March 19, 2010

On Jessica and the opportunity lost

Filed under: Body Image,Media — Tags: , , , , — Melanie @ 4:11 pm

Frankly, I can’t say I’m surprised even though I was hopeful (see my post from March 5).

Here’s the word on Jessica Simpson’s Price of Beauty via Ms Online:

I had felt a bit optimistic about this show’s potential, although the network’s track history in its reality shows–and in its treatment of women, particularly women of color–made this wishful thinking. In fact, Jessica and pals were immature at best and offensive at worst. They laughed through a Buddhist monk’s illustration of meditative practices in Thailand. They gagged as their beauty ambassador showed them a few Thai delicacies,  and Jessica remarked that she was disappointed she didn’t get a “happy ending” at the end of her Thai massage.

Like myself and many others, Young was hopeful despite the network hosting said Simpson series. Based on the summary above, things are worse than expected and positively embarrassing. As Jezebel describes it the episode showcased the “ugly American,” the ethnocentric, superficial and immature American. Ugly, indeed (and entirely disappointing given the amount of viewers this show reaches and *could* inform thoughtfully and intelligently).

The best part of Courtney Young’s review and analysis, though,  is her suggestion for episodes that examine our own bizarre, if not perverse, obsession with manufactured and surgically enhanced definitions of beauty:

Why waste such an opportunity to engage folks in thoughtful programming about the impossible beauty standards that torture women worldwide?

Although the premise of the series involves going around the world, why not just start in the U.S.?  Consider these possibilities to explore in U.S. episodes:

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