The Vagenda

Kate’s Middletons: The Naked Truth

So a thing happened this week. You may have possibly heard about it. If not, I can only assume that you’ve recently awoken from a long coma, in which instance allow me to be the first to tell you that the recession was definitely over by Christmas, everyone got free tickets to the Olympics and Boris is the new Prime Minister.

T’was the Duchess of Cambridge’s breasts. So two things, I guess, technically.

In a move distinctly of the ‘ah, to hell with it, let’s do it anyway’ variety, the French version of Closer broke France’s own strict privacy laws in order to print topless snaps of the Duchess of Cambridge holidaying in a private villa with her husband. And they got away with it, too. Presumably due to the absence of any meddling kids.

With the pictures quickly spreading throughout the international press even after the injunction was taken out in France, a holiday photo has never caused so much chaos. Hourly news bulletins inform us in gleeful hysterics that yet another country/magazine/planet has published the photos (see this and this). Choice quote from the whole thing from start to finish, kindly provided by gossipmonger and general disturber of the peace, Carina Loefkvist, editor-in-chief of the Swedish mag See and Hear: ‘It is always relevant for us when a duchess and the future Queen of England is topless.’ Course it is, Carina, course it is. FYI, every time she changes her tights or pops in the shower – relevant for Sweden, everyone! In fact, it’s totally cool and hunky-dory for them to print the photos in the first place – even if it weren’t of great national interest to a country on the Scandinavian Peninsula – seeing as Kate ‘WILLINGLY REVEAL[ED] her breasts TOWARDS a public road’. 

Yep. That’s right: towards. Towards a public road. From half a mile away. If that’s the definition of flashing these days, then frankly we’re all in a hell of a lot of trouble. Thanks again, See And Hear, for saving our dignity before we flagrantly brandished our naked showering bodies in the general direction of New York City, in an accidental act of punishable exhibitionism.

So, in contrast to the Swedes, Kate’s nips have served up a nice hot cup of outrage all around for the British press. Interestingly, this holds true even from the red tops, for whom a little decorative breasting doesn’t usually cause so much as an eyelid flicker, let alone a bat.  Indeed, Sun editor Dominic Mohan flatly refused to print the pictures – despite the newspaper’s well-known usual stance on breasts (that they absolutely belong to The Sun, and are absolutely fair game, and absolutely of interest to the general public. They’re relevant. Goddammit, they’re patriotic.) They did, however, merrily print not only a cheery mock-up of the naked photos of Prince Harry earlier this month – we can only assume as a sort of teaser preview before the grand unveiling  of the real-life birthday suit. But not a smidgeon of an areola in Kate’s case. Nope. Royal breasts are not allowed.

Which provides an intriguing little niggle in the whole affair.

Harry getting himself into a spot of bother with no clothes on after a few too many dizzy waters did not, dare we say it, provide much of a shock value in comparison with the privacy invasion of the ‘whiter than white’ Duchess. Fair enough – but with the new crusaders of all photos moral, The Sun, happily printing Harry’s photos and not Kate’s, and with no injunction taken out whatsoever on them, it seems as if Kate’s body is worth more to the Palace than Harry’s. And we’re not the only ones who have thought this: see here.
AND despite the complete gender portrayal U-turn, as it shall henceforth be known, of the British press regarding pictures of boobs, the runaway success of the breasts, sorry, photos, internationally seems to suggest that the female body as a general rule is worth quite a bit more financially as well.

Interesting. And perhaps a little sad that despite the unnamed photographer recently spotted legging it as far away from Paris as he can, in a world where boobs equal megabucks, was apparently male, most of the key players in the Middleton saga seemed to be other women. French Closer editor Laurence Pieau is the reason we’re all having this conversation, women’s glossies broke the story, Valerie Suau has piped up with film of the Duchess sunbathing and of course, of course, our new friend Carina Loefkvist stuck her oar in. It seems that women in the media nowadays are all too often happy to jump on the pervy bandwagon.

So where do we stand on breasts anymore, as a society? Nobody is quite sure – apart from those half a mile away, of course, behind a tree. 
- JL

15 thoughts on “Kate’s Middletons: The Naked Truth

  1. A couple of points.
    I thought the photographer in the Kate issue is female? It’s a gross violation of privacy, regardless.

    Men’s bodies are not viewed by society as a whole the same as women’s. I dunno… if someone has got a photo of Harry’s cock, then I suspect the price may be pretty high, but even so, it wouldn’t be the same as for Kate’s front bottom.

    But Harry’s photos were taken under different circumstances and apart from the Royal / army officer angle, I suspect Harry couldn’t actually give a shit. Whereas with Kate, it’s almost a species of sexual assault.

