A Different Picture Of Beauty: Let’s Talk About Amy Schumer’s Pirelli Calendar Shot

Amy Schumer appears mostly naked in this year’s Pirelli Calendar, the annual promotional day-tracker distributed to a secret list of special recipients by the tire manufacturer. Traditionally, the collection has featured scantily clad supermodels, but this year only Schumer and tennis superstar Serena Williams are stripped down, while the rest of the images feature various successful female professionals in different attire.

As Vanessa Friedman wrote on the New York Times’ website Monday, the shift from supermodels in next to nothing to successful women of varying ages and different walks of life could be another sign in the shift away from female objectification, similar to Playboy’s announcement that the classic men’s magazine will no longer feature fully naked women.

While all the images snapped by Annie Liebovitz are excellent portraits of each subject, the one generating the most buzz is the one of Schumer, sitting on a stool in underwear and heels, sipping a takeout coffee. The look on her face says, “No one told me,” which Liebovitz said was the intended joke – that the comedienne was the only one that didn’t get the memo that she could wear whatever she wanted to the shoot – but the thing that has made it such a lightning rod on social media is the authenticity of the image and Schumer’s willingness to put herself out there as she is.

In an age of airbrushing and photoshop, a very specific type of females routinely achieving overnight celebrities because of their Instagram feeds and the tired tradition of talking about all the “pretty girls we love,” here’s Schumer, breasts covered by her arm, a couple stomach rolls on full display and d’you know what? She looks hot.

Not hot because she’s a celebrity or hot “for a girl her size” or any of that bullshit; hot because she’s a beautiful woman with great legs, natural curves and the confidence to show it all off.

Want to show your young daughters and nieces and cousins and teenage girls someone with a healthy body image and an appearance that is closer to the societal norm than the amazingly thin models that adorn fashion magazines and various advertisements? Here you go.

Online Monday for The Guardian, Jennifer Gerson Uffalussy asked why no one has had much to say about Williams’ photo, which shows the top-ranked tennis player in a black underwear, her back to the camera in a slight lunge, wondering if it’s because she’s an athlete, because she’s African-American or both? Each of those reasons could be factors, but it’s also because conversations about Serena’s body have been going on for quite some time and only the most Cro-Magnon amongst the population continue to claim she’s built like a man and risk getting smacked down on social media by J.K. Rowling:

Uffalussy ponders whether Schumer would be getting the praise she’s received for being “real” is she “didn’t let her body be consumed in this way?” My answer is yes because people have been praising the 34-year-old for her authenticity and willingness to take aim at gender stereotypes and body issues long before she took off her clothes for this calendar shot.

There is an entire episode of her hit show, Inside Amy Schumer, which plays on 12 Angry Men, only instead debating the guilt or innocence of a man on trial for murder, the cast of jurors are arguing for or against Schumer being hot enough to be on television. It’s hilarious and hits home at the same time, so no, her “realness” isn’t tied to stripping down to her lacy panties and showing that she doesn’t have a flat stomach.

That’s just another part of what makes her real and another example of a different picture of beauty.

Check out all the images from the 2016 Pirelli Calendar.

E. Spencer Kyte

E. Spencer Kyte is a freelance journalist based in Abbotsford, British Columbia, where he lives with his wife and dog. In addition to his work here, he writes about sports for Complex Canada and covers the UFC for various outlets. His mom also still tells him what to do on a regular basis, even though he’s nearly 40. He tweets from @spencerkyte.

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