By now, we’ve all seen the photo of Amy Schumer that will appear in next year’s Pirelli calendar. Apparently, my initial reaction to it was far mellower than the the rest of the world’s. I wasn’t overcome by shock, extreme joy, anger or disgust. I didn’t feel the earth move beneath my feet in a quake of feminist pride. Instead I felt a simple “good for you, Amy.”
Would I have given her a fist bump if we were on fist bump status? Yes. The funny girl’s doing her thang and GNF about it; I can respect that. And I can respect her choice to strip down, because why not? Hell, I can even respect that random cup of coffee she’s choosing to drink in nothing but heels and panties because, let’s face it, we all like to feel like a badass bitch sometimes who will do whatever she wants, even if that means just wearing a killer pair of heels and skimpy underwear while drinking a chai latte. What I can’t respect is the the ridiculous backlash she is receiving, and how the use of the word “brave” to describe the photo has backfired in the worst way possible.
A lot of people were delighted when they saw Schumer’s photo, along with its witty caption of “Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman.” The adjectives Schumer threw out there were a list of words that could easily be hurled at the photograph, based on whoever was looking at it. Some people might be fans, some might be critics, some might be neutral, but all would have something to say. Instead of waiting for it, she presented it, realizing that everyone has their own views and opinions. Lo and behold, the public had a lot to say about it, and just as Schumer’s caption predicted, there was no general consensus.
As a woman who from time to time struggles with my own body image, I saw Schumer’s photo and was happy. Sweet, I thought, here’s a woman who more what the general population can relate to. She’s not a size zero model, she doesn’t have Kim Kardashian’s ass, and she likes Chipotle and beer just as much as the rest of us. She’s a busy woman, like many women are, whose main priority is not the gym, but the other hundreds of things she still doesn’t really have the time to do. She was owning who she was, and most importantly, she wasn’t ashamed of who she was or what “flaws” she might have as decided by the world of Hollywood and fashion magazines. Some people even ventured to call what she did “brave.”
The word brave, like most words, has several connotations. Here are two of them.
ready to face and endure danger or pain; showing courage:“a brave soldier”
to endure or face (unpleasant conditions or behavior) without showing fear
The first definition describes a person. The second describes what a person does. People who are brave often do show courage, and in more extreme cases, they willingly face and endure danger or pain. People who brave something do things that they know may result in unpleasant consequences, but they forge forward anyway to take a stance or to prove a point.
Upon hearing that people thought Amy Schumer was “brave” for her actions, haters jumped all over the topic. The adjective brave should be reserved for only certain types of people: soldiers, police officers, firefighters, cancer fighters – just to name a few. And I agree- this is a word that we shouldn’t use lightly. You don’t apply it to every little thing. You don’t want to generalize its meaning. But do we not also use this word as a form of encouragement? When young kids are afraid to be themselves, do we not tell them to be brave? When our friends embark on a new journey, is brave an inappropriate way to label their actions? Did Sara Barielles not write a smash hit that implores all of us to do brave things in our everyday lives?
Amy Schumer posing nearly naked for a magazine is not the bravest thing anyone has ever done by a long shot. What’s brave is that she was willing to brave the onslaught of criticism and nasty remarks that were to come her way. What’s brave is the giant middle, finger she’s giving to any man or woman that tries to tell her that her body is not the ideal type. While the topic was trending on Facebook, one popular Facebook personality took it upon himself to comment on the photo, saying there was nothing brave about posting a disgusting photo of yourself. He went on to call Schumer fat, ugly, and lazy, comparing her to women who “take care of themselves.” He completely demeaned the woman, acting like no person on Earth could ever find her physically attractive. THIS is why Amy is brave, you POS – for posting a photo that would receive such confidence-shattering slander as the garbage you posted. What makes her BRAVE is for not letting the millions of comments like yours break her.
Schumer was not posing for this picture so others would call her the sexiest woman on the planet, she posed for the picture to show that it’s ok to consider yourself a beautiful and strong woman who doesn’t need the confirmation of others to make herself feel so. Women as a whole need to stop analyzing what everyone and their mother thinks – anyone who has the time to try to bring you down is clearly lacking something in their own life. It’s been shouted at us for years that everyone comes in different shapes and sizes, and we can preach the idea as much as we want. We can go on to tell others that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or we can start to live it and stop passing off judgement on others.
You are brave Amy, just like a million other people who have gone out on a limb to prove a point. Thanks for showing us what it is to be a self-assured and confident woman who doesn’t need the approval of anyone else to tell her that she rocks.