    The way men and women view their bodies is different. Even on a Med beach, few women enjoy being ogled or photographed topless or nude. (I am not conflating the issue of porn actresses / models here: I’m talking about the average lass of the Clapham Omnibus). You can’t argue about this or blame the Patriarchy. If you do, then I suggest you go for a walk in Trafalgar Square tomorrow, topless. Not up for it? I wouldn’t blame you.

  2. If I went for a walk topless in Trafalgar Square tomorrow I would be arrested. If my boyfriend or any member of the male species went for a topless walk in Trafalgar Square tomorrow, they might get a bit chilly, but they won’t get arrested. Indeed in summer, many blokes do. But women can’t. There is a law against it for women.

    This example might sound trivial, but actually I don’t think how men and women view their bodies is integral to their biology, but rather reflects how society views their bodies. For example, it used to be that baring your ankles was just as scandalous as baring you breasts, but now it’s not – because times have changed.

    That men’s bodies are viewed differently to women’s is an issue for argument – why should it be so? And it is something that disempowers women, legislating women’s bodies and constantly viewing women’s bodies in a way to please men (I refer you to the Sun, page 3). So, yes, it is an issue to take up with the patriarchy.

  3. What’s really repulsive about the whole thing is that this woman has been reduced to nothing more than the sum of her parts (not forgetting her womb – thank you Richard Desmond’s Channel 5 for the sordid little program about whether she’s pregnant or not). It’s insulting.
    And revealing that no matter how much these female editors know it’s upsetting another woman to print the photos, they do it anyway. That’s solidarity for ya.
    Oh, and I try not to stand on breasts but sometimes they get in the way when I’m attempting yoga.

  4. I think one key difference between the Great Kate Boobage Scandal and the Horrendous Harry and his Sausage Scandal is that, although people said how disgracefully Harry had behaved (shock, horror, soldier takes keks off while on leave, end of the Empire, probably down to foreigners anyway, things ain’t how they used to be, bla bla bla), I felt there was a bit of an undercurrent of ‘Wahey, what a lad, good on ya, etc etc…’ while for Kate, there’s a bit of a sanctimonious ‘Well, she had NO TOP on! In a private residence! Half a mile from the road! She only has herself to blame, the TOPLESS HUSSY!’ running alongside the ‘Look at the nasty foreign paparazzi – we would never dream of invading privacy in this way’ vibe being desperately pushed by our own dear, Leveson-beseiged red-top press. Double-standards, much… partly a gender thing, but also partly a class thing too I think (Kate wasn’t born a Princess and there are certain newspapers that will never forget that – so they use this to imply that this is a sign of her ‘common roots’). It leaves a nasty taste.

  5. Surely no coincidence that the British media, normally so contemptuous of women and so willing to objectify, pornify and generally expose all other women, is bursting into paeans of sanctimonious royalism. ‘Kate’ is the ultimate anti-feminist. She has betrayed every single progressive value for women: no wonder the bastions of British misogyny love her and want to protect her…

  6. Sadly something that is up for debate. There was a big discussion about making it illegal to breastfeed in council buildings recently (libraries for example). People seem to feel that it should be done in private areas behind curtains. No boobs on display. A women got asked to leave a council building for breastfeeding, but then they did have to turn it around and give permission.

  7. Teabag, I’m interested why you think Kate is anti-feminist. I thought feminism was about having a choice? She’s not saying that all women should give up their careers and marry a prince. It’s what she’s chosen to do. She’s not my idol but I don’t dislike her for her lifestyle decisions.

    This isn’t a jibe, I’m genuinely interested!

  8. This entire situation is a gross invasion of privacy. Kate was in a location deemed to be private, and it’s no-one else’s business what she does when she’s relaxing, heir to the throne or not.

  9. Yes, feminism is about having a choice, but it is also and to me maybe even more so about being aware of and taking responsibility for the culture in which we are making our choices.
    While I don’t see it as inherently wrong to marry a prince, if you are unlucky enough to fall in love with one of those, I think it is really sad to see all those supposedly bright, highly educated, young(ish) women who populate the royal families of Europe embrace such archaic ways of being princesses, devoting all their time to family life and if they do take on a patronage it’s usually something with children or animals, bake-sale here we come!
    The Danish Queen once said she was happy to have had only boys, since they really were most suited to inherit the crown and the Swedish King has never made a secret of the fact that it is a dark cloud in his life, that his son had to take second place after his daughter when the succession-laws were changed. Yes, they both belong to an older generation, but I really, really hope we will never hear anything like that again and that these younger women will speak out against it, should it happen.

  10. It amazes me that seeing womens’ breasts in a National Newspaper is fine whereas trying to breast-feed your baby in a public place considered distasteful by many. So, boobs out in the open for titilation (excuse crap pun) and to encourage ‘sexy feelings’ in men is fine but feeding of child is bad. God people are wankers.