Earlier this week, the German tabloid Bild attracted a great deal of criticism for publishing photos of Kate Middleton's skirt blowing up in the wind, revealing her "bare bottom," as the British papers have all referred to it. And now, an Australian newspaper has followed in Bild's ignominious footsteps — with the addition of some rather gross and misguided justification.
According to the Mirror, the Sydney Daily Telegraph ran the photos, along with an editorial decrying the UK media's insistence that such pictures shouldn't be widely published and disseminated (online, the editorial is accompanied by images that have been blurred out).
The editorial, written by Anette Sharp, is titled "Why should the media stick to an antiquated code of etiquette when Kate doesn't bother to protect her own modesty?" (Side note: AS IF "protecting one's modesty" isn't as fucking antiquated of a concept as "sticking to a code of etiquette.") The piece reads like a poor — and remarkably sexist and misguided — justification for violating a famous woman's privacy. In some particularly egregious parts, it's like Ayn Rand does upskirt photography:
Over the decades the media have been consistently fairly kind to the royal family — the British media almost universally respectful of the royal decree that the royal family's privacy should be maintained and their dignity upheld as it is in the best interests of the royal family and therefore, by association, their value to the British economy.
But it seems a bit ridiculous to expect the rest of the world's media to follow suit, particularly in a world in which flesh and commercialism go hand in hand.
"If the Duchess can't be bothered protecting herself by having hem weights sewn into her garments," concludes Sharp, "why should the media protect her?"
That sort of worldview is cynical at best and terrifying at worst: "If women don't take every feasible precaution to prevent the forces of nature from exposing parts of their bodies to the press, how can the press be expected to stop obsessively following them around with cameras in the hopes that they might snap a photo of an momentarily-exposed erogenous zone? I know that we, the editors of the Daily Telegraph, have created a system in which celebrity creepshots have an immensely high market value, but, hey, it's not our fault that flesh and commercialism go hand in hand!" Seriously, shut up.
The problem isn't that the press ought to respect Kate Middleton for being royal. It's that the press ought to respect women — all women, royal and non-royal — enough to not turn their momentary "wardrobe malfunctions" into salacious stories to be broadcast to millions of people. Sadly, that's very unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Image via Getty.