“There’s something confusing about Amy Schumer’s promotional pictures.”

Video via NBC

 

Last week, as I was walking down a busy city street adorned with posters that looked as though they’d been sprawled there illegally, I was struck by one particular image.

Image via Qudos Bank Arena.

It was an advertisement for Schumer's latest show in Australia, which has since been cancelled.

I stared at it for a moment, with my head tilted slightly to the right, in much the same way as a dog who is bamboozled by a disappearing and reappearing lizard.

Before me was an image of one of the most successful female comedians in history. A 35-year-old who has written a New York Times bestselling book. An actress, producer and multiple Emmy Award winner.

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One of Time magazines 2015 top 100 Most Influential People.

And in the poster for her stand up show, Schumer looks like she could be on the cover of Playboy.

The sex hair. The 'come-get-me' gaze. The lack of pants.

She is one of the world's funniest women. Is sex really still her currency?

Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and I discussed Amy Schumer on this week's episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.

Amy Schumer can look like a walking contradiction.

She's said that in LA her arms register as legs, and that body image has been "a struggle for me my whole life", whilst simultaneously stating that she feels "very comfortable in [her] own skin..."

When Glamour magazine referred to her as 'plus-sized', she was quick to reject the label and argued that it "doesn't feel right".

Later, plus-sized model Ashley Graham said it felt like a "double standard" given that Schumer quite literally profits off making jokes about being a "big girl".

Perhaps there is no greater example of Schumer's tortured relationship with her own self image, than the caption which accompanied her nude picture featured in the highly esteemed Pirelli calendar;

“Beautiful, gross, strong, thin, fat, pretty, ugly, sexy, disgusting, flawless, woman.”

But as I was standing in front of the enormous poster, staring at the apparent hypocrisy of the 'brand' that is Amy Schumer, I realised something.

It irked me.

And the reason it irked me - as I believe it does so many of us - is because it is all so eerily familiar.

Schumer is a walking contradiction. Just like the rest of us.

Intellectually, I sometimes manage to convince myself I am strong, beautiful, flawless and sexy. I desperately want to believe that.

But some days, despite my feminist beliefs telling me that I am not my body, or my value is not indexed on how I look, I feel hopeless.

Very very honored to be nominated for 2 Grammys and to be considered to play an important and evolving icon. Is it fat shaming if you know you're not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don't think so. I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where's the shame? It's not there. It's an illusion. When I look in the mirror I know who I am. Im a great friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend. I'm a badass comic headlining arenas all over the world and making tv and movies and writing books where I lay it all out there and I'm fearless like you can be. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support and again my deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand. I want to thank them for making it so evident that I am a great choice. It's that kind of response that let's you know something's wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it. Anyone who has ever been bullied or felt bad about yourself I am out there fighting for you, for us. And I want you to fight for yourself too! We need to laugh at the haters and sympathize with them. They can scream as loud as they want. We can't hear them because we are getting shit done. I am proud to lead by example. "I say if I'm beautiful, I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will" #thegirlwiththelowerbacktattoo

A photo posted by @amyschumer on

I oscillate so rapidly between content and disgusted. Comfortable and horrified. Carefree and obsessive.

My self image is a mess, and I think Schumer's might be too.

After the release of Trainwreck, Jeffrey Wells wrote for Hollywood Elsewhere, "She’s obviously sharp and clever and funny as far as the woe-is-me, self-deprecating thing goes, but there’s no way she’d be an object of heated romantic interest in the real world."

To paraphrase, Schumer can achieve as much as she likes. But she is nothing unless she is beautiful.

At the Gloria Awards in 2014, Schumer gave a speech on confidence. At one point, she said;

"I can be reduced to that lost college freshman so quickly sometimes, I want to quit. Not performing, but being a woman altogether. I want to throw my hands in the air, after reading a mean Twitter comment, and say, ‘All right! You got it. You figured me out. I’m not pretty. I’m not thin. I do not deserve to use my voice…. All my self-worth is based on what you can see.’ But then I think, Fuck that."

Maybe this pic is better for that. No makeup air dry hair! #jericho

A photo posted by @amyschumer on

I know exactly what she means. But that's not where the story ends. After the 'fuck that', comes the familiar doubt, and the cycle starts again and again and again.

And Schumer's poster yells "If I'm not sexy I can't win".

As I looked into her eyes, on that bizarre poster, I thought "I get it".

The funny girls grow up alongside the sexy girls - the two seem irreconcilable. And who wins?

The answer lies in the crinkled, poorly pasted poster.

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You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here:

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