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Katie is paying the Price of being true to herself

By Holly Baxter

She looks so tacky: it's a loaded phrase, isn't it? You'd probably reserve it for the very worst of transgressions: a colleague showing off both her legs and her cleavage at a formal event; a woman at the school gate in pyjama bottoms.

If you need an outlet for your raging classism, then you can't get more stereotypically "common" than Katie Price. A former glamour model (a woman profiting from her sexuality? Revolting.) with three marriages under her belt (how unrefined), an unabashed fondness for surgically enhanced breasts (why can't she make herself look more natural?) and a tendency to voice her opinions loudly, proudly and publicly.

Price has broken the rules so many times, it's a wonder she's survived. In 2006, The Scotsman ran a piece about her including a sentence that remains permanently etched in my mind: "Underneath the superficiality of a woman who is so spoilt that she sneers at the wrong car, who uses sex as a weapon, who inflates and deflates her breasts as if they were attached to a balloon pump, is a woman who has not had an easy life, however much money she has made."

In one fell swoop, this delivered everything that's wrong with Katie Price: she's unapologetically materialistic; unapologetically sexual; unapologetically in charge of her own body; and unapologetically rich on top of it all. Surely - surely - she must be unhappy?

The idea that a working-class woman with all of those attributes could be happy and successful goes against everything the Establishment stands for.

This week it's not Price who "looks so tacky", but her 18-month-old daughter, Bunny. On an Instagram feed that featured pictures of Price and her family, the toddler was pictured wearing small gold studs in her newly pierced ears.

Everyone was sanctimoniously thrilled. Wasn't it confirmation, after all, that this chav-done-good, this new-money-mummy, couldn't help but show her true colours in the world of the sophisticated super-rich?

Fashion is perhaps the last bastion of acceptable classism, where Ugg boots and tracksuit bottoms, which mark you out as a Sloane Ranger in some well-heeled districts, are immediately held as proof you're a lazy, incompetent skiver on benefits in others.

The criticism of Price this week is nothing other than the continuation of a narrative that's followed her throughout her career. Except that she has never played along. And long may that continue.

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