What kind of a world do we live in where the marriage woes of the MP for Rochdale are considered front-page news? I know, it’s a world in which the narcotic appeal of social media overrides any sense of propriety, and where titillation will beat discretion any day of the week.
Simon Danczuk is a rather admirable man, a former journalist whose dogged investigations helped expose the systematic child abuse of Cyril Smith, one of his predecessors as the member for Rochdale.
How he must have been anguished to see the most intimate details of his marriage picked over in lurid detail, and with lip-smacking salaciousness, in the pages of our national newspapers (not this one, obviously). Social media has turned us into a nation of voyeurs, and those who know about these things have clearly estimated that there is an appetite among the general public to read about the Danczuks. Not because of Simon’s work in campaigning against paedophiles (his book about Cyril Smith led to an inquiry at Westminster into historical child abuse) but because his wife has large breasts, and she’s not afraid to show them off. We may be a sensitive, mature society, but when it comes to a woman with big bazoomas, we are about as evolved as Sid James in a Carry On movie.
The story so far: Karen Danczuk, 32, became notorious when she began posting pictures of her impressive embonpoint on Twitter. This was regarded as unseemly behaviour for the wife of an MP (think Sally Bercow, only more brazen), with the result that her Twitter following went through the roof (she now has 54,000 followers), newspapers picked up on the embarrassment quotient for her husband, and she got a slot on Loose Women. An all-too-familiar, and rather depressing, story of modern day “celebrity”.
I wonder where Karen Danczuk fits in the feminist pantheon? Maybe she is the poster girl for the anti-feminist feminist. She may have achieved little else than turning her natural, physical assets into a career, but you could also say that she’s infiltrated two male-dominated worlds – politics and newspapers – and subverted the agenda to her own purposes. She said yesterday: “I’ve gone from fat, frumpy Karen to happy, confident and sexy Karen – and I can’t ignore that.” Maybe not, Karen, but you don’t have to thrust it, so to speak, in our faces at every opportunity.
For her appointment with photographers yesterday, Mrs Danczuk wore her gym kit, which comprised a low-cut singlet and skimpy shorts. She is an easy target, and there has been a certain disingenuousness about the coverage of the Danczuks’ marriage. She was the younger, restless woman who was determined to find a way to emerge from the shadow created by an ambitious political figure. But they are not the Clintons, and, at heart, this is an everyday story of a painful marriage break-up that is the most personal of tragedies. The crack cocaine of publicity is what drives some social media users on, and they can become so hooked on the drug that they lose all reason and judgement.
The advent of social media has left us susceptible to a feeling of self-importance, that everything we do is of interest to someone. Maybe there are some people who want to know what happened in the Danczuks’ bedroom. The rest of us should just feel their pain.