Ross’ stint at a summer camp in Minnesota (2003) gave her a chance to make comparative observations about US and Italian teen culture. She says that that Cristina Aguilera’s video for her new song Beautiful provokes quite different responses. The gist of the song (quoting the chorus) is: “You are beautiful, no matter what they say.” The video shows several people who might not be perceived by society – or might not perceive themselves – as beautiful: the “98 pound weakling” boy, the anorexic girl who’s convinced she’s fat, the gay men kissing, the man dressing in drag. The video is ultimately affirming: each of the characters rejects what society may think, and sees him- or herself as beautiful.

The reaction of Ross’ friends in Italy was “Eww, gross!” especially about the men kissing. But when she was in camp in Minnesota this summer, the American kids discussing the video there found it – beautiful. Beautiful

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