On The Flip Side
Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
Recently, Kate Middleton has been under constant scrutiny in the media due to a series of topless photos that have been released in several European publications and seen around the world. While many have since come to the defense of the young duchess, others quickly took the opportunity to critique and scrutinize her. In the wake of this madness, which came soon after Prince Harry’s own Vegas scandal, people are debating who is really to blame. Is it the paparazzi’s ruthless, no-holds barred attitude or simply the result of living as a part of the Royal family?
ROYAL VICTIMS, PAST AND PRESENT:
The publication of Kate Middleton’s recent topless photos is not only a blatant disrespect for privacy, but are also the quintessential display of corruption in our media-dominated culture. The world thought that Kate Middleton was perfect, beautiful, refined, flawless—that she could do no wrong. Yet once the simple words “photo scandal” are placed in the same sentence with her name, popular culture is so quick to criticize her. Yet what exactly are we blaming her for? She is a human being—we seem to all be forgetting that.
Regardless of her title and her husband’s title, Kate is simply a newly married woman, attempting to settle into her recent marriage with her husband and start a family of her own. Marriage in itself is sacred, and the fact that anyone would deliberately breach the sanctity of these two people’s relationship is disrespectful and wrong. Kate was sunbathing in private with her husband—not a forbidden act. She was at a private villa—not a public beach. Also, keep in mind that this woman is trying to have a baby! Can we give her no privacy? No relief from constant media harassment? We can blame it on the paparazzi, but we fuel this. We’re the ones who buy the magazine no matter how wrong we think it is.
The photographer who took the photos was reported to be far away from the couple’s location and using a high definition lens. Needless to say, she wasn’t flaunting it—he had to dedicate a lot of effort to getting this shot. This is in no way equivalent to the recent Prince Harry scandal. Kate was not acting carelessly or recklessly. She was alone with her husband, and whether they are indoors or outdoors, they are entitled to their privacy.
Not too long ago, the Royal family underwent a lot of heartache at the expense of the paparazzi. Princess Diana was killed as the result of a desperate attempt to give the public a slight glimpse into her private life. And now Kate, the daughter-in-law whom she was never able to meet, faces the same harassment. It is absurd to think the Royal family does not have a right to ban these photos from tabloids and it is even more preposterous for any consumer of popular culture to think Kate is to blame. We seem to think that celebrities and royals are a different species, impenetrable and perfected. I think it is time for people to see that this is a normal married woman, and we have no right to criticize her private and personal life.
REALIZING THE GRAVITY OF A JOB:
The world sure is seeing a lot of the Royal family in recent days, and in ways we would have never imagined. First, there were Prince Harry’s wild escapades in Vegas, exposing all of him for the world to see, and now, it’s the young duchess’ turn. As everyone takes in the various sides of the story, anticipating the family’s next move, there seems to be an incessant need to place the blame somewhere, on someone. That is where the photographer, who snapped these photos, comes into play, and while it might seem cruel, considering the tragic experience with paparazzi that the royal family has already had to deal with, this person is not to blame.
Now, then, who is to blame? We would be crazy to think that Kate is the answer to that question, because she is not. However, she did accept the proposal of Prince William with full knowledge of what she was getting into. She knew how ruthless the paparazzi were, and how personal it is for her husband and his family. Sure, this situation is a little different than Princess Diana’s. She was on a secluded beach in a private villa, not driving on a public highway, but nonetheless, as technology rapidly progresses, the privacy of those in high-profile positions shrinks.
Professional-grade cameras can capture images from miles upon miles away, and as is expected from the paparazzi, this photographer who snapped Kate’s exposed top-half is reported to have been using one of these cameras plus a powerful lens. When reports of a private villa being rented out to two members of the royal family fly about, it is only expected that people will stalk the surrounding area for a glimpse. This glimpse just so happened to be published in several newspapers and across the world. That’s the price of living in the public eye in a time when the world is obsessed with the lives of both people they know and don’t know.
Sympathy is not lacking for the prince and the duchess, but they are part of the Royal family. She must have known, deep down, that her topless sunbathing would be seen by someone, somewhere. In a time of modern media obsession, where privacy is soon growing extinct, and everyday folks are frequently “Facebook stalked” by one another, if Kate Middleton thought anything else, she was sadly mistaken and clearly out of touch.