Jenny Frost Snog Marry Avoid

Critical Perspectives on “Snog, Marry, Avoid”

“Critical Perspectives on “Snog, Marry, Avoid”” is a forthcoming title from The Empty Page Radical Publishing House.  We have commissioned a selection of the world’s foremost academics to present their interesting, engaging and occasionally challenging views on BBC3’s hit makeover show. Below we give you an exclusive sneak preview of these world changing essays. We are also looking for more interpretations, if you have one please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Patriarchy Or Death: A Feminist Analysis of “Snog, Marry, Avoid” by Michaela Strachan

“Snog, Marry, Avoid” is a wolf in sheeps clothing: dressing itself in the clothes of feminist thought – resisting false constructions of feminity imposed by the beauty industry – it ruthlessly reasserts the patriarchy. Women are callously objectified from the title of the show on, which is a bastardisation of the more common but more truthful “Fuck, Kill, Marry”: a sickening phrase which spells out the shows real intentions. Women are reduced to lumps of meat paraded before men, men who sit in judgement, who reduce the women’s role to that of fornication, procreation or sad, lonely death. For what is POD but an obvious metaphor for the all seeing, anonymous yet causally brutal male gaze?  As much as the program attempts to dress itself up as female empowerment the judgements of men are both final and existential, POD may have the voice of a woman but the acronym must in the final analysis surely be Patriarchy Or Death.

The Make Down: A Marxist Analysis of “Snog, Marry, Avoid” by Dave Rowntree

The sterile insides of POD are a perfect replication of neo-liberal hegemony, the bland out whites of a shopping mall, a private hospital or perhaps something even more sinister. In this chamber of capital specimens of the proletariat and lumpenproletariat are subjected to the scrutiny of bourgeois pseudo-morality.  The women – and occasional homosexual – subjected to PODs gaze invariably burn with a working class individuality that offends the delicate taste of the middle classes and threatens the producer class: the selves the workers create are more vibrant than anything the bourgeoisie can imagine or create. POD’s make-unders are truly make downs. The bright, orange skinned youth are skinned of war paint and dressed in the dowdy rags their “betters” believe they belong in. Under the eyes of authority people are alienated not just from their labour but also from their own bodies.

The Absent Face: A Post-Modern Analysis of “Snog, Marry, Avoid” by Yoann Gourcuff

Is there a real you? This is the question “Snog, Marry, Avoid” asks and answers in the negative. We have come to distrust the grand narratives of God, progress and the self and there are few better examples of this crisis of faith than the make under. The make under does not get us closer to a “real” “authentic” individual but is instead a reinvention. Make-up is reapplied to look like it has not been applied at all – another layer fakery but this time to give the impression of an absence.  The make up, the hair, the clothes: all the layers crash together in a noisy bricolage of meaning around an absent self. The centre becomes a simulacrum, a hypereal representation of symbols and signs that signify nothing and everything. The message of the make under is clear: the symbols tell the whole story, the individual is subliminated behind the signs. God is dead and so is the “real you”: POD knows there is no real you, there are only as many yous as can be imagined.

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2 thoughts on “Critical Perspectives on “Snog, Marry, Avoid”

  1. Pingback: Guest Post: ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’ from the perspective of a historian of science‏ « The Empty Page

  2. Whilst I agree that the show is reasserting the patriarchal status quo and treating the girls like like objects and as such should be condemned, I find claims that the girls are in some way rebelling against the patriarchy both ridiculous and offensive. In fact, these girls are hyper-sexualising themselves in an attempt to both validate themselves by conforming to consumerist images of the pop-star, soft-porn feminine object of desire (think Lady GaGa), and at the same time protect themselves through their costumes from being approached by any but the most aggressive men, who they can then safely reject.They’re not being defiant, they’re actually reacting (subconsciously) to being bombarded at an age at which their sexuality is beginning to emerge, to our culture’s pornographic representations of the modern female. This reductionist representation of feminine sexuality has caused fear and confusion about authentic sexual expression and intimacy- hence the girls’ own desires for make-overs, whilst also feeling uncomfortable about them. Its complicated, but its not conscious, and its certainly not political action. The porn-queen image these girls (and gays) portray is just sad and scary, actually, and certainly not something to be defended, no matter how hip and smart you think you sound by doing so. Instinctively, most people feel afraid, sad and repelled by these girls, and rightly so. But they are self-appointed slaves of the patriarchy, not rebels within it.

    “Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here.” ~Marianne Williamson

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