Outskirts online journal

Anthea Taylor

Further information

About the author

Dr Anthea Taylor is a Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Mediating Australian Feminism (2008, Peter Lang), Single Women in in Popular Culture: The Limits of Postfeminism (2012, Palgrave Macmillan), and Celebrity and the Feminist Blockbuster: The Changing Face of Celebrity Feminism (2016, Palgrave Macmillan). With Margaret Henderson, she is currently writing a new book, Postfeminism in Context: The Australian Postfeminist Imaginary (under contract, Routledge), as well as a sole authored monograph on Germaine Greer and popular feminism (under contract, Routledge).

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Publication details

Volume 35, November 2016

The (unsuccessful) reality television make under: Class, illegitimate femininities, and resistance in Snog, Marry, Avoid 



In postfeminist media culture, young women are now evaluated, regulated and exhorted to recalibrate 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, celebrating women’s ‘natural beauty’, focuses upon women whose gendered performance is considered a threat to normative femininity and the class distinctions with which it is intimately bound. In each episode, women are called to account for their physical, sartorial and behavioural crimes. This paper considers how the show attempts to position these young femininities as illegitimate and explores how the make under seeks to operate – often unsuccessfully – as a form of class makeover. Challenging narratives about the success of reality television in policing the bounds of ‘appropriate’ femininity, subjects routinely reject the judgements and sense of shame that the show seeks to instil, offering up – as this paper argues – a form of resistance that at once reinforces and troubles the program’s class-based logics. 


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