Amy Schumer and The 160-Pound Joke in the Room

Real people are everywhere, and the world is just now taking notice.
Publish date:
June 8, 2015
glamour, weight, Amy Schumer, Sex,

Who isn’t in love with Amy Schumer’s acceptance speech for this year’s Glamour Trailblazer of the Year award? Its unapologetic honesty is catapulting this intelligent, open, and honest comic to the top of all our favorites lists on YouTube. But a lot of the media coverage still seems to be missing her point.

Every time I see this speech heralded in the media this week, even when touted as empowering, it’s accompanied by a repeat of one of her self-deprecating jokes early in the speech: “I’m 160 pounds right now and can catch a dick whenever I want…that’s the truth.”

The subsequent laughter seems to be about Schumer’s unabashed confidence in herself, and the confidence of other women, and the fact that men care so much more about sex than relationships that they’ll sleep with anyone (coyote ugly and all that). But the comment was actually a much stronger statement – one of many she made that day.

In context, this joke was a response to Ellie Goulding's having evidently made a self-deprecating remark during her own acceptance speech at the same event; specifically Goulding mentioned that she was "punching above her weight" with her current boyfriend, and thanked Glamour for featuring "real" women. Schumer responded by saying, "I love Ellie being like, 'Thank you for loving real people.' And she’s like a fucking supermodel. Like the little uglies… like you found us."

This was then followed by the 160-pound joke in the room. The point wasn’t, "hey, fat girls can get laid." The point was: real people are everywhere, and the world is just now waking up to notice. I’ve been here all along, thank you very much.

Not getting as much Facebook attention, because it came later in the five minute speech, is the reason why Schumer was thanking Glamour – not for the award, and not for the fashion tips, since she notes she regularly capitalizes on the fodder women’s magazines provide – but for allowing her to be herself, and giving her a voice.

The first came from Glamour being her first experience of a magazine shooting a female comic without denigrating her by turning her into what Schumer characterized as a “cum dumpster.” Rather than make the comedienne into the joke, Glamor was the first magazine that photographed her by simply telling her to smile.

“I was like, ‘where’s the dick?’ And they’re [saying], ‘no, just be you.’”

Glamour published a story Amy told that was ultimately about “losing self-esteem and then finding it again.” And it empowered Amy to say, “I’m not going to apologize for who I am. I’m actually going to love the skin I’m in and not be…striving for some other version of myself.”

Almost as empowering as the entirety of Schumer’s speech indoors was her red carpet performance. When asked by an interviewer to complete the sentence, “The best thing about being a woman is…,” her response is on point.

“Our strength…I think it’s an exciting time to be a woman, where we’re realizing more and more that there’s that Gloria Steinem quote, ‘we became the men we wanted to marry.’ But I think I’m realizing that’s not true. I think women are just bad-asses and owning it more.”

The follow up question, in honor of this being the 12th annual Glamour awards, was, “if you could go back in time, and give your 12-year old self a piece of advice, what would it be?”

Without skipping a beat, Schumer replies, “Get vaccinated for HPV… that would have been great.”

By calling attention to a fat-girl-gets-laid joke, many people are overlooking the breadth of wisdom Schumer shared with us in just these seven minutes of clips. I’d vote Schumer for president in 2016 if I could. Healthcare would definitely cover birth control, and the State of the Union would be a lot more watchable. But the rest of TV, and a lot of comedy, would be at a loss.