What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series, which is hosted by singer/actress Jessica Simpson, looks at the different ways women around the world think about and pursue outer beauty. The show occasionally features women who have been physically hurt by their attempts to be beautiful according to their cultural standards (including skin bleaching and extreme dieting). The show contains some mild sexual innuendo (including references to “balls” and “scrotum”) and occasional logos for Western products (like Pepsi). While Simpson and her friends are non-judgmental, they aren’t always culturally sensitive about some of things that they see or try. Parents can use this show as a jumping off point to talk to girls and boys about their own ideas about beauty.
What's the story?
JESSICA SIMPSON’S THE PRICE OF BEAUTY is a reality series that explores what makes women in different cultures feel beautiful. Cameras follow singer/actress Jessica Simpson as she travels around the world with friends CaCee Cobb and hairstylist Ken Paves to countries like Thailand, Uganda, and Brazil to take a first-hand look at the way their cultures define feminine beauty. With the help of local pop culture figures, Simpson and pals try some of the local women’s beauty regimes, many of which go back to ancient custom. They also learn about some of the painful -- and sometimes dangerous -- things women do to fulfill their culture’s expectation of what makes them beautiful.
Is it any good?
The series offers some nonjudgmental insight into the ways different cultures define beauty, and the different ways women attempt to meet those cultural expectations. Viewers get to see how women are able to transform themselves by eating specific foods, wearing body paints, and even permanently changing parts of their anatomy. It also highlights some of the dangerous things some women do to themselves to try to meet their culture’s standard of beauty, like using damaging skin bleach or starving themselves.
It’s definitely interesting, but it also sends some mixed messages. While there is some discussion of a woman’s inner beauty, much of the focus is on how local women dress and adorn themselves to look a certain way. Meanwhile, Simpson and her companions sometimes lack cultural sensitivity, especially when they refuse to try and/or spit out local foods, and while they giggle during solemn cultural rituals. Simpson’s determination to wear extremely high-heeled shoes to remote locations makes her seem a bit silly, too. But if you can look past all of this, you can still find some fascinating information about women’s cultural traditions around the world.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about the different ways that cultures think about women, beauty, and body image. What countries would you travel to in order to learn more about this subject? What kinds of local beauty customs would you like to learn more about? What kinds of things would you try (or not)?
What are some of the ways female beauty is defined in the United States? How does the media contribute to the way we think about beauty and body image in this country? How does it impact they way we understand what other cultures define as beautiful? Parents: check out some of CSM's tips on how to talk to your kids about some of these issues.