September 24, 2010

George Clooney Is a Bachelor, Kim Kardashian Is a Spinster

Originally posted at Ms. Magazine.

It’s official. As Kim Kardashian approaches her 30th birthday in October, she is joining the ranks of women such as Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Simpson: modern-day spinsters. There’s no comparable expression for men, such as 49-year-old unmarried George Clooney, who has traipsed around the globe parading a rotating bevvy of babes. Oh wait, he’s a bachelor.


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:

March 5, 2010

Jessica Simpson's fall from grace and The Price of Beauty

I was flipping through my weekly research in the form of People Magazine when I came across an article on Jessica Simpson and her latest project, exploring the “Price of Beauty,” a new VH1 reality show.

I used to hold up Jessica Simpson as the poster girl for good press because she “followed the rules.”  This was years ago, obviously. This was when she was “thin,” proclaimed her virginity until her marriage to Nick Lachey and played the stupid but sweet nice girl. While Christina Aguilera was getting all sorts of bad press during her Dirrty chaps phase and other wild, hot young things of the time were getting equally negative and judgemental coverage, Jessica was flying above the radar. To me, she represented the new young woman of the Bush Jr years, a sort of virginal throwback to the 1950s in the form of a nonthreatening and loyal (to her daddy and her husband) good girl. It was about this time, approximately 5 years ago, that I had begun to notice ever increasing mediated messages that focused on staying home, baking brownies and seeking marriage as the ultimate forms of female fulfillment. Yes, that’s always been a theme for women but I had begun to notice a ratcheting up of these values throughout the media culture and Jessica Simpson was the epitome of this new young female role model being offered to young women and men.