A few months ago I posted on my other blog about Snog, Marry, Avoid and how problematic it is. This is what I said then:
It’s a generally awful programme that I love watching despite the guilt that accompanies it but honestly, on some levels Snog, Marry Avoid is a perfect example of why feminism is still relevant and very much needed.
I just watched a girl who loves the way she dresses, her style, the amount of time it takes her to put on make-up etc but her boyfriend doesn’t. He wishes she was more natural and that’s why, according to the woman herself, she went on the show. THEN, before her makeover she was told that 100% of the public wanted to avoid her. After he makeover she was told that 40% wanted to snog her and 30% wanted to marry her. She said, and I quote, ‘if that’s how they feel then I should probably keep this look’.
She went from loving the way she looked and being confident to resigning herself to a plainer look to appease people on the show, her boyfriend and members of the public WHO DON’T EVEN KNOW HER. These people see a picture of her and make a judgement and she’s decided to keep that look because of OTHER people. Fuck that! I can guarantee that most people would say they’d avoid me but I don’t care, I like me and the way I dress and that’s all that matters.
The fact that this show still runs is absolutely baffling to me.
Unfortunately I really love trashy tv and seeing makeovers of any kind *sigh*
I’m no angel and I’m aware I shouldn’t be giving such rubbish the time of day but I found myself watching it yet again yesterday and was greeted with a huge case of transphobia. The second contestant on the show was called Olivia Dean and she was biologically a man but identified and dressed as a woman. She’d been turned down for jobs because of this and went onto Snog Marry Avoid so that POD could give her a ‘makeunder’. So far, not so good, you shouldn’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not to appease employees but it was her choice to go on the show so there’s at least that I suppose.
Anyway, as the show went on, there was an alarming exchange between POD and Olivia:
POD: I am POD, who are YOU?
POD: Olivia?! Something isn’t computing.
POD: I’m deducing that Olivia isn’t your real name… is it?
Luckily Olivia didn’t keep her ‘makeunder’ as she said it just wasn’t comfortable for her but the attitude towards her was just, disappointing. I don’t expect anything substantial from Snog, Marry, Avoid let alone BBC Three but this is just appalling and unfortunately not the first time this has happened.
The condescending way she was spoken to, the way she was treated is entirely unacceptable in any circumstances and while I understand this is meant to be a light hearted show, it has the possibility of being entirely discouraging and is definitely discriminatory. I’m complaining to Ofcom (here) and the BBC itself (here).
If you don’t understand why this has upset me it’s because Olivia has chosen to identify as Olivia and as a woman and has been doing so for a long time. For POD to make her say her birth name is entirely out of line and the way it was done made a mockery of Olivia’s identity.