Watch Amy Schumer Skewer the Media's Obsession With 'Real Beauty'
But Amy Schumer knows a marketing gimmick when she sees one. In a sketch on Inside Amy Schumer Tuesday night, a One Direction-like boy band serenades the comedian with a song reminiscent of their hit "What Makes You Beautiful."
Schumer points out the hypocrisy of an empowerment movement based on the idea that women need men's permission to exist in their most natural, comfortable state. She further questions the very authenticity of these claims by putting them to the test.
First, the band members — like so many corporate entities before them — tell Schumer that she's more beautiful than she thinks she is.
The band members then encourage Schumer to rid herself of makeup completely and embrace her natural beauty.
Upon seeing her natural face, however, they change their tune completely.
The band encourages Schumer to reapply her makeup, highlighting how she can improve what they now see as her flaws, from her complexion to her "stubby and pale" eyelashes.
"Just get up an hour earlier," they encourage, "and you can make yourself much girlier."
The band members' reactions to her clean face reveal how "real beauty" media efforts are actually constructed to evoke an emotional response in consumers, rather than call into question our culture's deeply embedded, unattainable beauty standards.
Schumer's jab at corporations promoting empty sentiments of "real" beauty reminds us that no matter how many boy bands and pop stars profess to love makeup-less girls, our culture perpetuates a double-standard of beauty dictated by men and big business.
That's exactly why Schumer took to Twitter to launch the hashtag #girlyoudontneedmakeup as her episode aired, effectively pairing her own satire with a truly body-positive message.
Plenty of fans quickly contributed.
This sketch is just one in Schumer's growing legacy of using comedy to brilliantly push back on the very real, problematic experiences women face. Last week, Schumer targeted the way sexual assault is normalized in sports culture, and the show's past season called out sexual assault in the military.
While there certainly is a time and place for serious discussions of these issues, Schumer is proving that comedy is also an effective way to combat sexism and misogynistic phenomena — and that it's OK laugh our asses off while doing it.