Instagram Comparing Amy Schumer To Aphrodite Reminds Us Beauty Standards Aren’t Universal

In April, Amy Schumer was included in Glamour's "Chic At Any Size" issue, which was tailored toward plus-size women. In an Instagram post critiquing this decision, she wrote, "Young girls seeing my body type thinking that is plus size? What are your thoughts? Mine are not cool glamour not glamourous." Through this commentary, Schumer drew attention to a paradox we run up against when we celebrate women who are larger than beauty standards dictate: It shouldn't be notable that a woman is not a size zero. In fact, if Schumer's Instagram post is correct in stating that she wears between a six and an eight, she's smaller than the national average of size 14. When we characterize women who aren't stick-thin as unusual, we risk perpetuating these problematic standards.
A different post currently circulating around Instagram points out exactly why it doesn't make sense to portray women like Schumer as abnormal or brave to show their bodies. It displays the comedian alongside a statue of the ancient Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, once considered the pinnacle of beauty, and the two images bear some similarities. In ancient Greek culture, nobody would consider Amy Schumer plus-sized. "So many women and young girls are shamed by the media and fashion industry for not having a flat stomach and not being a size zero. But look, the goddess of beauty is portrayed here with stomach rolls and doesn't have a perfectly smooth, toned body," wrote the creator of the viral image, who goes by @whitneyzombie on Instagram. Amy Schumer herself took notice of the image and shared it.
This comparison proves that beauty standards are not the same everywhere. It's only because of our narrow definitions of attractiveness and normalcy that either of these bodies is considered remarkable for not being size zero or having stomach rolls. And, again, they shouldn't be viewed this way. In another viral Instagram post, model Anna Victoria, who is known for her flat abs, reveals her own stomach rolls. It's just how gravity works. We don't always acknowledge this, however— and it's nice to be reminded that there was a time when the bodies we consider bold to show off were once simply accepted as beautiful.

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