A makeover too far.

Posted on June 29, 2013

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This appeared on my timeline this evening, courtesy of @sexworkstigma

“Michelle Visage’s Hooker Makeover” Is Back, And More Hooker-y Than Ever: WATCH

Michelle Visage is back with a brand new episode of “Michelle Visage’s Hooker Makeover,” the only style show that takes ladies off the mean LA streets and turns them into, well, hookers. So to speak.

So watch above as this week’s style star Leah gets out the girls, gets some new hair and gets her Beyonce on. And, we’re pretty sure, getting herself a man with this new look.

Miss Visage, and Morgan McMichaels, are changing lives we tell you!

Yes, thats right a show that takes “nice” “normal” women and dresses them up as hookers! How do “hookers” dress according to the life changing Michelle Visage and Morgan McMichaels? A page with more information about the show tells you

good taste has been totally overrated!

Tacky is the new black

Yes, that’s right, apparently sex workers have poor taste and are tacky. What most people might consider tacky is the fact the women who have had a make over can then earn money. Not actually selling sexual services, since that is illegal in the US, and street workers are one of the most vulnerable, abused and marginalized groups. No the makers of this show have a whole new level of tackiness, the women will then have to stand on a street corner and “win” ten dollars for every car horn that honks at them. Yes, that;s right, its pay per street harassment!

In what fucked up universe was this considered OK?

  1. Hooker is not an OK term to use unless you are a sex worker, we get these words thrown at us everyday, we do not need it treated as a joke by TV companies looking to create a bit of controversy.
  2. The stereotypes that we all dress a certain way, that you can “spot ” a sex worker just by looking is so insulting its hard to know where to start.  It leads to people saying it is an insult to be mistaken for a sex worker, because everyone knows what they look like. It leads to women who are not sex workers being arrested, because the police think they have the “look”. It is the kind of degrading othering that leads to crimes against sex workers being ignored, unprotected, not seen as real crimes.
  3. Sex workers do not think street harassment is a joke! It is abuse, it is a daily round of catcalls, threats and worse.  Clients approach quietly and ask if we are working, they do not beep car horns. In fact this is the type of behaviour that leads to street workers being more heavily criminalized than indoor workers, as communities claim they are the nuisance rather than the dickwads with substitute penis cars.
  4. Michelle Visage (yeah Who? was my thought) claims on her twitter bio to be an “equal rights activist” except when it comes to rights for some of the worst treated people in society, sex workers, who she is happy to abuse and mock for money. America has some of the worst laws in the world around sex work. Anyone truly concerned with equal rights would not be perpetuating these sterotypes.

This might seem like a small, online show, but it indicates who ingrained these stereotypes are, and how acceptable whorephobia is. These ideas that lead to the othering of sex workers are the reason we loose our families, and our lives. Could you imagine a Blackface Makover or even a Gay makeover? Too often at the receiving end of hate, a punch, abuse and hatred this show should be pulled and all who thought it was an amusing or whacky idea should stop and think about why hatred of sex workers exists, and their part in it.

You can contact the presenter on twitter @michellevisage
The production company is world of wonder @WorldOfWonder
Let them know that Hooker Makeover is no joke to sex workers, but insults us and we will no longer take abuse silently. Incredibly World of Wonder productions is making great claims on their twitter feed about supporting Marriage Equality, equal treatment for all except sex workers.
Further reading
Posted in: stigma, The media