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Aidy Bryant denies that Amy Schumer film I Feel Pretty perpetuates 'fat phobia'

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Aidy Bryant has heard the complaints about her new movie I Feel Pretty and its handling of body-image issues, and she says detractors have got it all wrong.

Last week, the actress posted an Instagram photo of herself alongside Amy Schumer and former Saturday Night Live costar Sasheer Zamata promoting the upcoming film, with the caption, “#IFeelPretty April 20th!!!” In the film, Bryant plays one of the best friends of Schumer’s character, Renee Barrett, a woman who is insecure about her looks until she suffers a head injury and wakes up with a newfound sense of confidence.

Since the first trailer was released last month, I Feel Pretty has come under fire for what some see as fat-shaming and insensitive treatment of body issues and insecurities. One commenter on Bryant’s Instagram photo wrote, “I think you’re great @aidybryant, 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. 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.”

Bryant responded to the comment and addressed the criticism, writing, “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 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.”

Bryant added that representations of her weight and her body are something she always takes into careful consideration when selecting projects. “Through my short time in this industry I have been sent all kinds of demeaning scripts where my body is the punchline,” she wrote. “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.”

Her response was met with hearty appreciation from other fans, as well as the original commenter, who wrote, “Thanks for taking the time to respond. I appreciate your perspective and cannot relate to the pressures/alternate reality of Hollywood- which I am sure can be toxic. The work I know and love that you’ve done almost never centers around your body- either as oppressive or comical- which speaks to the commitment you have made to showing the audience that all people (regardless of outward appearance) have more depth than diet culture makes us believe.”

Bryant spoke out last fall about how her platform on SNL has made her an unintentional spokesperson for body positivity. “I didn’t try to get on SNL to be a body-positivity activist, but apparently just being there makes you one,” she told PEOPLE “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.”

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