In the trailer (embedded after the jump) for Jessica Simpson's new show, Jess says, "Being in Uganda, I definitely saw and experienced a concept of beauty that I had never heard of." Then the Ugandan lady says, "Fat is beautiful."
One the one hand, just because Jessica Simpson has never heard of something doesn't mean it's revelatory. And as PopWrap's Jarret Wieselman points out, "Anyone who has watched National Geographic, The Learning Channel or a network that features endless streams of documentaries about cultural differences may not find much new here." But, he adds, "That's not exactly the demo this show is after."
He points out that many of the young women interested in watching the show (which premieres Monday, March 15 on VH1) might not typically be exposed to these kinds of programs. That seems true. And Jessica's message — that there's a big world out there, and a lot of it doesn't consider the people on The Hills to be the pinnacle of beauty — is a positive one for girls, and women.
It is a little bit troubling that Jessica — white, blonde, pretty — travels to distant lands and comments on how "different" things are. Exoticism is not a new or constructive concept. But on the flip side, because she is white, blonde and traditionally pretty, she is the perfect example of Westernized beauty, so seeing her come face to face with challenging cultural standards could be really great TV. In the promo, she rehearses to walk on a fashion runway in Paris, and her face — a visage of anxiety, fear, determination and self-doubt — is one many women can relate to.