Katie Hopkins has managed to forge a career by saying she's "telling it like it is".
Whether the columnist is a craftily calculated public persona or just someone who can type faster than she can think, she's managed to get the nation talking.
She recently tweeted that dementia sufferers were "blocking beds":
Dementia sufferers should not be blocking beds. What is the point of life when you no longer know you are living it? Bang me over the head.Katie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) April 6, 2015
The day I am diagnosed with dementia is the day I book my ticket to Dignitas. This country still treats animals more humanely than humansKatie Hopkins (@KTHopkins) April 6, 2015
Hopkins is no stranger to getting lots of people cross and perhaps slightly baffled. Last May, she told an audience of Cambridge University students that she didn't "really like fat people" and that she "wouldn't like to meet a ginger in the dark".
Her lucky dip of obnoxious quotes has also produced classics such as "suicidal prisoners should just kill themselves", that women shouldn't breastfeed in public and the unkind remark that Nigella Lawson is a "self-obsessed flirt".
Katie Hopkins' most offensive moments
Katie Hopkins' most offensive moments
1/16 Katie Hopkins on 'plus size'
'To call yourself 'plus-size' is just a euphemism for being fat. Life is much easier when you're thinner. Big is not beautiful, of course a job comes down to how you look.'
2/16 Katie Hopkins on naming children
‘I think you can tell a great deal from a name. For me, there are certain names that I hear and I think ‘Urgh’. For me, a name is a shortcut of finding out what class that child comes from and makes me ask, ‘Do I want my children to play with them?’ There’s a whole set of things that go with children like that and that’s why I don’t like those sorts of children. ‘Hi, this is my daughter Charmaine’. I hear: ‘Hi, I am thick and ignorant.’’
3/16 Katie Hopkins on gender equality
'Women don't want equal treatment, they couldn't handle it if they got it. It's a tough world out there. What a lot of women are actually looking for is special treatment. What women need to realise is that they have to toughen up.'
4/16 Katie Hopkins on immigration
'I've always said if you go into a school playground and shout Mohammad, you'll probably get 100 children running towards you!"
5/16 Katie Hopkins to Benefits Street's White Dee
'Do you not feel like the patron saint of druggies and dropouts?'
6/16 Katie Hopkins on tattoos
'Are tattoos just a badge for the stupid? For me, and for lots of people like me, when you see tatoos you think of someone who is just looking for attention, who hasn't managed to find a way in their life through conventional means and who is just shouting 'I want attention! I want to be looked at!'
7/16 Katie Hopkins on addiction
‘I don’t believe what Russell Brand says about addiction. I just don’t buy it. Gazza likes drinking, let him crack on. He is enjoying himself.’
8/16 Katie Hopkins on The X Factor
'The X Factor 2013 has ended in a painful showdown between a fat mum in a jumpsuit (Sam Bailey) and a small boy in whatever his mum laid out for him on his bed (Nicholas McDonald)'
9/16 Katie Hopkins on the Egyptian uprising
'The difference between most mothers and me is that I didn’t sit around drinking coffee at baby group for 12 months after the birth of my baby. No, in three weeks I was back in my suit, back at my desk earning profit for my business and I don’t see why other women shouldn’t do the same.'
10/16 Katie Hopkins on maternity leave
'Egyptian uprising continues to look like Bonfire Night. Protest fireworks. Right up there with angry cup cakes.'
11/16 Katie Hopkins on 'gingerism'
'Ginger babies. Like a baby. Just so much harder to love. A ginger person with tattoos called Jayden? The triumvirate of horror!'
12/16 Katie Hopkins on affairs
'I lied to get someone else's husband because I wanted him. I give myself 8 out of 10 for ruthlessness for that one.'
13/16 Katie Hopkins on the elderly
‘Personally I hate mobility scooters. I find their owners intolerable. Ran past a mobility scooter going up hill. Made me giggle. I need to grow up and stop being an arse.’
14/16 Katie Hopkins after the Glasgow helicopter crash
'Life expectancy in Scotland is 59.5. Goodness me. That lot will do anything to avoid working until retirement.'
15/16 Katie Hopkins on Ramadan
'Channel 4 broadcasts Islamic calls to prayer for Ramadan. A 30 day reminder that minority rules in the UK. Any more PC, it'd be a bloody laptop.'
16/16 Katie Hopkins on self-harming
'I am advised by the Twitterati to 'cut myself'. I grazed myself on my house gate yesterday. Will that suffice?'
So what makes someone like Katie Hopkins act like Katie Hopkins? We spoke to two psychologists.
"I think she’s probably quite an individual case," says Karen Niven, a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester Business School. "She's able to forge a career out of being controversial which is not something most of us can do or would want to do."
Do you think that most people want to be liked? "There’s definitely differences in extents to which people care about other people think," Niven explains. "Some people are so concerned by the opinions of society that it governs their behaviour and they edit their actions to fit in.
"Some don’t care what others think, or they care less about what other people think than they do about being known or seen in the public eye.
"I wonder if she’s developed public persona divorced from her real personality – criticism is water off a ducks back and that’s how she really feels about it."
But how can you possibly get through a full day with so many people tweeting angrily at you and knowing that you've upset people? "People in Katie's position may think: 'Maybe they hate me but at least they know who I am', so it becomes a positive," Niven says. "Negative comments are a sign of her success."
However, Dr Gayle Brewer, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Central Lancashire, argues that trying to please people can be a sign of low self-esteem.
"I think that most of us are concerned about what other people think," Dr Brewer says. "Some have low self-esteem, and out perception of ourselves is completely dependent on others."
But Hopkins' behaviour is quite extreme.
"If someone’s doing it for a reaction, it’s an insight into their personality," Dr Brewer explains. "They want to see the impact of what they can do on the world – it’s quite a powerful feeling, I imagine."
How do you think someone in Hopkins' position would handle getting so much negative attention? "Well I think it depends on what it is that they’re being hated for and how that’s come about. It could be that they’re – for example – a comedian and their public persona is to say controversial things – it’s a character they portray and it’s lucrative and not problematic and their friends and family understand what their real personality is."
So if you court the attention it hurts less? "If it was something that someone was planning, it makes it different. If you compare it to Monica Lewinsky, who was catapulted into a high-pressure situation unintentionally, it's going to feel very different."
But most of us want to be liked, surely? Hopkins has to be an exception? "I do think most of us want society’s approval," Dr Brewer says. "We want to fit in and we grow up being told it’s good to make friends and to do the right thing, so it’s quite different to see people going against that."
Niven is co-editor of Should I Strap A Battery to My Head (And Other Questions About Emotion). Dr Brewer edited Media Psychology (Palgrave MacMillan).
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