Poverty Porn: Why do Benefits Carry Such a Stigma in 2016? – The London Economic

Poverty Porn: Why do Benefits Carry Such a Stigma in 2016?

By Deborah Hodge

There has been a surge in poverty porn programmes of late.

One of the most controversial was “the great British Benefits Handout” giving households £24K in cash to come off benefits and plotting their progress.

A close second is the Channel 5 programme about people’s lives on benefits which I appeared on in the episode aired on Thursday 11th August.

The tabloid media reaction to the people involved is always one of disgust and this was certainly true of me:

On Benefits viewers furious over scrounger using handout money to find fame” – The Daily Star

Having experienced first-hand the negative media reaction to me being on benefits I am very aware of the deep stigma attached.

Changing one fact alone can completely open up a barrage of benefits haters to freely troll at will.

Taken from the Mail online femail section: Single mother who left her teaching job to pursue fame has been claiming £24,000 in benefits for TWO YEARS as she still hasn’t had her big break. 

It would be absolutely insane to leave a stable, secure and solid job such as teaching to pursue “fame”. Especially being a parent.

The inevitable trolls at the end of the articles were actually quite right to be negative, based on the information provided.

If I had left my secure teaching job to pursue fame and live on £24K a year when my rent alone is £12.6K a year that would be monumentally stupid.

Of course I understand the rationale behind the piece: sensation sells. I was ready for this so I am in no way affected as I am sure the truth will come out.

I left my job to return back to Bexleyheath with four shellshocked children.

People only need to read my first novel which was my catharsis after so much abuse and heartache.

One would also only need to ask how I got the two rather prominent scars on my face.

IMG_3029

Returning home two years ago with them was not the romantic affair the tabloids would have readers believe: where I skipped back to live closer to streets paved with gold.

It was one of the most challenging experiences of our lives.

It’s hard to explain to someone who has not been through domestic abuse; the devastating affect it has on your children.

We were living in a small house with someone who was very rapidly suffering a mental breakdown resulting in him being sectioned.

My children and I saw and experienced things which left us shell shocked. I’m not sure the trauma will ever fully leave us.

Appearing on the channel 5 programme about benefits was a measured risk. One of the biggest I have ever taken.

I knew exactly what I was getting into.

I’m pleased with how they represented me overall. I am certainly not fitting into any “norm” and they depicted my creativity well. I came across as articulate, driven and my art has attracted a lot of attention.

It seems a small price to pay to have some negative press from skewed journalism.

The daily star piece which could not even spell my name correctly was to me genuinely funny. Even though people were “outraged” at the fact I had gone to a premier of a film I appeared in they still gave me a back handed compliment about my creative talents.

The outrage that I would actually want to buy my own property stunned some people. This did leave me confused: why is wanting a forever home for my children so bad.

Why is there such an underlying culture of hate in our country?

Discrimination is still real and tangible.

The grotesquely rising house prices led me to stand for London Mayor.

They also pushed me into doing things that may on the surface seem insane but what do we have to do in 2016 to buy a property?

Yes, wearing a rhino dress to a premier may seem extreme but it did of course attract attention.

As became apparent in the television and media, having four children by four different fathers is still very much a cause for discrimination which was slightly upsetting.

I for one am proud of our benefits system. Without it my family would have fallen apart and we may have been split up.

We live in a country where there is a safety net and never again will I judge those who have fallen on hard times.

This week has also had another unexpected turn.

I am down to the final 50 in “The Perfect World Project” out of over 5,000.

It is a brand new TV show, where a group of 10 people are transported to a luxurious villa on an island. There they will compete against each other for the chance to win the ultimate prize:

An all access perfect world black card loaded with a six figure sum….

My perfect world isn’t filled with yacht’s and champagne, as you can see from my entry video, I again reiterate that we want Norman: Our small and quirky home.

I need over 6,000 votes to get through to the next stage and I hope anyone reading this who understands what we have been through will vote for me.

The six figure sum would immediately help towards our house Norman.

The travel could be used to begin my campaign to fully get into politics.

We could literally change our lives and then others for the better.

Not everyone is a benefit scrounger. Yes, we stand out from the crowd and I will do anything to get “noticed”.

Yet I wonder at how JK Rowling is held up as a national treasure. If she had raised her head above the parapet whilst she was writing her novels when she was by admission as poor as you can possibly be; would she have experienced the same reaction from trolls and negativity in the press?

The perfect World could be a step closer to Norman.

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3 Responses

  1. Hwils

    I dont get why LE publishes this lady. She is not writing articles worth reading, it is all sob sob ‘look at me’ selfish nonsense. There are far worse off families in the world and I hate to say it, but, most women wouldn’t put their children through 4 weeks of abuse to their mother, let ALONE 4 YEARS

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