basically the moral is the way you look affects the way you see yourself and the way others see you.
Yep, that’s it. Damn, Amy! I already knew that. I learned that when I was about eight and wearing “Chubby” brand clothes from Sears and not being picked for dodge ball.
Amy, we already put enough on the shoulders of women. Most women today have a career (if they’re lucky)or a job (or two or three if they’re not lucky), and children (if they’re lucky or not lucky, depending on the time of day and age of children).
So now we’re putting the onus of poor self-confidence and lack of success on how women look. Work hard to get your body in shape. Follow YouTube videos on make-up. Go to weight-loss meetings. Need surgery for those flabby things (MUST have that “thigh-gap”). Get that wonder cream that takes away eye bags and wrinkle within a minute of using it. (Note: I’ve been thinking about getting one but can’t find a cream that’s cruelty-free. I have some standards.)
It’s been more than sixty years since I started gaining weight and we’re still filling women (and little girls) with this bullshit. It’s not what you do that matters; it’s how you look.
I grew up with a father who teased me about my weight (actually bullied). “The sign on the bridge says, ‘Nothing over 2000 pounds.’ Mitzi, you have to get out of the car.” When I was fifty, after driving more than 250 miles to bring him to his younger daughter’s college graduation, he looked at a package of cupcakes I’d bought for both of us and said, “Do you really need that?” My reaction, “Pop, I’m almost 50. When are you going to stop?” That was the first time I’d stood up to him…the first time…after almost fifty years of being teased and bullied and (to me) overlooked.
It didn’t help that my sister was pretty and thin. It didn’t help that she was able to go college after high school and I wasn’t. There were other differences and over time, I thought it was because I was fat.
It took years for me to develop any type of confidence in myself. In high school I developed an interest in national politics. I was an outspoken fan of a new but English pop group. I recently learned that my classmates thought I was very smart and that I had the highest IQ in my class. I didn’t know it then and so my self-confidence was still based on my looks. I never went to a prom. I didn’t have a first date or a first kiss until I was 19. All important things for someone (some girl) in high school.
I have more self-confidence now. I’ve been a charge nurse on med-surg units. I’ve been in marketing. I’ve written freelance for a newspaper. I ended my nursing career as a Vice President of Nursing. I raised a daughter alone. I needed self-confidence to do all those things. I can’t say I gained self-confidence by doing any one thing. I think I gained it because I was responsible for my daughter and didn’t have a choice. I had to keep moving forward.
Even the years I was thinner after losing almost eighty pounds, I didn’t feel “pretty.” The other side had been too ingrained into me. BTW: After my fiancé died waiting for a heart transplant, forty of those pounds returned to me.
I never once teased or bullied my daughter. As a child, if she wanted to try something, from horseback riding to gymnastics to baton twirling, I gave her the chance. I applauded her successes. I think she’s the smartest person in any room.
Do I find it sad I didn’t have the same experience? Was it because I was fat? Maybe, maybe not. But I had to develop my own self-confidence without having an accident that made me think I was pretty and I did it without help from my family.
Maybe that made me stronger.
It’s certainly gave me the self-confidence that doesn’t wrinkle.