Amy Schumer’s “New Body” Sets Unrealistic Expectations

Much of Amy Schumer’s self-deprecating humor has a certain insight to it that makes it quite relevant and relatable. Her video “New Body” is no exception. In this short video, she plays on the apparent need for a slim shape in order to be an acceptable member of society. Amy goes through a store called New Body with a sales representative, looking for items to buy that will fit her eventual new body size. She then discusses her new diet and how she will limit her eating habits in order to drop two sizes in two weeks. While this video is comedy, it is apparent that Amy is commenting on the ridiculous societal norm that tells women that they need to be thin to be happy. We see this idea played out in The Bluest Eye as well, when Pecola understands beauty as having light skin and blue eyes.

Both “New Body” and The Bluest Eye portray body as something that has an ideal form that can only be obtained through ridiculous measures (or impossible to obtain at all). While the keywords essay “Body” centers around its representation in children’s literature, it also draws from culture beyond that genre. In the essay, Kelly Hager mentions the work of Beth Younger. Younger noted a particular “weightism” (p. 20) present in young adult novels. In those novels, larger characters are represented as deviant while thinner characters are responsible. Though Amy Schumer’s video is very obviously a parody, it makes us think about how culture (including literature) influences how women and girls feel about their bodies. There is no such thing as an ideal body, but certain media channels can make us think otherwise.

3 thoughts on “Amy Schumer’s “New Body” Sets Unrealistic Expectations”

  1. I love Amy Schumer! This video was definitely a commentary on unrealistic beauty expectations, as well as the futility of attempting to “fit into” these standards (so to speak). I really like the way you linked it to the Keywords “Body” essay. I would also add that Hager quotes Ruth Saxton: “Physicality– the Girl’s experience of her body, engagement in or denial of sex, her cultural ‘value’ as a young female body– remains crucial.” Schumer is pointing out the ways in which the female body continues to have a cultural “value” that is based on appearance and sexuality.

  2. I really like this video! This is so true in today society, and even more frustrating are the reasons why girls and women want perfect bodies- for others. I think that many women in our society, and Pecola would be perfectly fine with their bodies had someone not told them that they were “ugly”, or told them that the perfect body was something different than theirs.

  3. I love Amy Schumer and I think this post is great. One doesn’t have to look very hard before they come upon some crazy fad diet claiming to produce unheard of weight loss in a very limited amount of time and it’s funny that this video can shed light on how unrealistic that is. Your use of keywords was really insightful and I think this ties in well with the whole concept of body image seen throughout our class and in society. Thanks for sharing!

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