Comedian Aidy Bryant, who has spoken of being an activist for positive body image among plus-sized women, has responded to a critic who chastised her for appearing in Amy Schumer’s upcoming film “I Feel Pretty.”
In that movie, which opens April 20, Schumer plays a downtrodden overweight woman who awakens from a fall convinced she is beautiful and supremely capable. Bryant plays one of her best friends.
“I think you’re great @aidybryant,” commented Instagram user “k8mosher” on Bryant’s recent post of a photo with herself, Schumer and fellow movie castmate Sasheer Zamata, “but from the previews I’ve seen of this movie, it’s a HUGE step backwards for the feminist movement, that at this very moment is having a huge identity shift that many of those on the front lines of the work are working against the messages in this film on a daily basis.”
The commenter, whose own Instagram account is private, continued, saying, “I won’t be supporting a movie that continues to perpetuate fat phobia and the notion that for a woman to be confident she needs to look a certain (read: thin, white, rich) way. The previews are extremely problematic and as a fat woman in Hollywood, who has thousands of fat girls who look up to you, I hope you will consider the message this film sends. Thumbs down.”
“Saturday Night Live” castmember Bryant, 30, responded, “Hi! I hear what you’re saying. I encourage you to see the film. I think you’ll find that’s not the case. I’m very proud to be in a movie [that] tells the story of someone who believes confidence is directly tied to looks but learns that confidence comes from within. It’s a movie I wish I could have seen when I was 14.”
She went on to write, “Through my short time in this industry I have been sent all kinds of demeaning scripts where my body is the punchline. I choose my projects carefully with exactly these things in mind. Change cannot happen over night and this movie is a step in the right direction.”
Bryant told New York magazine’s fashion website TheCut.com in November, “I didn’t try to get on ‘SNL’ to be a body-positivity activist, but apparently just being there makes you one. It’s this weird kind of thing where you’re like, I guess I kind of am. It’s literally just not what I came here to do.” She added, “It sounds so corny now, but representation does (expletive) matter. And I remember how as a child I was obsessed with Rosie O’Donnell even though that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do, but I was like, Oh my god, someone who’s a little bit like me on TV.”