Recently, I got to see the movie, “I Feel Pretty,” starring Amy Schumer. The movie, somewhat of a farce as you might imagine, manages to have moments of poignancy amid its stupidity. Rather than offer up a review of the movie, I want to delve into its poignancies. Even though I want to ask – do you feel pretty? – this blog still matters if you prefer the word handsome.
Schumer’s character, Renee, transforms from an absolutely awkward and average person into exactly the same person. Physically, at the very least. So, how could she transform if she really didn’t change? Well, she fell off a bike at spin class, hit her head, and tore a huge amount of hair out. After she came to, she woke up thinking of herself – and seeing herself – as a pretty person. Whatever you do, don’t try to recreate this scene from the movie! Most likely, you will suffer a concussion, a bald spot somewhere on your head, and wounded pride.
All joking aside, and further setting aside the premise, seeing Renee’s attitude and self-confidence transform reminds us of what’s possible. Without changing a thing externally, lifting one’s attitude is all it takes to carry one’s self with self-assurance. Rather than thinking she wasn’t worthy of notice, Renee behaved like a high visibility position was hers for the taking. Just like a good Hollywood story, she got the job and we viewers get the point.
It’s important to consider the comparison of the words feel and look. I’m very happy that the movie’s premise was about the feelings that come with prettiness, rather than the looks. But, it’s not all perfect for Renee, whose new attitude throws her closest girl friends for a loop. She mistreats them, and suddenly feels as if she is better than them. She still wants to do social things with them. But, they don’t like the attitude of the new Renee. So, they decide to do other activities without her.
Renee gets a boyfriend. He met Renee after she hit her head, and only knew her with all of that confidence. When she finally lost her confident powers – after hitting her head, once more – her awkward behavior returned. Her behavioral shift confused him. She looked the same, but she wasn’t the same. It also confused Renee and she dumped him. Again, more reasons to avoid hitting your head in search of feeling pretty or handsome.
We all have the right to feel pretty or handsome. If you face lots of rejection or have a life like Renee’s where you’re often overlooked, feeling pretty is hard. Quite frankly, I relate. For a long time in my life, that was pretty much my experience. No question about it, I gave myself an attitude adjustment, too. But, I also took measures to improve my appearance. In turn, those actions more deeply impacted my attitude, and I have never again felt the way I once had.
Beauty, if we see it only as physical, is definitely only skin deep. But, it’s absolutely possible to radiate inner beauty. That’s exactly what style does. A healthy attitude is an expression of that inner beauty. I love seeing it radiate from people in real life. When it’s real and natural, there’s no taking it away from anyone. Maybe I wasn’t convinced by Renee/Amy’s new attitude because she did not do any work to get there. She just hit her head. Poor thing. For the rest of us mere, non-Hollywood mortals, it takes actual work to shift our attitudes.
Another important lesson from the movie is that you really never know what’s going on inside someone else. Renee’s friends didn’t see a physical shift in her appearance. It took them a while to catch on to her new attitude. Plus, her boyfriend hadn’t noticed a change in her appearance either. So, when she started acting weird and she broke up with him, her behavior totally confused him. Eventually, because it’s a movie, they worked it out, and I was happy to see that her love life improved.
The young woman cosmetic company owner, hilariously acted by Michelle Williams, has her own issues, it turns out. She’s the one with the more obvious beauty, but she is also totally self-conscious. She has a very high-pitched voice and people seem not to take her seriously. It just goes to show that pretty people have issues, too. It levels the playing field that, at the end of the day, none of us is perfect.
This idea that none of us is perfect is a very important point to reflect upon. By comparing ourselves to others, we draw conclusions that others have it better or worse than we do. This is truly unhealthy and even destructive. There’s another character in the movie who Renee meets at spin class early on. She’s physically gorgeous in all the ways you can tell Renee wishes she was. Plus, she’s so nice that she struck up conversation with Renee.
Eventually, the two of them run into one another in the spin class locker room again. She is crying, and Renee approaches. Turns out that a guy who was dating the young woman dumped her. Somehow, this pleased Renee. She felt better about herself because of someone else’s misfortune. This made me feel sad, and I didn’t like this element of the movie. But, it’s a teachable moment, because I think it’s wholly unattractive to consider others’ losses as our gains. In a way, Renee’s hyper-focus on actually looking pretty brought out something really ugly about her. I’m happy that the movie didn’t perpetuate fat-shaming. But, it sort of perpetuated pretty-shaming.
And this is maybe where the moral of the story comes out. Too much focus on the outside, just for the sake of possessing physical beauty, is pointless. It’s better to focus on our spiritual cores and to get back to the premise of my question. Do you feel pretty? I hope that you feel whatever adjective is appropriate, because that means that you have a healthy spirit.
With that healthy spirit, it’s impossible that others won’t feel themselves drawn to you. People who need you in their lives will surround you and fulfill you with experiences beyond all of your dreams. It’s my life story, and it’s entirely possible to holistically and successfully transform the outer and the inner.