Katie Hopkins’ latest attempt to blatantly troll “chubsters” who don’t conform to at least a size 12 has backfired spectacularly.
On Friday Hopkins used her column in The Sun to take aim “all these fat people in the public eye”, [under the noble guise of combatting obesity, apparently].
Among those in her firing line are the world’s first plus size supermodel Tess Holliday, who is also the brains behind the #effyourbeautystandards hashtag, encouraging women to celebrate their bodies and stick two fingers up at standard beauty ideals.
At 18st, Holliday, Hopkins ominously writes: “Won’t be in the market for long,” before adding: “When that stuff heads south, her fou-fou will think there’s been a total eclipse of her parts.” [Er, what?]
Holliday has responded with a brilliant riposte, telling Huffington Post UK: “I don't even know who she is.. .So why do I care what she says about me or my body? She needs a therapist and a big fat hug from the sounds of it.”
For good measure, she later tweeted: “I don’t know who the fuck Katie Hopkins is.. So why do I care what she says about my body? #shitgirlplease.”
I don't know who the fuck Katie Hopkins is.. So why do I care what she says about my body? #shitgirlplease— Tess Holliday! (@Tess_Holliday) May 29, 2015
Hopkins has trolled Gordon in the past, and on Friday informed her: “Don’t tell me you love your body. You love cheesecake and chips.”
Bryony Gordon. Don't tell me you love your body. You love cheesecake and chips https://t.co/8PrNocRo73— Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) May 29, 2015
But also: well done for attacking a former bulimic about her post-bulimia body. I mean really: have a medal. And then get a life.— Bryony Gordon (@bryony_gordon) May 29, 2015
All of this, says founder of the Self Esteem Team Natasha Devon, points to evidence that Hopkins herself has “serious self esteem issues.”
Devon, who is also the author of the monthly Confidence Revolution in Cosmopolitan Magazine told Huffington Post UK: “Any psychologist will tell you that people most unduly concerned with the shape, size and eating/exercise habits of other people are likely to be crippled by self-loathing.
"Katie Hopkins (or at least the cartoon villain Hopkins pretends to be) therefore has, we can only conclude, serious self-esteem issues. If only she'd seek help rather than inflicting her poisonous views on the nation.
“No one should be shamed into covering up, especially since feelings of guilt and self-disgust are a key component in eating disorders, including binge-eating disorder which is a primary cause of obesity. If tackling the obesity crisis is Hopkins' genuine aim, she's actively exacerbating the problem.
“Unfortunately, Hopkins' career now depends on being able to ignite Twitter spats. What she is attempting to do to Bryony Gordon is emblematic of the way women are so often oppressed in modern society. Bryony is a singularly talented writer and best-selling author, yet Hopkins has deemed her body 'not good enough'.”
Leyah Shanks, the founder of the Body Confidence Revolution Tumblr points out: “The attitude that Katie portrays is positively prehistoric in my opinion. She is operating on the assumption that all people who are overweight carry out no exercise. (Has she seen the Instagram picture that Tess Holliday posted recently with her PERSONAL TRAINER?)
"How does she she know about the ins and outs of the lives of others? She suggests that people constantly over eat and do no form of exercise to balance it out, how does she know this? Does she have CCTV cameras set up in every house in Britain?
“Her attitude is poisonous and perpetuates the culture of body shame that we live in. She preaches that fat is the enemy while offering no support or indeed empathy.
"There is lots of evidence to suggest that being overweight is not good for you but at the same time, healthy comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and looks physically different on everyone. Until she knows exactly how people live their lives on a day to day basis I suggest that Katie practice a little empathy and understanding towards fellow humans, if that's possible.”
Even #Dancingman Sean O’Brien, who was humiliated online by fat-shaming bullies as he danced in a nightclub, received Hopkins’ wrath.
Rivkie Baum, the editor of the UK’s first plus-size magazine Slink said: “Oh Katie, the reason people find your opinions worthless isn't because you're skinny, it's because as Dancing Man has shown us, no one likes a bully and that is essentially what you have become.
“All the women you've listed here however, are way more than just their visual appearance and that's why people love them. They are smart, funny, kind and talented, they have achieved and they have done all this whilst being fat and in a world where we tend to only represent one body shape that too is an achievement, And you know what else? They have got to their position of fame whilst trying to build other women up, not tear them down.
Samantha Arditti, Head of the Be Real Campaign, the UK’s national movement for body confidence, told HuffPost UK: "Katie Hopkins’ comments have drawn attention to a wider societal problem about our obsession with appearance, fueled by selfie culture and unattainable, airbrushed advertising.
"Healthy means different things for different people - we can’t and shouldn’t all look the same. However, we need a shift in attitude from the top through educators, health professionals, advertisers and media to make this mindset a national reality. We need to build a body confident nation and put health above weight and appearance.
“Body shaming - whether it’s underweight or overweight bodies - needs to stop. How can we expect body confidence to improve if we are constantly judging people on what they look like and criticising them for it? Katie Hopkins' comments are not helpful- bullying people about their appearance is never going to affect positive change. Low body confidence can seriously damage lives; it causes mental health problems, depression and eating disorders and it’s getting worse.
"We cannot deny that there is an obesity problem in the UK, and one that is arguably getting worse, but the answer to addressing this issue is not by fat shaming. Making people feel even worse about themselves will only lead to people seeking quick fix rather than healthy solutions to weight loss, or giving up altogether - we know that a third of people don’t exercise because they feel bad about the way they feel they look.
"Journalists and influencers, like Bryony Gordon and indeed the Huffington Post, are therefore a breath of fresh air in their approach to showing that everyone has the right to feel confident about their body, whilst encouraging a healthy attitude to exercising and eating."
Lauren Benton of BDD Body Charity said: "I really don't understand what planet Katie Hopkins lives on. While I appreciate that obesity is a huge problem in our country, I also appreciate that eating disorders are our number one mental health killer in the Western Society.
"It always makes me laugh when she says the problem with our society is....she seems to have forgotten that the people she preaches to...are in fact our society, and the female UK size 14+ are actually the largest part of 'our' society.
"I find it empowering when middle-aged women get up on Britain's Got Talent and take off their kit, what after all have they got to be ashamed of?! I also think Rebel Wilson has shot to stardom because she is a fantastic actress and extremely funny.
"I don't think people found Katie Hopkins kinder when she had 'four chins where necks should have been' but mainly because on Celeb Big Brother she showed what appeared to be a humane side. I am an advocate on health, both mental and physical, I am an advocate of feeling good and I work in an industry where I see people question their lives, even debating suicide over comments such as Katie Hopkins has made.
"I'm sure she has a very eloquent point to be made but eloquent she is not. I applaud people who are confident of their body because in this day and age 'our society' needs all the help it can get."