I know I’m late to jump on the Trainwreck, but unfortunately, the night I was supposed to see it in theaters, I was in a bad car wreck (killing it with these puns right now). I finally watched it recently, with high hopes, and was so completely disappointed. I thought Amy Schumer was a new kind of celebrity: one who defies the beauty standards our culture foists on us, one who says a woman’s value is not determined by her body, one who shines a light on the importance of the integrity of one’s mind as opposed to the size of one’s waistline. But, slowly, she’s proven herself to be just another vapid star.
In her Netflix special, Amy Schumer talks about how when she wrote Trainwreck, she imagined a ‘conventionally beautiful’ woman starring in it, but the producers, much to her surprise, wanted her to play the lead role. Which is great. Except that, as she then goes on to say, she was told that in order to get the role, she needed to stop eating. Of course this is a bit of an exaggeration for comedic effect, but she proceeds to talk about how she did, in fact, agree to the demands that she change her appearance to fit the role. She describes how the production got her a trainer and she stopped drinking and dieted. All so that she could pass Hollywood’s checklist for acceptable attractiveness.
Sure, she still wasn’t and isn’t a stick thin model, which she jokes about in virtually every bit of comedy she does, but she caved in to the pressure to fit a certain mold virtually thoughtlessly. She made herself “good enough” to be in her own movie. Like, at no point did it occur to her to say, “Um, no—it’s my fucking movie and I don’t have to look a certain way to be in it. Fuck you and your standards of beauty—I’m not going to do something that is entirely unlike me in order to be accepted by you”? What happened to her irreverent, defiant side? The moment Hollywood called, she decided to ditch it so that she could be a bona fide star? That’s fucking weakness if I’ve ever seen it.
And let’s talk about the character she plays in Trainwreck—the character she wrote. She’s a mess, so she’s relatable. She’s sexually liberated and just trying to stumble through life, following the bad example left by her father and under the influence of probably too much alcohol and too many drugs. That’s all great—no objections there. The problem I have with her mainly crops up towards the end of the movie (although her baby voice is pretty obnoxious throughout—yet another feminine trait adored by the patriarchy—a weak, delicate, whimpering, helpless little mouse squeak). At the end, she completely betrays herself in order to win over a man. She puts on her skimpy cheerleader outfit and does a routine for him, because he likes it. Never mind that prior to that, she mercilessly mocked the same squad of cheerleaders, in the presence of the same man, for being part of the gender inequality problem that plagues our culture.
That ending is honestly sickening. Watching her become the woman her boyfriend approves of so that they can live happily ever after is like a bad joke—that’s the trainwreck in the movie. I found myself recoiling as I watched it, looking around going “is anyone else seeing this??” (even though I was alone). Like, the comedian who talks nonstop, in a self-deprecating but also proud way, about essentially being conventionally unattractive in a world that shames women for being exactly that, turned herself into an endearing, innocent, puppy-like cheerleader who daintily fumbles her way through a bit to show the man she loves that she cares and she’s trying and she ‘wants to make it right.’ VOM. Seriously gag me. I know Schumer was portraying a character in that pathetic scene, but to pretend like this movie isn’t largely autobiographical would be like to deny the Holocaust. Plus, just because it’s a work of fiction doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a social responsibility to play characters that are inspirational and meaningful and deep, not shallow reflections of the messed up roles society and media encourage us to play.
And I wouldn’t have such a problem with her role in Trainwreck if it weren’t a direct contradiction of what she purports to be—I’m not the one imposing the duty to be a strong, down-to-earth female role model on her—she’s the self-proclaimed, loud and proud feminist who colors outside the lines. If we were talking about Kylie Jenner, I would be like, “Oh, well of course she plays a weak female role. I mean, is the sky blue? Does a cat have a pissy attitude? Is Donald Trump’s hair the best gift we’ve ever been given?” But Schumer is so transparently two-faced in her involvement in Trainwreck that it’s a betrayal of not just feminism, but her act as well. Is it just me or does she reak of hypocrisy?
I mean, it’s bad enough that she publicly endorses Hillary Clinton, one of the more corrupt, greedy, war-mongering politicians in the United States’ recent history (in addition to the Repubs—that’s a given), but now, with Trainwreck, she might as well be the spokeswoman for Barbie, or tapeworm diet pills, or Fox News. As she says to the cheerleaders before she loses her dignity and picks up her own pair of pom poms in the film, she’s “gonna lose us the right to vote.”
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