An Open Letter To The Barbie Movie Producers: Please Don't Be Predictable

Photo: Buckner/Variety/REX/Shutterstock.
As a child, I was told that Barbie would die if her proportions were translated onto a real-life body. Her tiny waist-to-hip ratio would crush her internal organs; her delicate wrists would be incapable of lifting objects; her swan-like neck couldn’t support her head. Real-life Barbie would be crippled by beauty.
In 2016, Sony and Mattel announced they were doing the impossible: bringing these outrageous proportions to a live-action film.
With the announcement of Amy Schumer as Barbie, the movie studios pleasantly surprised me. Schumer, a paragon of body-positivity, was just the person to give the Barbie doll the 21st-century makeover she needed so desperately.
In the film script, Barbie gets booted out of Barbieland for not being perfect, and lands smack dab in the middle of the real world. Think Enchanted but with more Ken and less Prince Charming. Unlike the doll, Schumer’s Barbie would certainly be able to lift her head and hold it high. That’s something Amy Schumer has been doing her whole career.
When word got out that the actress and comedian was in talks with Mattel and Sony for the role, Schumer had a swift response to the skeptics. She took to Instagram to post a photo of herself in a swimsuit, along wth a pointed message directed toward the haters.

Very very honored to be nominated for 2 Grammys and to be considered to play an important and evolving icon. Is it fat shaming if you know you're not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don't think so. I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where's the shame? It's not there. It's an illusion. When I look in the mirror I know who I am. Im a great friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend. I'm a badass comic headlining arenas all over the world and making tv and movies and writing books where I lay it all out there and I'm fearless like you can be. Thanks to everyone for the kind words and support and again my deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand. I want to thank them for making it so evident that I am a great choice. It's that kind of response that let's you know something's wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it. Anyone who has ever been bullied or felt bad about yourself I am out there fighting for you, for us. And I want you to fight for yourself too! We need to laugh at the haters and sympathize with them. They can scream as loud as they want. We can't hear them because we are getting shit done. I am proud to lead by example. "I say if I'm beautiful, I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will" #thegirlwiththelowerbacktattoo

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The caption read, “I am proud to lead by example. "I say if I'm beautiful, I say if I'm strong. You will not determine my story. I will.”
And what better way to lead by example than starring in the Barbie film?
All of this makes today's announcement such a bummer. In an official statement, Schumer announced she was dropping out of the Barbie film due to scheduling conflicts.
With her self-proclaimed nickname “The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo,” Schumer has molded a career from body positivity, self-acceptance, and fearlessly shutting down haters. Her casting was a statement in itself. It seemed to be a promise, on part of the studios, to say — "We’ll try to make things better."
Now that Schumer has backed out, though, the studio is faced with a critical choice. When searching for a replacement, casting directors could find an actress with eerily Barbie-like proportions in about a heartbeat. And yet I can’t help but hope they choose someone whose proportions are closer to real life than to Barbieland.
Barbie’s been propagating unrealistic beauty standards since the 1960s, though Mattel's made some positive changes, like their line of dolls with different body types. Here’s hoping the Barbie film is still a step in the right direction, even without Schumer's involvement.

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