The Vagenda

Snog, Marry, Avoid: How To Stop Being A Slut and Embrace Your Kate Middleton-esque Natural Beauty

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Quick question – is nominating new year’s resolutions for other people a thing? If it is, then I would like to suggest one for BBC Three, regarding their programme Snog, Marry, Avoid, which seems to be on TV if not in one, big continuous stream, then A LOT. I’m mostly pissed at them for spoiling my festive viewing last month (which is a sacred, SACRED thing) with their Christmas Special. Maybe alarm bells should have rung at the fact that BBC Three had taken my two fave options out of the epic conundrum game Shag, Marry, Kill. But Hell, Snog, Marry, Avoid’s Christmas Special DID have the words ‘Christmas Special’ in it. And it was early December. 


For those of you who are generally out doing social things of an evening instead of watching random-shit-that-comes-on-after-10pm-on-a-schoolnight (but WHY?), Snog, Marry, Avoid is ‘the world’s first makeunder show’ which in which an alien/robot encourages people to ditch the ‘fakery’ and show the world their REAL selves. It’s been going for a while now, though the more recent episodes seem to have aired without the invaluable input of former presenter and ex-Atomic Kitten member Jenny Frost. Now you just get shamed by a pretend machine called POD. More’s the pity. Well, POD plus innumerable members of the general public. 

This particular Christmas-themed episode’s main beef was the abundance of ‘Sexy Santa’ outfits in sub-zero temperatures, something which I too often have a problem with, so I should have enjoyed it. But then the term ‘natural beauty’ cropped up, as it is often wont to do. And I was a bit sick in my mouth.

Swallowing down the vom and blaming it on the mulled wine, I tried to persevere with a programme in which a disembodied voice called a twenty five year old woman ‘tanorexic’ and attacked her for wearing hardly any clothes. Which is basically what every episode is like.

I mean, Jesus, pink-obsessed monster Verity (for that was her name): can’t you have a little compassion for ALL OTHER WOMEN but most of all YOURSELF and dress how other people tell you to, please, rather than trying to dance to the beat of your own fugly drum? Couldn’t you just stop offending our eyes and acquiesce to dress a little bit more like the Duchess of Cambridge, for she is the model for all the programme’s ‘makeunders’? 

Who knew ‘natural beauty’ meant a Boden wrap dress? 

In every episode, members of the public (if the victim is female, which is likely, read: men off the street ) are invited to give their opinions on the latest POD-victims. This is because the best way of getting someone like Verity to embrace her ‘natural beauty’ and not feel the need to ‘hide’ behind fake tan is obviously to reinforce the idea that her opinion of herself and choices about how she dresses should be based on what random guys think. I mean, , that’s not something women hear nearly enough in modern society, so I totally get it. Next time a builder ‘compliments’ me across a busy street, maybe I should stop and check in with him about which EXACT aspect of my outiftslashbodyslashheadslashface has caught his admiring attention so I can work on turning myself into a ‘natural beauty’ all the more accurately, instead of just feeling furious and walking faster. Maybe they really are just trying to help, like POD. 

Turns out, POD’s patented way of changing someone’s self-image is to basically repeatedly yell, ‘YOU LOOK STUPID. NOBODY LIKES YOU’ until its victims crumble and tear their extensions out, thus emerging in all their bland, girl-next-door, middle-classified John Lewis-clad glory like a phoenix from the ashes that’s been dunked in a water butt and told it looks fat in those trousers. 

But you know someone is in REAL trouble with POD if 0% of the randomers questioned want to ‘marry them’. I really thought that whole thing of basing choices on whether the outcome would affect your marriageability wasn’t a thing anymore, but BBC3 says otherwise. It is, after all, scientific proof that fake-tan makes you fail at womanhood. And guess what turns the guys off most of all: sluttiness. I know, I know. I, too, was so shocked that whole chunks of mince pie cascaded from my open mouth onto the coffee table.

In the land of Snog, Marry, Avoid, not wearing enough clothes means people can tell how many people you’ve had sex with, thus rendering you non-wife material, a slag barely worthy of a snog. Here’s a little refresher on the science behind that old chestnut, if you need one: boys want nice girls. And nice girls are the ones who are NOT sexually emancipated. IF you have sex with too many people (numbers will vary on what constitutes ‘too many’, according to which wise oracle of streetside philosophy you speak to) then you are gross. Unless you’re a man, because then you’re the one doing the sex. OK? Good. 

What really pisses me off about this programme is the fakery of it. Yeah. I said it. This isn’t, as it posits to be, a public service programme, helping women to love themselves the way their mamas and papas made them – no. This is a programme that cynically forces all the usual shit down our throats and encourages us to judge each other on appearances EVEN MORE THAN WE ALREADY DO. It is a backward, slut-shaming wolf in a self-help book’s clothing.

There’ll be a new series this year, appaz, so yay. 

- SW

6 thoughts on “Snog, Marry, Avoid: How To Stop Being A Slut and Embrace Your Kate Middleton-esque Natural Beauty

  1. I watched this on YouTube and the comment section is awful. According to them, if she looks ‘like a slut’ then the ‘make-under’ is something she needed and should keep. But if she’s goth/punk/alternative then she’s just expressing herself and we should leave her alone. The ‘make-unders’ are pretty much identical and they retain nothing of their personalities, it’s just terrible. I will say though that a lot of the women look amazing without all the makeup, but if they like their look as it is then it’s no one’s business and people should stfu.

  2. ‘POD’ the Personal Overhaul Device is like my aunt who used to tell me my curly hair looked ‘dirty’, and bought me straighteners. As long as the appearance isn’t offensive, and doesn’t result in hypothermia, live and let live. And please, please, please stop putting people in beige patent heels POD, they’re horrid.

  3. Yes, to this article. YES. AND, putting on make-up to make yourself look different from how you normally look, but it had better look natural is, if judging by the same parameters as the show sets out, also fake. Spend hours putting make up on girls, just make sure you don’t look like you have. Excellent.

  4. How are you supposed to tell whether or not you’d marry a random stranger? Shouldn’t some level of compatibility be determined first? After all, you’re not just going to be staring at them all day. You’d have to talk and do things together and make decisions and stuff.

    Also, from what I’ve seen of this show, it’s not a case of making people look like their ”natural selves”; the look they’re going for is ”artificial, but in a less obvious way.” Like Sebbifi said, using makeup and product for a ”natural” look is just as fake as using it as obvious decoration. Either are fine if they work for you, but don’t try to dictate just *how* people are allowed to modify their appearance.

    And that’s not even going into the issues the show had with transphobia a couple of years ago. http://madamjmo.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/snog-marry-avoid.html

  5. One of my favourite sexist bullshit TV moments of all time was when the non-atomic-kitten new presenter, next to the ‘new portable pod’ (ie tutting shamebox) in a town centre somewhere in Essex explained to camera that they were there on a brave mission to ‘strip the fakery’ from the ‘infamous’ (read: slagtastic) women of Essex, all the while standing in front of an Anne Summers shop with slogans like ‘let’s get naughty’ and ‘unleash your wild side’ in huge lettering in the windows. I had to check it was really the new series and not a sketch show.

  6. It always amused me that Jenny Frost seemed to be wearing an equal amount of tan and slap but somehow in the “right” way. All power to women who want to dress like cats and wear six inch eyelash extensions if that’s what they feel like. The computer’s just jealous.

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