Amy Schumer’s recent interview with Maria Shriver on The Today Show, have sparked conversation about the emotional experience Schumer has had dealing with body image. The media is applauding her for her courage to speak out about it, which is apropos, but her solution to body dissatisfaction is in itself, troubling.
It’s an emotional thing. It’s been a struggle for me my whole life, and especially just being in the entertainment industry.
Her statement is courageous and relatable, especially since so many individuals, both men and women, suffer from body dissatisfaction. Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to change their body shape and weight. Within the entertainment industry with its additional pressures for external beauty, that body dissatisfaction is most likely magnified.
However Schumer’s comments resonated with many, there are legitimate concerns with her means of addressing body dissatisfaction. She said she had always dressed poorly and her stylist helped her transform her wardrobe so she could “dress and feel good.” Because of that, Schumer is now collaborating with Goodwill to help spread that message and bolster more women’s confidence.
It is very important for people to be able to afford good business outfits for interviews and work, and certainly, dressing well can help boost your confidence. But relying on that external validation of yourself is not the answer. Disguising your body and any perceived flaws is not the solution. You will not accept your body by hiding it. You will accept your body by embracing it, flaws and all. Dress well if you want, but don’t rely on that to reconcile your body image concerns.
Gaining body confidence is by no means easy, but there are several ways you can promote body confidence through internal means, rather than relying on external validation. Refusing to participate in fat talk stops the cycle of negativity, which can be easy to ruminate on once started. Focusing on what your body can do rather than what it looks like is also essential. Challenge yourself to identify aspects of your body that you do love and then work on accepting the parts that you wish you could change.
Schumer was incredibly brave to speak up about her body image struggles and her work with Goodwill is admirable. And I am by no means disputing that she gained more body confidence by dressing well. However, I think it is important to realize that dressing well is not the answer. Body dissatisfaction is a serious and multifaceted problem and it can not be pared down to a single-faceted solution.