Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Price of Beauty: Will They Get it Right?

I'm trying really hard not to let this blog become a wall of ranting against celebrities who go overseas - but there is just so much material!

Jesssica Simpson's new show "The Price of Beauty" is running along the same lines as my post about MTV's Exiled. While I'm excited that there will be a show for young people about different cultures...I'm not confident that Jessica is going to get it right. Pictured here with her stylist and country girlfriend, I have to ask, what can these three really tell us about the relative standards of beauty found around the world?

VHI's article says there will be shows where Jessica goes to Japan, Thailand, France, Brazil, Uganda, Morocco and India. In the preview I saw on another site (and yet cannot upload here!) there are scenes from Uganda in which, of course, they are talking about how fat is beautiful. We see the shocked look on Jessica's face as her Ugandan hostess tells her about the fat=beauty equation. Is this going to be a real discussion on how food insecurity leads to an obsession with flesh as a sign of health? And how in our own culture of abundance, to be thin is to be disciplined and wealthy enough to afford to eat well and go to the gym?

Is there going to be talk of how we always want to be what we are not?

Or is the show going to be a display of exoticism and bored iconic images?

Oh, Africans are so weird for wanting to be fat! Oh look, Geishas! Wow, Brazilian women can really shake it! Swear to God, the preview shows Geishas and Carnaval Queens - hardly everyday women. Is there going to be talk about how, for as much as Brazilian women seem to embrace a wider variety of body types...they still get more plastic surgery that anyone else in the world?

I haven't seen the show as it doesn't come out until March 15. But I will be watching online because, for all my doubts, I'm not wishing the show to fail. I don't have high expectations of intelligent anthropological discussions between Jessica Simpson and her hairdresser while they pretend to be Indians for a day - but you never know what could happen. It could be groundbreaking television, or it could be a recycled montage of international exotica trash. There will be an update soon.

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