The regulation of Katie Price


I have a love/hate relationship with Katie Price. I find the misogynistic comments she makes about other women stomach churning, I don’t think she’s a woman’s woman. Calling Kelly Brook (a size 8 UK model) a ‘heffer’ was nasty, dangerous and completely unacceptable. She has the teenage attitude of getting a boyfriend and 5 minutes later everything is ‘us and we’, pictures and personal messages splashed all over social media. I don’t think this is a good message for her young female fans that you should define yourself by a man.

But I find Katie a fascinating creature. She is a financially-independent multi-millionaire. She has business brains, you have to give her that even if you’re anti-capitalism, anti-glamour modelling, anti-celebrity.

The sisterhood is well and truly dead when it comes to KP. She has multiple ex best friends who have sold stories on her, Michelle Clack, Jemma Henley, Francine Lewis who is making a career out of mocking her and now friend of 20 years and now Katie is allegedly divorcing her third husband over an affair with her best friend Jane. A lot of Katie’s friends and family appear to be on her payroll.

Most of today’s tweets about the KP saga are belittling her, making crude remarks about the size of her vagina, mocking her disabled son, or just calling her a slag/dog/slut/cow etc.

Daily Mail on Katie Price ‘split’. Why do the Daily Fail insist on chronicling Katie Price’s previous relationships/ marriages? They wouldn’t treat a male celebrity like this. They frame her as soiled goods, used up, that she has ‘been around’.

The end of Katie’s relationships have come with widespread scorn that she is demanding, bossy, dominant. She is a multi-millionaire who probably does expect things to a certain standard and most likely her way. Do we criticise wealthy men for being ‘bossy’> In fact do we call men bossy at all? A woman who knows her own mind and is assertive is quashed by the term. Hilary Clinton was accused of being bossy by Germaine Greer!

Katie has been treated appallingly by men. Her first boyfriend when she was just 15 would physically assault and abuse her. She miscarried their baby. Many of her boyfriends were ashamed of her and have made public derogatory remarks. Katie’s been lied to, cheated on, publically mocked, labelled by the media as a ‘slag’ whilst the men aren’t labelled at all. They are just men. Katie is blamed for having ‘bad choice’ in men. It’s the victim’s fault. The same blame we give to rape survivors. The same blame we give to women who don’t leave abusive men.

Dwight Yorke abandoned her in her first pregnancy, and left her to raise a disabled child alone. Is he called vile? An unfit father? No. The press slated Katie, and she was forced to deny drinking and taking drugs in pregnancy. I can’t imagine a worse thing for a mother than having to insist you didn’t cause your child’s disabilities. Kate also faces the plight of many parents of disabled children, the stares, the whispers, the unkind comments.

Kate’s love for her children is obvious and yet if she posts an online shot of herself in a bikini, she is slammed as an ‘unfit mother’. If she is seen enjoying as drink and dance she is a bad role model. Why don’t we do the same for men? Instead of berating the single mothers, why not slate the men who up and leave? Are they not unfit fathers?

Marie Clare even print Dwight’s claims that Katie is a bad mother! Because a woman can be judged but not a man. The churnalist Alison Pearson dares to commit to print: ” I reckon Jordan should ask herself some hard questions. Like, how many men would take on their girlfriend’s extremely volatile disabled child..”!!

She wants the marriage and babies ideal family unit but when she’s unhappy or cheated on she has the means to leave. The Daily Fail and their followers hate this. In a society where 2 women are killed in the UK every week by an intimate man in their life, Katie has the means to escape unhappy situations. I don’t think this makes her a ‘failure’, I think we need a radically overhaul of how we frame divorce. It is not being failure for leaving an unhappy or abusive situation.

Think of how Kelly Brook is treated for dating different men. She is either a “whore” or “can’t keep a man”. It cannot possibly be that she simply enjoys dating before committing herself. This article calling Katie a monster saying Peter Andre can ‘do better’.

But it does sadden me that for a woman who has said multiple times she isn’t interested in sex, she craves having a man so much. Katie is financially set-up for life, she has 4 children and one on the way, her horses, her tight-knit family and many friends. Why does a woman with so much freedom find it hard to go 5 minutes without a boyfriend? Why does our society place women’s worth on whether or not they are coupled-up?

This isn’t just about Katie, it’s about all of us. As I have stated elsewhere on this blog the media’s regulation of one celebrity or group of women is actually the policing of appropriate femininity as a whole. The Daily Fail is an incredible looking-glass for this. If a woman isn’t interested in appearance, she has ‘let herself go’ and deserves to be cheated on. If she cares too much, then she is vain and a whore. If she doesn’t have a sex drive she should expect ‘her man’ to go elsewhere. If she craves sex, she is a self-absorbed slut. Society is terrified of women; it needs to regulate and contain us. We must be disciplined for over-stepping the mark. I wrote about slut-shaming here, and Glee Naked here. Women who don’t conform to demure modest sexual standards are punished.

Katie Price is confident, loud, and doesn’t appear to care what people say about her. A dangerous woman indeed. She wears what she likes, drinks what she likes, marries who she likes. She doesn’t care if the fashion magazines rip her apart, she dresses for herself. I admire this.

I find Katie’s surgery obsession sad and very normalising for young fans but again, I respect her choice to make modifications to her own body. And to quote Professor Bev Skeggs yet again, “The excessive immoral woman is also a useful figure… providing the soft porn grotesque for titillation and disapprobation” (2005, p.968).

The papers and women’s magazines and blogs might slate Katie as every turn, but her body makes them money. She isn’t seen as good enough to be respected, but she’s good enough to use to sell copies.

I object to the media or indeed anyone telling us how a woman can and can’t dress, deciding that someone is a ‘bad mother’ on the grounds of plastic surgery and a history of glamour modelling.

And if you do want to join in with Katie bashing, please be aware that you are compounding the policing of women.