The news world is all a-fluster after topless photos of Catherine The Duchess Formerly Known As Kate Middleton were published in French and Italian gossip magazines.
So straight up, I must confess my bias and say that I am a fan of England’s future queen. Obviously everything I know about Once Upon A Middleton, I’ve learned from a meticulously crafted media persona but given that that’s all I’m ever going to get, I’m perfectly happy believing that she is in fact, a fun gal with beautiful hair and great clothes, who just happens to be married to a big-time Prince.
And I’m also willing to believe that like many other women who work, travel, juggle family responsibilities and the pressures of being an international icon, when Kate gets some private down time with her partner, she lets it all hang out. Because life is about balance. Sometimes you’ve gotta let loose and do crazy shit, like, say, go topless in a place where baring female breasts IS TOTALLY NORMAL AND ACCEPTABLE and feel like that’s okay especially since you aren’t even on a beach but ON THE BALCONY OF A PRIVATE HOME and presumably no one is around but your partner because, once again, BALCONY OF A PRIVATE HOME.
The Internet is swirling with questions about whether or not someone as high profile as Kate of Cambridge has an expectation of privacy. YES, SHE HAS A FUCKING EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY!! Sure, when she’s out there getting royal wedding-ed, attending events and glad-handing the hoi polloi she is clearly prepared for the press to be all up in her grill. In her shoes, I’d frequently be photographed with stains on my clothes or tripping as I stepped out of the royal carriage, but Her Highness has done very well in her public life.
But having a public life/being a public person does not mean that have or should consent to your entire existence being public. Yes, Kate Middleton/Catherine The Duchess of Cambridge is one of the most famous women in the world, but that does not negate her humanity. She isn’t property. She’s a person. Part of her “job” as a high-ranking princess involves a lot of public responsibility. But when she’s off-duty, she, like anyone else, should be allowed to enjoy some legit relaxation. In fact, I’d argue it’s imperative that the public give the lady a little space – at least if they want her to continue being the dazzling, fresh-faced, people person she appears to be.
Most of Ms. Cambridge’s critics seem to be harshing on the princess based on three following arguments:
1. She’s Kate Middleton! She should have expected that paparazzi might be present and snapping photos.
2. She’s Kate Middleton! Baring one’s breasts is not behaviour befitting a princess.
3. She’s Kate Middleton! She has no right to complain. She knew what she was getting into when she married Prince William.
ARGH to all of that noise! The whole “celebrities should expect a certain degree of invasive treatment because they chose to be famous” argument has never sat well with me. It feels very close to the rationale that women who dress in short tight clothing shouldn’t complain about being harassed or assaulted because, listen, slutty – you chose that revealing gear. In this case, the argument irritates me even more, because The Duchess Kat is famous in a very different way than say, a Hollywood actor. Kate Middleton is not a person who purposely sought the limelight. She was a woman in college who fell for a guy who happened to be the heir presumptive to the British Throne. Cynics may disagree – but I assume that her falling in love with a high profile person was random and largely out of her control. She didn’t seek out the media, the media came to her. And yes, she and her people have been shrewd in using the press…but she didn’t start this.
As for princesses not baring breasts, why not? Is there something inherently debasing about boobs? I’d be more sympathetic to that argument if she’d done it in a country with a more modest culture. Even then I’d be more concerned about about flaunting a lack respect for said culture. The idea that boobs are icky and unprincess-y is ridiculous. It’s also absurd that the world at large is waiting with baited breath for the Palace to announce that Caths is up-the-duff, yet evidence that she indulges in topless sexytimes with her partner is scandalously inappropriate. Listen, haters – if you want the pitter-patter of little royal feet, you gotsta let a princess get her top off and her freak on! Jeez.
And no, no, no, no, no, no, she should absolutely NOT expect paparazzi where ever she goes. Neither should we. I understand that photo journalists have to make pay like everyone else. I get that a Kit Cambridge photo is worth a lot of money. I don’t care. If your living as a photographer depends on being gross and a creeper, then switch careers! It isn’t Kate’s responsibility to assume she’s being captured on camera 24/7. Members of the media are capable of exercising discretion, restraint and NOT STALKING WOMEN ON THEIR VACATIONS. What’s more, we as media consumers can hold the media, not its unwitting subjects, responsible when they violate the rules of basic human decency.
So hail the Future Queen of England! You seem like a really cool, interesting woman with a high pressure life. You probably really needed a break. I’m sorry your vacation got ruined by all this shitty topless nonsense. If you’re ever in Ottawa again, feel free to stop by my place. We can eat ice cream, watch dance movies and bitch into the wee hours of the night. If not, I will remain enamoured of your public image and wish you well from afar. Because this whole unfortunate incident is a good reminder that even though you’re a princess, you are first and foremost a person!