E!'s Fashion Police, one of the best shows on television, is under attack — and for once it's not necessarily for saying honest things about celebrities (horror!). Joan Rivers's segment on the show, in which she prompts viewers to consider whether a photo of a girl in a dress is a "starlet" or "streetwalker," has offended the Girls Education and Mentoring Services, which started a campaign on Change.org to bring the segment to halt, which has attracted about 1,500 online signatures as this post goes live. Rachel Lloyd, founder and director of GEMS, explained her stance on the Huffington Post:
Based on the outfit, the panel then has to vote if the woman in the photo is a starlet or a streetwalker. If the woman turns out to be a celebrity, her face is shown, if its a woman in the sex industry, her face remains blacked out. The panel, the studio audience and I'm sure the viewers watching at home laugh at these women and their 'tacky, trashy clothing.' The first time I saw the segment, it took me a minute to realize that the women whose faces were covered up were actually real women in the sex industry. I then watched with growing discomfort as I realized that these women, poor women, desperate women, drug-addicted women, women under the control of a pimp, women who are victims of violence and exploitation, were being used to highlight wealthy celebrities' poor fashion choices. Haha.
"We’re asking E! to stop further mocking and stigmatizing women and girls in the commercial sex industry," Lloyd says in a press release widely distributed to fashion bloggers yesterday. So attention, everyone: Be politically correct all the time, always now!