Thursday, April 15, 2010

Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty: Cover It Up

Tonight on Jessica Simpson's The Price of Beauty we return to Spa Tours - The Moroccan Edition.

Jessica after her bikini wax.

But before we start I want to give a shout out to ThatsWhatSheSaid and Gnomecorp for weighing in on last week's question: Are women changing themselves to please someone else? And is this a bad thing? ThatsWhatSheSaid talked about maturing into your own sense of beauty and then dressing and grooming for yourself, which instills confidence, which is attractive. This is so true! It seems like the older I get the more comfortable I am in my own skin and my goal is to emphasize the positive and forget about the rest. And the point is so that I feel happy and confident - not to please anyone else.

Gnomecorp brought up the fact that it's unfair to point out that only women are expected to change - again, so true! Most women expect A LOT of change from the men they are with. Maybe not appearance-wise, but behaviorally for sure. We want to see a radical change from the single-guy-about-town to the husband/father figure we'd consider marrying. We all expect others to make adjustments, physical or otherwise, and frankly no one is perfect as-is.

HOLLA you guys! Thanks so much for your thoughts! Of course, this goes a lot deeper than Jessica's paid vacation is ever going to go, but it's nice to chat about these things after watching her get massaged over and over. Speaking of which, let's head to Marrakesh.

The first thing to notice on the busy streets is that many of the women are walking around covered from head to toe and wearing veils. Then CaCee spots a camel and they all decide they'd like to ride one. That should help them discover the price of beauty in Morocco. But first it's time to meet the Beauty Ambassador. Her name is Khansa Batma and she is a famous Moroccan singer. She's wearing a caftan when they meet her and they tell her she's beautiful. Of course.

"And after this I meet with my modeling agent."

They sit down to some mojitos and ask Khansa what makes a Moroccan woman feel beautiful and powerful. Khansa explains that with their religion - Islam - it's not about how a woman dresses, but how she acts.

"I don't follow."

Yeah, with the traditional Muslim women it's definitely not about how they dress because they only wear caftans and all you can see are their eyes. Khansa talks about seducing someone with just your eyes. Well, if that's your only option... Khansa also adds that in Morocco the women are not required to be covered up; each woman chooses for herself.

Jessica and CaCee choose to purchase some caftans and try them out today. They head for a shop where they are outfitted with everything, including veils.

The American Bandits

I have to say that those caftans look mighty comfy. They are like snuggies, but prettier. You'd never have to worry about your pants being too tight or your skirt hugging in the wrong places. And you wouldn't be uncomfortable in your clothes after a gluttonous meal!

Time to hit the open market in the new duds! Jessica says this is to find out Moroccan beauty secrets, but she ends up putting a monkey on her head and Ken holds a snake... you know, beauty secrets. Jess and CaCee tell us they really liked wearing the veils because, as CaCee explains, the men looked into her eyes instead of at her butt. Oh honey, they checked out your butt after you passed by, trust me. They come to a food vendor and realize that there are sheep brains on the counter for them to eat.

If you squint they kind of look like rice krispie treats.

This is one of those things I could never eat just because of the IDEA of it. Like tongue or liver. If you grow up eating it you don't care, but trying to start eating brains as an adult is just too much for me. How does this relate to beauty, you might ask? Well, like the crispy bugs in Thailand, sheep brain have iron and protein, which helps you have great hair, skin and nails! Had to get that in there.

Jessica, as culturally sensitive as ever, wretches and writhes her way through a bite of sheep brain.


Good grief, just skip it! Is it really worth making such a scene in public to choke down one bite? What will that prove? She says the brain had the texture of an eyeball. Soooooooo she's eaten an eyeball?

The next day the gang is off to talk to some very traditional Muslim women. On their walk over, they discuss the varying degrees of coverage they've observed in the Moroccan women. Some are totally covered and some are in tank tops and shorts. Okay, but think about it girls. You are now on your way to meet with TRADITIONAL Muslim women. In THEIR country. Are short shorts really the best choice?

"My Anthropologie top is a nod to the culture, so good enough."

A lady in a caftan named Mariam greets them because she speaks English and will be the interpreter. She introduces everyone to her friend Layla, Layla's mother and Layla's cousin. The mother and cousin are very covered, but Layla is in a short sleeved top and jeans. The women shake hands with Jess and CaCee but refuse to touch Ken because the only men they touch are their husbands. This seems very extreme, but I can understand where it comes from - saving themselves in every way for only their husbands. The idea is actually kinda sweet. They ask Layla how men respond to her choice to be more liberal and she says very well, but her mother wishes she would cover up. Then Layla looks Jessica up and down and says something to Mariam. Jess and Ken deduce that Layla really likes Jessica's shoes - they're her own line you know! And Jess is getting ready to do a sales pitch when Mariam tells her that even though Layla dresses more modern, she thinks Jessica is very inappropriate in her booty shorts. And that's not the weird part. The weird part is that Jessica is OFFENDED that Layla would think this... in her country... in her culture... in her house.

Would YOU be surprised?

Jessica's response is that she likes her legs, just like Layla likes her cleavage. Ooohh shut the front door. Layla's hardly showing much cleavage, and why so defensive? If some woman came into Jessica's house topless, Jessica might consider that inappropriate. That is how legs seem to people who were raised to cover everything. Layla asks if Jessica would cover up more if the love of her life asked her to and Jessica says she wouldn't marry a man who wasn't comfortable with her showing what God gave her. Thank you, Jessica. That was certainly a whole-hearted attempt to understand a foreign culture. Well done.

This is so silly. In Italy there are many Cathedrals that ask visitors to have covered shoulders and knees out of respect for their traditions and I didn't see anyone throwing a fit about their right to show what God gave them. When you are visiting another culture, doesn't it just make sense to be respectful? It's not a personal affront.

After that Jessica is so stressed out by being "attacked" for showing her legs that she needs to find a day spa to relax in find the price of beauty in. The gang comes into a completely tiled room - like a huge shower - and they all lie down on slabs to get body scrubs, which they complain hurt. Then they get mud facials. Wow body scrubs and mud masks? This is certainly new and fascinating.

And later Khansa meets back up to teach the girls how to do a tea tray dance, which is where they balance a tray on their heads holding a teapot and a bunch of lit candles, then dance. You can guess how this goes.

Swimmingly and, of course, respectfully.

Oh, and in case you're wondering why this is relevant, a little blurb pops up to tell us that the seductive art of tea tray dancing improves posture and balance. You know, the price of beauty. After all three of them have successfully destroyed their trays and screamed really loud, it's time to ride camels over to a Moroccan party. The camel riding looks awkward, but not interesting.

It looks like Central Casting sent over some camel guys.

When we get to the party, there are very scantily clad belly dancers. It is not explained how those costumes are received by the conservative Muslims. THAT might actually have been something interesting to include, so they passed it over. Jess and CaCee are in caftans and Mariam is at the party, so she brings them over to show Layla that they're not dressed like total skanks today.

Bitter nemesis.

Layla seems so friendly. She runs over to them and hugs and kisses them... that bitch! Jessica is all defensive and ready for another run-in, but Layla just says she looks beautiful and asks what she thinks of Morocco. Jessica says she loves it and could stay for a month. A whole month? Don't get crazy, Jess.

Next week we go to Japan to learn about geishas and Harajuku fashion. I learned about all that from Hollywood and Gwen Stefani. And guess what else. They go to a spa.

So what did you think of this episode? Anything?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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