In late 2012, Reddit shut down its massively popular, massively shitty "creepshots" subreddit after women and non-monsters complained that the website was tacitly endorsing a forum that features sexualized pictures of women posted without their consent, a practice many people with souls consider "bad." But like herpes and harem pants, Creepshots just keeps coming back. This time, it's in the form of a fake "fashion police" forum that barely attempts to disguise the fact that it relies on the same tactics and features the same content that got its predecessor banned.
The home page of r/CandidFashionPolice features exclusively shots of women, most of whom are young, thin, and wearing tight or revealing clothing. None are actually posing for the photos taken or appear to be aware that they're being photographed (that's not to say that none might possibly be aware that they're being photographed, just that none are, you know, looking at the camera). Despite this, the page's moderators insist that the forum is ABOUT FASHION. In a clarification posted to the forum a few days ago, one mod writes,
This is a subreddit about fashion. Therefore, comments about fashion and fashion choices are appreciated, while comments such as "dat ass," calling other creeps, etc. are not. We do our very best to remove creepy posts that are not about fashion, but we are now going to have to start to ban multiple offenders.
We are sometimes being compared by a few people to /r/creepshots, which was a very creepy subreddit that was banned from reddit. We are not Creepshots, although we do understand that the very nature of this subreddit may sometimes attract that kind of creepy person.
Creepshots also had candid photos, but mostly of underage girls, pictures that were clearly taken in schools, upskirt shots, etc.
Those types of photos are against the rules here at /r/candidfashionpolice, and posts of that nature will be removed, and the submitters will be banned from this subreddit.
It seems like, at least on a superficial level, mods are sticking to their "only comments about fashion" line, deleting comments that insist on objectifying the women (always women) featured on CandidFashionPolice. But that's where any pathetic insistence that CandidFashionPolice is any better than Creepshots ends.
Comparing CFP to What Not to Wear and E!'s Fashion Police is specious to the point of idiocy. The footage in the linked "example" video from What Not to Wear was all of a woman who agreed to be a contestant on the show, and the footage from Fashion Police shows either stars who know they're being photographed by paparazzi or women whose identities are entirely obscured. CandidFashionPolice regularly features women whose identities are easy to glean from, uh, looking at the unobscured and unsuspecting faces featured in many of the images.
And then, there's this helpful line of text offering guidance on where users can find pictures to post to the subreddit, which appears at the top of the forum's main page and of every post within the forum.
Shock of shocks, the link posted at the top of CandidFashionPolice leads to a forum that's pretty much entirely links to the CreepShots archive, or other spots on the web that provide homes for other "creepshots."
See? This forum is totally about fashion. [There's also the difficult-to-ignore fact that one of their moderators is named JezebelReader, which sounds like a nod to the time Katie JM Baker wrote unflatteringly about CreepShots only to have moderators of that subreddit post pictures of her face to CreepShots. Memories!]
To the subreddit's 20,000 plus users, CandidFashionPolice's transparently not-real fashion critique seems a part of the joke, the web equivalent of that gag where a character in a sitcom or cartoon shows up in a place where they are unwelcome wearing oversized black rimmed plastic glasses and a bowler hat. In one photo of the backside of a woman wearing a form fitting all-white dress, users critique the use of a blue dog leash by an out-of-focus person in the background. In another shot, featuring a large-breasted woman on the beach talking to her friend, an engineer critiques the strain her breasts must put on her bathing suit straps. A-hyuk, a-hyuk. Fashion! Aren't we having fun with fashion?
While reposting creepshots and calling it something else entirely seems very very funny to many users of the CandidFashionPolice subreddit, to the women featured in the shots, the vast majority of which women who don't know they're being photographed at the beach, on the subway, or in the grocery store, CandidFashionPolice likely isn't funny at all. Even the original conceit and the forum's current defense — that CFP encourages people to photograph women's outfits and then offer them up to thousands on the internet for sartorial critique — is pretty... what's that word? .... creepy.
Image via Shutterstock