I just got a new pair of glasses, my first in more than five years, and I was excited enough about them to publicly post a photo online. Some of my friends told me they liked them. Others wish the shape was a little different. That’s completely fine. I didn’t pick them out with you in mind.
I consider it a major step for someone who tries not to stick out. I’m rather envious of those who can dress without caring what anyone thinks. But there are those people out there who feel quite free to tell others what they should and shouldn’t wear—or how their look will seriously harm their chances of obtaining happiness, by which they usually mean romantic happiness.
And that’s my issue with Snog, Marry, Avoid?, the YouTube channel from the people who brought you the British reality show of the same name. According to BBC Three, it’s the “world’s first makeunder show, which has a POD – Personal Overhaul Device – transform OTT [over the top] girls and boys into natural beauties.”
The basic premise is that after finding someone with an unconventional look who’s in want or need of a makeunder, the POD will give them a more natural (read: socially acceptable) look. Then members of the opposite sex will tell them if they’d snog you, marry you, or ignore you. More often than not, people will want to ignore the before look and snog or marry the after look. The most common response to the after look is that the person, usually a woman—although men have received makeunders as well—is that they look “more natural.”
It’s a more censor-friendly version of “F*ck, Marry, or Kill,” if you will.
Everything wrong with it boils down to a clip of punk rocker Mel from November, which hit the front page of Reddit. She loves how she dresses, but her family and friends sure don’t. They think she’s gone too far, and they fear that people think she’s scorned because of her tattoos, numerous piercings, ripped clothes, and pink hair.
“It just makes me feel ashamed sometimes,” Jill, Mel’s mom, said about her daughter’s looks.
After Mel takes out the piercings and removes her makeup, she’s almost unrecognizable.
“I was never scary, just misunderstood,” Mel replied when the POD said that she looked scary in her before photo.
“As long as [I’m] happy they shouldn’t judge people on who has and hasn’t got a shaved head,” she wrote. “Would like to change people’s opinions about alternative cultures before I die!!”
Mel kept the wig, but she’s largely gone back to dressing as she did before appearing on SMA.
The show has had other stories of success and failure. Take Cara, who the POD called a “multi coloured mental monster.” When she saw the final reveal, she was in tears.
Sophie, described as a “pink princess,” absolutely hated her makeunder, even after a bunch of men told her they’d snog her.
These men and women have every right to appear on SMA and either embrace or reject their makeunder, but the show’s whole practice of asking strangers if they’d kiss or marry or ignore someone based on their looks is pretty vapid. You shouldn’t have to be berated by a computer voiced by a comedian just to realize your true self. Dressing only to impress the opposit sex sends the message that we’re beautiful only when someone else says so.
Look how you want and don’t let others determine your worth based on it. And if you’re in the crowd of people judging others based on their appearance: Keep it to yourself.
Photo via Snog, Marry, Avoid?/YouTube