When critiquing harmful beauty practices becomes an ahistorical media spectacle: A reading of Jessica Simpson's "The Price of Beauty"

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3 Responses

  1. Keri says:

    I have not seen this show yet, but it sounds like it would be more interesting (for sociologists anyway) if it lived up to its title a little more. Considering globalization and also colonialism, it seem that a critique of US beauty practices would also be relevant for this program. And I would just add that the assumption that women must experience pain for beauty is probably a problematic starting point (although one that many women live with).

    Your critique of the lack of critique in Price of Beauty is thought provoking!


  2. Theresa says:

    I think that this show is definitely a step in the right direction, even though it does not make as much progress as one might have hoped upon reading the title. I agree that she should have delved into American’s practices, but I think that the angle she was taking didn’t leave room for mainstream America. For example, she went to a fattening hut in another country because overweight women are considered attractive there. She was probably trying to contrast the standards of beauty in other cultures to our own, which most people are well aware of without having to see a segment on what our own culture values as beautiful. This program probably served as a way to show young girls that there are other standards of beauty out there, and maybe help them realize the lengths that people go to just to appear beautiful in their own culture. I think it is important to keep in mind the audience here, and realize that most young teens would not even watch a show that took a more serious, newsworthy look at the price of beauty. Perhaps Jessica Simpson could continue on with this program and take a harder look at our own practices if this show does well, since there will already be somewhat of a basis to build off of.

  3. Brittany Watts says:

    Although I do not think this show analyzes or deeply addresses beauty issues and standards, I still see the importance and benefit of watching it. It features an issue that isn’t really talked about beyond “What to do to be beautiful”. This show is important because it features different beauty standards in different cultures. Thus concluding that there is no true standard and that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. This message itself is a very important one for girls and women to see. What’s great about the show is Jessica Simpson. She, of all people, has been in the media and criticized for not upholding the beauty standards we’ve given her since her “Dukes of Hazzard” body. It is very brave of her to have this show and actually practice different beauty trends in each culture. For, these trends are not always flattering in the American citizen’s eye. For example, when she went to a Uganda tribe, she had to wear clothing to appear fatter, for fat is beauty in this particular tribe. Also, in another culture she had to wear metal rings around her neck, which is an also unflattering thing in American culture. Although she does act embarrassingly in a few episodes, such as laughing during meditation, she has an innocence in reality TV which has been absent since her last show with Nick Lachey, “The Newlyweds”. I find this show refreshing and important for young girls and women. It is giving us a deeper insight into beauty than any show on TV right now, one that is needed. I think, if shown often enough and to enough people, this show could have a positive societal impact leading us in the direction we should be, where beauty is more open for interpretation, rather than a comparison and mold into the “ideal woman”.

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