Why the press are wrong about working class women

Written by layla haidrani

On Sunday morning, I awoke to find Twitter awash with Josie Cunningham’s plans to abort her unborn baby in the hope that she can star in reality TV show Big Brother.

On Sunday morning, I awoke to find Twitter awash with Josie Cunningham’s plans to abort her unborn baby in the hope that she can star in reality TV show Big Brother. Telling The Mirror she stated: “I’m finally on the verge of becoming famous and I’m not going to ruin it now.”

For those unfamiliar with Josie Cunningham, the mother-of-two rose to ‘fame’ (I can only say that loosely) for receiving a £4, 8000 breast enlargement on the NHS and at the taxpayers’ expense. Her Twitter account which shows off her topless breasts with the words ‘NHS’ covering her nipples appear to poke fun at the taxpayer.

As a result, she has been demonised by wider Britain and viewed as a public hate figure, with statements such as ‘Broken Britain’ attributed to her ‘deplorable’ acts.

Admired or loathed?

But while her acts in the public eye may not be admirable, I can’t help but feel that she is a victim of the constant vilification of working class women in the press. Rarely does a day go by when I don’t pick up a newspaper where working class people are disparaged – whether it’s the recent Daily Mail food bank scandal or “Get pregnant for benefits” headline.

Rarely are working class people (particularly women) praised in the public sphere for achievements. Instead, working-class women (as Josie Cunningham aptly demonstrates), are depicted in the media as fame-hungry, sex-crazed fiends who don’t know who the father of the baby is and refuse to work.

Vilifying a public figure to whip up hatred works effectively on the masses – no one is talking about the rise of the use of food banks, the rise of poverty or even the Syrian crisis. Rather, we have redirected our hatred and problems to evoke hysteria and hate about Cunningham through the medium of the internet.

A tabloid act

I’m not saying she’s an angel – she’s far from it – but perhaps we can even admire her, somebody who has no discernable talent has managed to stay relevant in the press.

Yes, it is unfortunate how she has got there, but in a world where having a boob job as opposed to any other credential will make you front page of The Sun, we really must question the society we live in.

The press and Big Brother are using her to gain more attention, more headlines and more commentators and significantly, to whip up hatred against the working class.

Her Facebook ‘fan’ page is awash with vitriol such as: “Animals get put down for a lot less than this vile human being. Make her give birth to this poor child, give him/her to a family deserving and then put her down like the dog she is.”

She herself states on her website that: “Truth is, a lot of the newspapers and tabloids have twisted my words or used old quotes. Yes I did have a boob job on the NHS, but it was a 10 year process. I may not have been suffering in a visible manner, but mentally I was suffering for over a decade.”

The Tories have got you doing just what they want you to do with these kind of stories, turn on each other and stab each other in the back. Less plebs for them to worry about.

As opposed to sending her vitriol, we should be questioning something else entirely – what does it show about society when a woman who boasts about an abortion instead of the Syrian crisis is front page news?

People like Josie are used by the media to portray working class people as scroungers because they are willing to sacrifice their identity for a fast-track lane to money and fame but the truth is that working class people simply just aren’t like that. 

What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.