Is there Really Shame In Killing The Game? Lessons from Amy Schumer

In December, Amy Schumer was announced as the iconic title character of the upcoming live-action film Barbie, and we couldn’t have been more excited. But instead of praise for landing the role, Schumer was berated with fat shaming and verbal abuse. Not giving in, Schumer took to Instagram to let her haters know she was in no way phased by their insults. “Is it fat shaming if you know you're not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don't think so,” the actress wrote under a posted image of herself in a bathing suit. “Where's the shame?,” she continued. “It's not there. It's an illusion.” 


Many women feel shame everyday. Whether is in the workplace, at home, or in our own minds, shame can take over at any time. It is shame that tells us we aren’t thin enough, smart enough, rich enough; that tells us we are not worthy; that holds us back from the world, from presenting ourselves and owning our successes. Shame makes us feel powerless: we fear it. But is shame, like Amy says, an illusion? Can you really be shamed if you’re not ashamed of yourself to begin with?


Shame is a social construct, a tool that one can use to control people, especially women. Women are seen as easy targets, as they are often wrongly perceived as being meek creatures. But, using Schumer as an example, women are strong, and stronger than you may think. Here are 3 ways to help break down the illusion of shame and overcome the fear of living powerfully.


It's Not Me, It's You (Because Internet Trolls, and Haters, Are Real) 

“Haters gonna hate, hate, hate,” sings Taylor Swift in “Shake It Off.” We’ve heard the song a million times, and, though we may want to shake it off, the lyric holds true. There are people out there who feed off the pain of others. Sometimes they are anonymous and sometimes they are from real life, but the question remains: How do we combat these haters? We have to learn to recognize them for who they are. “My deepest sympathy goes out to the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand,” wrote Amy in her Instagram comeback. It may seem counterintuitive, but most people who deal out hate likely hate themselves, and to deafen their blows, we need to remember that. When we see haters for who they are, we can realize that their barbs aren’t truly aimed at us, and we shouldn’t take them personally.


You are Enough  

What do we need to do in the face of shame? We need to accept ourselves. When we think we aren’t good enough, we are wasting energy that could be put toward strengthening ourselves and our goals. We need to tell ourselves that enough is enough. “When I look in the mirror I know who I am,” wrote Amy. “I’m a great friend, sister, daughter and girlfriend.” When we accept who we are, shame is more unlikely to touch us. 


Sidenote: Let’s be honest, accepting ourselves is eff-ing difficult. It’s a process that can take time and support from others. If you’re having a hard time seeing yourself for who you are, call a friend! Ask for help! Low self-esteem can be hard to battle, but it’s a battle everyone needs to wage. 


Know Your Bragging Rights

Take a look at your accomplishments, both personal and in your career. Make a list. Odds are the list isn’t empty. To help erase shame, we need to take those accomplishments and celebrate them-- everyday. We have to be proud of ourselves. Being proud of ourselves boosts morale and confidence. When we remember all that we have done, we strengthen our emotional core and are more likely to deflect any harm sent our way. We have to fight for ourselves, says Amy. Knowing our worth makes all the difference. And don’t be shy to share your achievements with others. Own your success. 


Shame is running rampant. Amy wrote in her post that our current mode of shaming “let’s you know something’s wrong with our culture and we all need to work together to change it.” As women, we, more now than ever, need to support each other and lift each other up. We cannot let trolls determine the level of ownership over our lives, ourselves, or our accomplishments. “If I say I’m beautiful, I say if I’m strong,” posted Amy, “You will not determine my story. I will.”

Heather Catania