Kate Middleton’s breasts are in the news again today. Chi, which is the Italian sister magazine to the French magazine Closer which published photos last week of Middleton topless, today released a large spread of photos. Interestingly enough, both magazines are owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. There is a part of me that wants to scream, really people, they’re breasts and these cannot be the first pair you have seen, get over it.
The British royal family, incensed by what it calls an invasion of its privacy, was preparing to pursue legal action in France later on Monday against the unidentified person who took the photographs.
A spokesman for the couple said, “The complaint concerns the taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of those photographs in breach of their privacy.”
I believe that the royal family has a point. The press literally stalked Diana to her death and even took photos of her as she lay dying, which were later published. I believe that the family is essentially drawing a line in the sand and saying emphatically that no one is to cross it. They know damn well that now that these photos have hit the internet that they will always be a part of the public domain. I am sure that the objective now, is to make it very expensive for any other magazine or photographer who seeks to invade their privacy in the future, the problem of course is that a magazine will take into account the likely hood of being sued and then weigh it against sales. The truth of the matter is that these photos have become public not out of a desire to uphold freedom of the press as Marina Berlusconi suggested, but to make profit from the public obsession with the royal family.
There are those who argue that she should have known that this would happen the moment that she considered removing her top and that it’s the cost for living with such utter privilege. This suggests that one can never have a private moment. Wills and Kate were after all vacationing at a private chateau away from what they were thought were prying eyes, but if there is even the smallest line of sight, someone will snap a photo.
I went back and forth when the original photos were released to the public because I could not get past Middleton’s privilege. She is White, straight, able bodied and incredibly wealthy. Middleton lives a life that most of us cannot imagine; however, it’s all occurring in a fishbowl of sorts. It’s far too easy to dismiss this as rich, White, Western woman problems and move the hell on. What made me pause is the fact that not only did they invade her privacy, the gossip rags used her body for profit without her permission, thus completely denying Middleton’s agency regarding her own body. Women no matter their status, socially should have the right to have their body’s respected rather than preyed upon for cheap voyeurism. When she married Wills, she didn’t sign up to have her breasts displayed to the entire world and whether the press or the photographer admits it or not, what they captured was an intensely private moment between husband and wife. Anytime a woman’s body is used without her express permission for the purposes of titillation, it’s exploitation. At the end of the day, Kate is still a woman and subject to patriarchy as a systemic force.
What are your thoughts on the release of these photos?