Snog, marry avoid: Do we have a choice?

Naomi Blair runs the rule over the BBC3 dating programme.


Being a student at one of the world’s best universities, I’d like to say that I spend most of my time perusing museums, reading Foucault and pondering the meaning of life. The unfortunate reality is that I spend most of my time lying on the sofa, eating Krave (that stuff is like crack to me),watching telly and googling puppies.

It was during one particularly intense telly sesh that I found myself watching BBC 3’s ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’. For those of you who spend less time glued to the TV, it’s a ‘make-under’ show with the aim of ‘removing fakery’ from our nation’s streets. This consists of taking a member of the public deemed to be ‘fake’ ie. mega tanned, false lashes, few clothes etc, and presenting them before a panel who are subsequently asked whether they’d like to snog, marry or avoid the candidate. The result is invariably ‘Avoid’. The person then undergoes a metamorphosis into someone who the panel will want to marry.

The show is presented by an electronic “Personal Overhaul Device” known for it’s sassy and cutting remarks. While ‘POD’ was in the process of ‘re-vamping’ a young transgender person, it came out with this nickname: ‘a gender-bending-beardy-weirdy’. Um, wow. I was so shocked I almost choked on my Nutella (I’d run out of Krave). The mean little robot thingy then proceeded to transform the poor chap into a traditionally dressed, snoring-boring bloke, completely ignoring his own personality.

The steam-roller of conformity doesn’t stop there! Oh no, POD then turns its attention to a 24 year old blonde woman with a predilection for tutus and boob-tubes. POD kindly points out that since the survey of random men in the street indicates that none of them want to marry her, it’s probably about ruddy time she covered up and got herself a fella. Had she totes forgotten that she was supposed to be husband-hunting? OMG bbz, wot r u lyk? So she undergoes the ‘make-under’ and comes out the other side with a dodgy brunette wig on, a knee-length skirt and voilà!

The new survey indicates that now at least 50% of the blokes want to put a ring on it. Mission accomplished, eh ladies? Not only is this just embarrassingly retrograde, as it suggests that everything women do should be geared towards finding a husband, changing in order to get wifeyed up, but it’s really condescending towards the poor guys. Silly men! All it takes is a pussy-bow blouse and some subtle low-lights and they’ll suddenly have an overriding desire to introduce you to their parents. Fools! Little do they know that 24 hours before you were in a club, snogging some guy that looked a bit like the lead-singer of Foals if you squinted a bit and tilted your head to the left (just me?).

Anyway, the point I’m making is that whilst BBC 3’s shameful offering is a shrine to ‘normality’ and terrifyingly adverse to any form of self-expression, it’s also highly hypocritical. By shaming people into admitting that they’ve gone a bit OTT on the St Tropez, and forcing them to remove all their make-up on telly, they’re turning them into something they are not, which is in turn, false. I say that if you want to dress in fishnets, nipple tassles and clear plastic platforms or whatever the chuff you want, then you can sodding well do it! You go girlfriend/boyfriend! It’s 2013 after all, and about time the BBC got with it.