WASHINGTON • Attention, feminists. Before you write off 2016 as a net loss for contemporary feminism, know this: Comedienne Amy Schumer is in talks to play Barbie in a live-action comedy.
According to Variety, Schumer is close to a deal with Mattel and Sony Pictures to star as Barbie in a film in which she gets "kicked out of Barbieland for not being perfect enough and lands in a real-world adventure".
It is a departure from the more reverential animated Barbie movies of the past, but still meant to be a family flick, with a planned PG rating.
And who better to recalibrate the image and message of Barbie than Schumer, who is expected to tweak the screenplay with her sister Kim Caramele, a writer and producer on Inside Amy Schumer?
Here is why the casting is great:
•Schumer walks on two feet and proudly holds her own head up. Unlike the original Barbie, who was so stretched and disfigured that, had she been a real woman, she would have had to walk on all fours, Schumer is openly adoring of her fabulous curves. This is huge. A horrifying yet obvious report published earlier this year showed that girls who played with traditional Barbies have higher rates of dissatisfaction with their bodies. Even Mattel has wised up, introducing a new line of Barbies with more realistic bodies earlier this year. Here is Schumer's response to the pervasive pressure to be thin: "No, I'm not going to apologise for who I am, and I'm going to actually love the skin that I'm in. I'm not going to be striving for some other version of myself."
•She is hysterical. Remember that thing that happens every couple of years, when someone says women cannot be funny? Right. With Schumer as a role model, our girls will have other things to laugh at, besides that ludicrous assertion.
•She is smart and self-made. According to Mattel, Barbie has had more than 150 careers. But she might still want to look to Schumer for lessons on charting her own destiny. After perfecting her singular comedic style at comedy clubs, Schumer inked deals to write her own TV show, and then a hit movie, followed by a best-selling book. Unclear if she drives a pink convertible, but the point is: She could if she wanted to.
•Her self-esteem is infectious. Schumer is said to be rewriting the Barbie movie's original screenplay with her sister, so she will have control over the 2018 film's theme and content. And if children who see it come away with an extra ounce of the confidence that Schumer exudes, people will all be the better for it.