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My Fat Story

My Fat Story

When first asked to take part in this documentary, I was approached to teach Katie Hopkins body acceptance via burlesque. The thought of teaching someone burlesque is something I love, but when it turned out to be Katie Hopkins, even I was apprehensive. The more I learnt about the project the more I knew it was not right for me, the person or the performer to be involved. I didnt fancy someone potentially scaring off other class attendees with her views. So I declined. Even though I knew could give the banter back, TV has a knack of editing you in a way you dont expect.

What I know about Katie Hopkins I have learnt from her own words with a spattering of tabloid fodder fed info. I kinda liked that she was caught ‘bonking’ in the field. Who cares?! She is in love, in lust and blinking heck who hasnt been tempted?! Bit more appalled by the press photographing it than the actual act. Her Twitter feed leaves a lot of be desired but as an entertainer I can understand the need to project a persona. Thats not to say in the slightest I agree with what she says on there, nor her infamous This Morning interviews. If anything I have started to see her a little like a Disney villain.

A few months passed by and again the production company came calling. Will I now be part of a panel to address Katie Hopkins herself in person about the ‘fat’ issue. Again I didnt want to. Its like poking a lion whilst sat in the cage with it. I sat and pondered for 48 hrs or so. I spoke to friends. I am always one to stand up for my beliefs but did I really need to do that on TV with someone like Katie? I decided to do some research. What I learnt from the wonders of the internet is that Katie relies heavily on statistics to argue her case which as we all know are only as good as their case studies…oh and her over talking of others. So basically she was somewhat of a character from The Office. Ah well. Screw it. I agreed to do it.

I did however need some confidence boosting of my own from friends but I knew I had made the right decision…at the time.

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Thankfully some familiar faces were also on the panel. Kathryn ( a veteran Katie H opponent already), Betty (a plus size blogger), Thandi (a weight loss success story) and  Rivkie of SLiNK magazine (aimed at plus size women). We were all nervous and anxious to get started on the debate.

I wont say there was no respect for Katie amongst the crew and panellists but most seemed to have their ‘issues’ with her and her views. The sense of pity over the whole situation was pretty evident. I kind of hoped Katie would come into the room in a whirlwind of smoke and mist (like a true Disney villain) but instead she came in with the air of school teacher late for her first day. A flurry of coat whipping off and leg crossing as she sat down. A few hellos and remarks and out came her iPad. Needless to say, here was the stats about to make an appearance. Something she relied on a lot. That and the nodding you imagine a customer complaint advisor does on a call. She was present but seemed to be going through the motions.

The debate took mere moments to become heated. People spoke openly about personal experiences and Katie listened on the most part. Ok, thats a bit of a lie. She made a good act of pretending to listen to all the views. Her glazed eyes at times gave the game away. When I mentioned her saying fat people were useless  had really upset one of my cancer suffering burlesque class attendees she point blank refused to allow me to talk about the lady in question. Seems her poor mother had suffered from cancer and it wasnt a topic she wish to discuss in any form. But I am sorry Katie. If you tell people that fat people are useless, you are going to affect all people and your comments HURT one of my girls who was fighting cancer. That woman asked me if she was worthless and shouldnt be allowed to use the NHS to treat her cancer/that she wasnt worthy because she was fat. Katie didnt like to be confronted on something close to her heart and asked me not to bring cancer into the argument. Its then I saw the woman. A hurt woman.

What Katie did show and possibly unintentionally was  a brief moment to see a woman who has been deeply hurt and has spent SO long cultivating this hate figure in the public eye, she cant share her pain to help deal with it. The documentary showed her having a personal ‘moment’ in a psychologist’s room. There stood the once ice queen of the celeb world, crying.  I think she is a loving mother and wife who is incredibly protective over her loved ones: her tears over the children in the burger joint on the show, her refusal over my cancer survivor, her constant statements that her children are strong and independent. She has created a fortress to hide within as a means to protect herself. She will deny this but thats the persona talking.

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I wont touch on the whole ‘hate crime’ side of the argument that came about. I was not aware of the outcome of the report and was not privy to the conversations that were conducted about it. A good press interest angle to say the least. Not sure how much good it has done to the argument over ‘fat hate’ but hey…according to some emails I have received I am not fat enough to be plus size or be involved in this project. Seems some of those feeling marginalised by Katie Hopkins views are happy to marginalise others. Doesnt matter that I was there to help. On a side note, this sort of comment over lack of plus size in plus size issues is common according to others I have spoken to.

Katie to me is a very educated woman. A very educated and intelligent woman. A woman however who takes her views and makes them extreme to be able to get her career to work for her. No one gets press by being nice. We all want a villain. We all want a dickhead to hate. Katie fulfils that role for us. She is acutely aware of this and cultivates it. It pays for her lifestyle, her home and her future. On social media so many other users enjoy taunting her, engaging with her and it has become somewhat of an accomplishment to be blocked or replied by her. We are feeding the dragon yet hate the dragon. She is the smart one. She is making the money and we are sat here like me, merely adding more food to the pile to feed her.

I dont regret the project. I dont hate Katie Hopkins. I just hope that her children and loved ones are happy with what she is doing and ultimately, she can live with what she has put out in the world. One day it will come falling down, her children will ask questions and one day….she will have to respond.

I am not 100% sure Katie will ever show her true self publicly. It doesnt fit in with the villain persona. I cant help but feel like the Little Mermaid facing Ursula when I am with her. But I am a huge fan of Disney films, so who knows perhaps this villain will find a heart and show it. But until the media changes how it covers stories of interest, Katie will be our villain, our undesirable and our love to hate persona. One person doesnt change the world. She isnt Stephen Hawkings or Nelson Mandela. We can ignore her without consequences. And with all Disney movies, the villain never wins.

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