The reality TV ‘make under’: class & abject femininities in Snog, Marry, Avoid

Taylor, Anthea (2012). The reality TV ‘make under’: class & abject femininities in Snog, Marry, Avoid. In: Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Annual Conference (CSAA 2012), Sydney, Australia, (). 4-6 December 2012.

Author Taylor, Anthea
Title of paper The reality TV ‘make under’: class & abject femininities in Snog, Marry, Avoid
Conference name Cultural Studies Association of Australasia Annual Conference (CSAA 2012)
Conference location Sydney, Australia
Conference dates 4-6 December 2012
Publication Year 2012
Sub-type Oral presentation
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
In postfeminist media culture, women are now evaluated, regulated and exhorted to transform in new ways, in new forms, especially the reality makeover program. No less seeking the transformation of its subjects, Britain’s ‘make under’ reality television program, Snog, Marry, Avoid? is now in its fifth season. Celebrating the virtues of women’s ‘natural beauty’, it focuses upon women whose performance of (a certain type of) femininity is deemed excessive – an excess which is clearly marked as class-based. These women are called to account for their crimes by a disembodied voice dubbed POD: ‘Personal Overhaul Device’, which early in each episode judges them, identifying the ways in which they fail at being (or rather appearing) ‘naturally’ feminine. They are then subject to the ‘Public Analysis Test’, where a number of men assess the women as to whether they should be snogged, married or avoided. POD subsequently delivers her verdict, instructing the women to remove all signs of ‘fakery’, immediately after which the participants appear transformed. Post-reveal selves are often described – either by POD or the participants – as natural, authentic and, perhaps most significantly, ‘classy’. But, when the show’s host returns to judge the enduring success of the make under, rarely do its subjects continue to perform this improved self (itself coded as a failure based on class). Drawing upon recent feminist criticism on reality makeover television, class and gender (Walkerdine & Ringrose, Skeggs & Wood, Weber), this paper considers how these femininities are positioned as abject and demonstrates how this televised make under seeks to operate, largely unsuccessfully, as a form of class make over.
Q-Index Code EX
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collection: Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation Publications
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