Whether you are a comedian, an actress, a teacher, or a clerk, no woman is wholly immune to the ridiculous beauty conventions that saturate the media every day. They not only influence our perception of ourselves, but also affect the way that others perceive us according to these standards. Your own accomplishments or beliefs, the stuff of life that should define you, not your appearance, often go overlooked in comparison to your choice of whether to wear makeup or not, the clothing you wear, or your hair style. I, for one, am sick of being asked about when I plan to have children or being told I look “tired” when I forgo the makeup I sometimes wear to work.
Like many other up and coming female comedians, Amy Schumer is no stranger to these superficial comments; the comments that often ignore all of her accomplishments as a comedian and only comment on her physical appearance. She has brilliantly addressed these concerns that plague all women in her comedy show, Inside Amy Schumer.
To give you an idea of what the show entails, Inside Amy Schumer is a sketch comedy series that first aired on Comedy Central in 2013. Each episode features skits, sections of stand up, and interviews that often focus on issues with sex, gender, relationships, etc.
In the most recent episode, Schumer spoofs the 1957 film 12 Angry Men, in which a room of jurors must decide the fate of a young man on trial for the murder of his father. What initially seems like a clear-cut case, becomes increasingly more complicated as the jurors own prejudices are revealed. In Schumer’s version, she puts herself on trial, and the men are forced to deliberate whether she is “hot enough for television” or can inspire a “reasonable chub” between the lot of them. Here Schumer takes control of her objectification by creating a skit that responds directly to criticisms of her appearance. The skit cleverly exposes how ridiculous it is to judge women based solely on their looks.
You can watch the full episode through the Comedy Central website by logging on with your cable provider.
The men start off their discussion by taking a vote, and only one man remains unconvinced that Amy is, in fact, not hot enough for television, stating: “All I’m saying is that it’s not easy for me to raise my hand and end a girl’s life without talking about it first” to which a second juror responds:
Schumer eloquently updates this classic scene by interjecting common prejudices about women; their appearances, their ability to be funny, how men judge their worth. In the end, all the men decide they would bang Amy and she is allowed to continue appearing on basic cable, as if this was the most important decision regarding her career. It shines a light on how stupid our judgements are. Not once do they mention her talent as a comedian. Schumer actually co-directed the episode, which for a comedy show is beautifully shot and aesthetically pleasing.
I can’t imagine a better ‘Fuck You’ than directing and writing an amazing episode to address the shallow concerns of her critics. A.V. Club notes that:
“It’s also a direct clap back to more recent accusations that she doesn’t fit the physical mold of a usual romantic-comedy protagonist as the hype cycle gears up for Trainwreck, her upcoming first starring movie role.”
While on the surface the episode focuses solely on her appearance, ignoring her talent and her accomplishments as a comedian, it allows her to display how freaking great she is as what she does. Also, the episode boasts an awesome cast playing the 12 jurors, including Jeff Goldblum, Paul Giamatti, and Vincent Kartheiser to name a few.
After this episode of Inside Amy Schumer, Amy takes to the streets of Manhattan to ask New York men their own ideas about beauty and fame. Although less ridiculous than the jurors, most men’s answers confirmed the absurd idea that a woman’s beauty is ultimately more important than their talent.