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‘The Price of Beauty’ from VSU’s point of view

Everyone sees beauty in a different way. Every culture has different standards for women and men to follow.
Singer Jessica Simpson goes around to different countries to find exactly what they consider “beautiful” and how far people, particularly women, are willing to go to obtain the ideal in VH1’s new show “The Price of Beauty.”
So far, Simpson has visited Bangkok, Thailand and Paris, France and discovered stories and things that were simply shocking and heartbreaking to hear and see.
In the first episode in Bangkok, Simpson and her friends Ken Paves and CaCee Cobb learned that in Thailand, beauty is pale skin, unlike in the United States, with its obsession with being tan. They talked to singer Panya, who used a bleach cream recommended by a friend to make herself “beautiful.” What Panya got instead was disfigured skin and public humiliation, and her husband left her. Panya is devastated by the effects the cream brought to her life, but Simpson encouraged her to keep singing and assured her that she is truly beautiful.
In the next episode, they were thrown into the modeling world of high-fashion Paris. While American models have a pres sure to be super skinny and live up to a certain image, the pressures in Paris are slightly worse. The average weight of these tall women is only 115 lbs, and they have to maintain and are checked daily on the weight set in their contracts. Simpson and company met former model Isabelle Caro, who stopped eating and lost 86 pounds to live up to the ideal Paris model. Isabelle was not an unusual sight to modeling agencies with her sunken-in face and bone-thin body. This was tragic to see, but Caro uses her condition to help warn young girls of the dangers they face in the modeling world.
The show airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on VH1.
While Jessica Simpson is traveling the world, I talked to various people at VSU to find their thoughts on this issue.
“There is something beautiful in every person. It may be a gesture, a laugh, an attitude, a habit of thought, physical appearance, or an instinctive social grace,” Dr. Byron Brown, English professor, said. “To me, ‘beauty’ refers to the best part of our individuality, the quirky, memorable and endearing ways [with which] people look, carry themselves, and react to life.”
“We know that different cultures regard certain things, i.e., length of hair, body shape, lip shapes, body parts, etc., as more important in determining their ideals of beauty,” Dr. Lai Orenduff, Art History professor, said. “The idea of beauty is also determined by its chronological date. What your grandfather or grandmother thought was beautiful is not necessarily what our popular culture finds attractive. There is also a difference in mere physical appearance and the ‘total’ beauty of a person. Because we care about individuality, we recognize that the physical attributes are only one part of a composite impact. Our society also cares about the ‘brains’ or the character of a person, either male or female. “
Senior English major Janna Gill and freshman,sociology major Charles Rodgers both agree that it is a person’s personality that makes them attractive.
“[Their character] is what sets them apart,” said Gill. “Men manning up and being men, and women realizing there’s more than just appearance. [The media] filters unrealistic expectations into our society.”
Rodgers said, “Attractiveness is more personality than looks, more of your character.” What the media shows is “not really what’s out there.”
American society expects women to be skinny and tan, causing many girls to develop eating disorders, skin disease, or low self-esteem. Men are supposed to be muscular and have a strong appearance, reducing the self-esteem of those who do not match this image and causing some to go so far as to use steroids or overly exert themselves working out. These are the ideals but are hard to obtain and/or maintain for majority of the population.
French runway and commercial model Rosemary Bartilla tells Simpson and her friends in “The Price of Beauty,” “The real philosophy in France for the everyday girl is la joie da vivre. It’s the joy of living, the joy of life. You have to be confident; you have to be happy with who you are. That’s what makes you so beautiful.”

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