TODAY I’VE BEEN FEELING AN UNEXPECTED AND ENTIRELY UNPRECEDENTED TWINGE OF SYMPATHY FOR KATIE HOPKINS.
This doesn’t mean I’ve had an overnight conversion to her dangerously divisive clickbaity world view. Racism and xenophobia isn’t a good look on anyone, and there are definitely (much) better ways to earn a living than by spreading hatred.
In fact, it’s a fairly safe bet that I hold the polar opposite views to Katie Hopkins on pretty much everything. So when she tweeted wedding day pictures of Meghan Markle alongside Kate Middleton with the below caption in a move that was decidedly lacking in class, I saluted Eric Killmonger’s swift and decisive comeback.
I then savoured a moment of quiet reflection upon the fact that Katie Hopkins isn’t much older than I am, followed by an (admittedly very enjoyable) moment of smugness over the notion of ageing ‘better’ than someone whose views I find annoying at best…
Reminder that Katie Hopkins is 43, 7 years older than Meghan Markle. Hate ages the body awfully kids pic.twitter.com/kXaTxIMKwo
— Eric Killmonger (@BisonBarker) May 20, 2018
… and that’s when a dash of doubt began to creep in. Because although there are a lot of battles I might like to win with Katie Hopkins (mainly revolving around making the message that people are, by and large, good and that irrespective of race, religion or whatever odd point of difference the woman’s obsessing over this week, we all tend to be doing our best most of the time, stronger than her message of hatred or fear), I’m not sure that winning on who’s ageing better is, in fact, the right battle.
I still love Roald Dahl’s quote: “A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.”
That piece of writing has been making me smile since childhood. And I’m very grateful to know people whose thoughts and faces fill me with joy every time I encounter them. However, every once in a while I’ll read the words of someone like Katie Hopkins and some of those words will look ugly to me.
I stand by disagreeing with the professionally disagreeable woman. However, I don’t stand by competing from afar with someone I’ve never met over who’s ageing ‘better’. Nor do I believe that looking youthful is an indicator of virtue.
Really, I suspect this kind of thinking is a throwback to the fairytales of our childhood where the heroes are always beautiful or handsome and only the villains have to contend with moles or wrinkles (insert gratuitous all-time classic Buffy quote, just because I love it).
In real life, I think Katie Hopkins is wrong about many things, but I don’t want to make her, or anyone, wrong for ageing.
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Image courtesy of: Press Gazette.