# 94 (2013) Snog, Marry, Avoid – What Gives Us The Right?
I am fascinated by shows like ‘Snog Marry Avoid’. I am always impressed by the incredible make-unders and seeing people who have covered up their insecurities with flamboyant theatre reminded that they don’t need the disguise.
Remarkably it’s often the war paint that backs up their insecure feelings by inviting negative attention and I expect many of them revert straight back to who they were before because underlying feelings haven’t been addressed.
However, there is a big part of me that thinks this programme is wrong. What is actually the problem with looking different? Why is it we think those individuals that stand out should be made to fit in, to be like everyone else and be subservient to whatever we consider ‘normal’.
Maybe for some of these people there are serious issues that need addressing but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will start dressing like ‘ordinary people’.
Why can’t we accept these individuals for who they are, why do we judge them based on how we want them to look or how we think they should be? How is it even our right to criticise, judge and point fingers just because they want to break the mould?
Even if we don’t like their image choices it does not give us the right to shame them and make them change. Without people who had the courage to stand out we wouldn’t have had some of our most creative and interesting people. Ground breakers who brought us art, music and design.
Adam Ant was my pop star of choice. It was his style and attention to detail that got me interested in fashion and reenactment, a creative field which is the overriding aspect of my life even now. It was his look and his ideas that started a whole movement in music and inspired generations of children and young adults looking for an identity.
Whilst I was reading up about ‘Sophie Bow’ on ‘Snog Marry Avoid?’ I came across CelebYouth and its guest blog post by Gemma Ahearne titled ‘Snog Marry Avoid: The Moral Economies of Whiteness’. A provocative title and an article which seriously deals with our levels of acceptance and how the way people dress can invoke different opinions and attitudes.
That slut shaming and a blame culture exists against (particularly) women is obvious. It’s all around us. To quote Ahearne: ‘Snog Marry Avoid? plays on the virgin/whore dichotomy, in which nice boys only want good girls. Those who appear in the show are judged according to whether male members of the public want to ‘snog, marry or avoid’ them. Marriage is the highest accolade, a snog is second in the hierarchy, but to be ‘avoided’ is the ultimate exclusion.’
We’re all guilty of these judgements to some degree or another, from wincing at the back combed hair still sported by many female teens to the general criticism that exists when confronted with an armful of tattoos. We all have opinions on someone’s individuality but maybe we should just keep it to ourselves and be glad that not everyone is willing to tow the line. Ahearne’s article is fascinating and well worth a read.
So what gives us the right to judge someone who has the courage to stick their neck out and be different? Do you think you have the right. Do you think everyone should be accepted by being the same or do you think individuals like Sophie Bow make our society an interesting and vibrant place?