Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski on How to Empower Women
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New Yorker Festival | The 2021 New Yorker Festival | Episode 2
Amy Schumer and Emily Ratajkowski on How to Empower Women
The two talk with Michael Schulman about the complicated legacy of the music video for Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.”
Released on 10/11/2021
[upbeat music]
I know the two of you are friends.
How, how do you know each other?
Mostly from the runway.
I feel like our relationship started over DM. Classic.
I think so too. Like I, the Blurred Lines video for me,
it was like so empowering and exciting.
And I feel like I had never seen someone
just like embracing, like their funniness
and silliness and sexuality.
And I felt really empowered by it.
I Feel Pretty came up and, you know,
she said that she would do it.
And then on set, we hung out,
we got to talk and we had a good vibe.
Like we just connected and it felt like a, you know,
fast friendship.
Yeah, I Feel Pretty for, you know, for anyone watching
who hasn't seen it, Amy, you play a woman
who's very insecure about her body.
And then Emily's characters is crying
because she's been dumped.
And Amy, you can't believe that anyone
who looks like her would ever have any problems.
Curious if that kind of, that kind of dynamic resonated
with either of you just from life.
Especially with social media, you just think, oh,
if I were that beautiful, I would just have no problems
and life would be more fun and better,
and you know, everybody has their own struggles.
And I think being the most beautiful girl in the room must,
you know, also you have to pay a price for that.
Women, no matter how they look are faced with
the feeling that they're never enough,
they're never enough X, Y or Z.
You're either too fat or you're too skinny or whatever.
And I think that we also are taught or learn from our
culture at a very young age that, you know,
you do want to compete with other women.
So the grass is always greener on the other side, no matter,
no matter the person.
This brings us to Emily's book.
Cause I feel like so much of it is about sort of dwelling in
the contradictions of being a public figure of,
of figuring out, as you said, Emily, how to proceed.
I, you know, have been sort of the poster child
for choice feminism, for believing that, you know,
you can call it feminism, if it's your choice.
If you want to get naked or you want to dress a certain way,
it's, that's your, you know,
that can be even empowering.
With Blurred Lines, which we were talking about earlier,
I was a great testament to that. A perfect example,
you know, I had more money than I ever had before,
I became famous from commodifying my image and my body.
I really was interested in the book and exploring was the
ways that I've been complicit and interested and you know,
not only commodifying my image,
but exploiting the system that we, that we live in.
And that I work in.
How funny that my book has my body on it,
and yours doesn't.
One of those experiences that has made a lot of news just
this week is talking about the Blurred Lines shoot and what
you describe as an incident with Robin Thicke on the set,
where he came back at the end a bit drunk,
and you felt him groping your breasts and talked a lot about
how you did feel like it was an empowering video and how
positive experience for you.
And I'm curious when you were doing that,
where did that incident sit in your mind?
Yeah, I mean, first of all,
it's been really frustrating because this was leaked by a
new source that was not supposed to leak this information.
And I'm a little disappointed simply because, you know,
it's not that I spoke out about this situation because I
wanted some kind of political, you know,
feeling or consequences for this person.
It's just a part of an essay which really sort of
demonstrates the awakening that I had if I had stopped that
shoot, I think that my big break
might not have happened at all.
And I'm not sure that I would have even been able to publish
the book that I'm publishing now.
So, you know, it's really a double-edged sword
and it's nuanced and I have a complicated
relationship to it, but that's sort of the purpose
of these essays and the book.
It's interesting.
People's first instinct when they hear about a woman
like talking about a sexual assault or her pain or whatever
is to think that she's lying.
Like that's really people's first instinct.
That's even my first instinct sometimes.
Women's pain is real. These sexual assaults are,
are real and our culture has,
has brainwashed even women into not wanting to hear women
talk about it.
But I think it makes me feel way less alone.
You know, when women share these stories.
Talk about activism, I think that's the first way
that we can start to really make impactful change
in culture is by sharing our stories and starting
to try to understand what's at the root of them.
You know, I had a joke in my last special
about how this younger generation, the women were like,
have you guys been getting sexually harassed like this,
your whole lives? And we're like, yeah.
And they were like, well,
do you want to do something about that?
And we're like, oh yeah.
Like I think we've just accepted how things are for so long.
It's an exciting time to have people being held accountable.
Women do succeed because of the way they look
at times they can. And I think that, you know,
there's a whole generation of women who are exploring that
with OnlyFans and trying to kind of take back the power.
I think we're both, like,
I think we both look at our platform as not like a
responsibility, but like an opportunity to have people feel,
feel empowered and feel better.
And so the idea is to get in power
and then sort of,
I don't want to say by any means necessary, but I mean,
my first specials, I was in like a miniskirt,
but hopefully a guy will stay on the channel for a second
because he sees like a skirt and then
listen to what I'm saying.
And it's always been about sneaking in, you know,
shaved carrots in, into the brownie mix.
However I'm going to get your attention, great.
If you're going to listen.
And over time and aging,
I don't have to hide my actual, like, identity and opinions
anymore, because I broke in. I broke through the door.
You can only succeed within the confines of the Cis-hetero
patriarchal construct that we live in,
but I would never fault a woman for capitalizing off of,
you know, the reality.
I want to say, I want to take this opportunity to say,
I love the new Yorker.
And I'm not afraid to say that.
I'm sorry, it's controversial.
I'm glad you got the giant bag of cash
we delivered earlier today.
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