Monday, August 16, 2010

The Price Of Beauty: Tokyo, Japan

When I first read about Jessica Simpson’s tvshow ‘The Price of Beauty’, I decided I wanted to see the episode about Tokyo, Japan. She visited Angelic Pretty! You bet I wanted to see that! But before I looked it up, I saw a commercial on MTV in my country, saying this tvshow would be aired here too. I chose to wait and watch it on my own tv with subtitles in my own language, so I wouldn’t miss a thing.
I had heard things about the episode that startled me, but I didn’t want to make up a judgement before I had seen anything. I must admit that I had seen the episode in Paris, France already, so I was a bit more prepaired for what would possibly come.

So yesterdayevening I sat down on the couch with a cup of minttea, ready for Tokyo!

In case you don’t know the concept of the show, it is as follows: Jessica Simpson, an American singer and actress, travels to different countries with her friends CaCee and Ken to find out about the different ideals of beauty. She talks to women about their beauty and looks for typical fashionstyles.

The episode started with the introduction of the ´beauty ambassador´, in this case miss Riyo Mori, a model and Miss Universe 2007. She told them some things about beauty in Japan and the pressure of the media.
After that, the three of them went to a Japanese spa, where they experienced some of the Japanse beauty treatments, like walking on rocks and being buried in sand for two hours.
Up until here, it wasn´t all that bad. But then, the first thing that upset me came.

The three went to a Geishaschool to experience being a real Geisha. Meanwhile, CaCee tells that ´Memoirs of a Geisha´ is one of her favourite movies. And yet they manage to ask questions that are answered in that very movie. Now, this isn´t a disaster or anything, but I thought it was quite stupid.
After their lessons, miss Simpson and CaCee were allowed to do a tea ceremony in complete Geisha-attires for two Japanese businessmen. Even though both girls claimed to have a lot of respect for the culture and thought the Geisha is the ultimate beauty-icon of Japan, all they did was giggling and acting like two stupid stereotype American girls. Both men were obviously shocked by their lack of respect, while miss Simpson found herself very funny. Both men were asked if they ever wanted to be served by these two Geishas again, and they both said no. Well, I cannot blame them.

After that, Angelic Pretty! Finally the part I had been waiting for (which came after the break of course).
The three arrived at an entirely pink store (what else did I expect? Nothing of course! :) ) where they met with the staff. When they heard this fashionstyle is called ‘Lolita’, comments like ‘saucy’ and ‘bad girl’ were inevitable. Luckily, nothing was said about the ‘other side of Lolita’ in the rest of the episode, which made me sigh in relieve. Though the way they referred to the style was mainly ‘Harajuku Girls’ (on the site even spelled as ‘Hirajuku’). I was very happy though, that they paid attention to the rebellious side of Lolita, which is often forgotten.
After that, the girls tried on some black and white outfits, but I have no idea which brand it was.
After that, a couple of minutes were spent on plastic surgery that is popular in Japan: making eyes bigger.

Then the most important part of the show (to me) came: the fashionshow to celebrate all the different looks they had seen in Japan. Maki and Asuka of Angelic Pretty were there to dress up the Lolitagirls too! Miss Simpson, CaCee and Ken dressed up in some of the different styles and walked between the models. CaCee wore some kind of purple kimono and Ken wore something Visual Kei-like, with very highheeled boots. But then miss Simpson came, dressed in a red-with-white-polka-dot Angelic Pretty dress. Ken had done her hair and make up, which was clearly visible, since she had a huge bun and typical Western catalogue make up that you see on models in the media that look like they’re dying. Oh excuse, that look ‘hot’. But that wasn’t what made my stomach turn.
Miss Simpson claims to have experienced what it’s like to struggle with beauty perceptions. She says: ‘What might be strange to some, is ideal to others.’ Because of that, I thought she would respect other people’s ideals.
But while miss Simpson stepped onto the runway, I already realised my hopes had been naive. She paraded like a runwaymodel, whereafter she pretended to be ashamed for a moment. Which she clearly wasn’t, for she lifted up her skirt to show everyone her bloomers and petticoat, in other words: her underwear. I thought it was horrible: Lolita is about beauty and modesty, and she simply threw that aside. She kept on pretending like she was doing some kind of cancan until the episode was finished. But oh, she felt so liberated and free!

I expected more of this episode. Of course I was very happy to see Lolita in the media in a more positive way and I can’t deny that I let out squeals of joy whenever I saw a Lolitadress/-bow/-pair of shoes. But yes, I did expect more. But well, what was there to expect anyway from a person that lets out comments like ‘You could tell a person’s personality by what they wore’?


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  2. I don't watch much television, but I was surprised to see lolita showcased in this series as well! I watched it just now, from reading this blog. And I agree, she didn't understand the modesty aspect of lolita, and her comment about being able to tell a person's personality from what they wore was awful. But there were still such cute dresses!! ^^