Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Price of Beauty.

I happened to catch a repeat showing of the first episode of Jessica Simpson's new reality show, The Price of Beauty on VH1 Sunday night. And I have to say that I really enjoyed it. It was very interesting to see someone that we see so often scrutinized in the media spotlight because of her celebrity status, exploring a topic like this. We live in a society where our popular culture is so focused and obsessed on external beauty and how it is the only way to truly achieve happiness in our daily lives. In my teen years, I was really obsessed and focused on the latest fashion and makeup trends and really found myself wanting to be like what I saw in magazines and on TV. Pop culture was embedding in my brain that it was completely normal to want to be like someone else.

It's very interesting to see how in just the first episode of the show how the women of different cultures are obsessed with beauty just as much and maybe even more so than American women are. Beauty traditions have been practiced for years and years and are standard to their ways of life. Simpson travels to Thailand and goes shopping at the local market to see what types of beauty products women use. There is an obsession in that culture to wear makeup and use cosmetic products that help to lighten skin or to give the appearance of it being lighter. That is the complete opposite of American culture and our obsession with being tan!

They speak to a woman who used to be a singer and was very obsessed with lightening her dark skin and was willing to use any product she could get her hands on. The product discolored her skin in several places and she explained how she lost her singing career and her husband left her because she was no longer considered beautiful to him. Her story brought tears to my eyes and I couldn't help but cry at the thought of wanting so badly to be what someone else tells you is beautiful. It really made me reflect on what we as a society collectively believe to be beautiful.

It really made me reflect on my own obsession with the little things that I don't like about myself. Ultimately, I think that it is almost impossible to change the way women feel about their own body image when there is no way to escape what we see in both everyday life as well as in the media. I have fallen victim time and time again to this myself but I think that as I have gotten older I began to not care as much and let it impact my life anymore. There comes a point in life, where you have your "pretty days" and your "ugly days" and I believe there really is no way to get away from that. But I feel like if you really, really, really try to focus more on being happy with what you have that life really is so much more enjoyable! Easier said than done, I know! Trust me....I know. But realistically, I am trying to think of all the wasted tears I have personally spent on crying over the fact that I put on a few pounds or the fact that my hair got rained on and is now a big frizzy poofball because I forgot to bring an umbrella with me on a potential rainy day.

POINTLESS! I never make resolutions but this year I have really shifted the focus more on not necessarily making myself a better person by focusing on my appearance but making myself a HEALTHY person. I started working out again not just purely for making my physical appearance better but for my general health and fitness. I want to be more active so that when I go hiking or camping I am not completely exhausted from 30 minutes of physical activity like I was last summer! I decided to make a lifestyle change instead of a superficial body image change and it has made all the difference.

I think you should check out Simpson's new show if you haven't. It airs Monday nights @ 9 p.m. central/10 p.m.eastern and replays again throughout the week on VH1.