So now we know what Kate Middleton’s ta-tas look like. Wow. Yawn. Move on.
Except I can’t.
Not because the fact of them is noteworthy, but because of what this whole storm in a royal teacup says about us – and for us – in the kitchen.
If you don’t already know, the Duchess was photographed sun-tanning topless at the French château of the Queen’s nephew, Lord Linley. The pics were published in French rag, Closer.
The reaction to the photos spanned from outrage to smirks of disdain. Their Royal Highnesses were ‘hugely saddened’ by the incident, they sued, they won and that was that.
But I’ve been so interested to watch the reaction to this. Because it’s more than just her boobs.
Majority response from the commoners has settled on the ‘public figure/public property’ argument – that because she’s in the public eye she should’ve expected to be photographed and should therefore have kept her bikini on.
The violation of her privacy was her fault, see.That a photographer was able to take a photo of her in a private residence while standing on a public road almost 1 km away using a telephoto lens is her responsibility to prevent. If she had just kept her clothes on this would never have happened.
It’s an argument that starts smacking of the ‘well she should’ve known better than to wear a miniskirt’ line we’ve all come to know and loathe...
Privacy is a matter of law in most countries – the UK and SA are no different. Whether you’re a celeb or a pleb, if you’re on public property anyone can take your pic without your permission.The minute you’re on private property, however, your right to privacy is protected under law.
Lens stalkers, like the one who took Kate’s pic, often argue that their prey is visible from the public sphere. But what does ‘visible’ mean when you need heavy-weight tech to make out even a blurry image?
Of course, why should we care about telephoto lenses and paps and privacy? We’re not celebs, so no one cares about us enough to want to snap our chi-chis, right?
But our insatiable urgency to both equalise the famous with us ‘normal’ humans – Look! Armpit hair! Saggy boobs! Cellulite!
Beaten, broken and abused! YAY! – or create them out of mediocrity (Kim K anyone?), has driven a culture of voyeurism that suggests personal space is something that happens on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.
If you think Kate was responsible for the violation on her privacy, I suggest you quietly start rethinking how smartphones and social media – and how they’re managed by people around you – are starting to infringe on yours.
You remember that @home Facebook wall disaster last year, when an irate man posted a picture of his (ex)girlfriend – one of their employees, if I recall – giving him a blowjob?
Sure, she consented to having the pic taken (maybe), but does she relinquish all rights to how it’s used after that? How many nudies have you sent your boyfriend? Do you consent to having them shared publicly by the act of allowing them to be taken?
And what about that Twitter bitch-bandwagon we love to strap ourselves to: Tweets of ‘Here, look at this arsehole parked like an arsehole’ or ‘Here look at this fat chick in this bikini #gross’ attached to snaps we’ve taken with our smartphones ... all super funny, until it’s you in the picture.
What would it mean to you if someone decided to photograph you, your sister or your partner (or child) in a private, presumably protected safe space without your permission and in a compromising position and post it for all to see on a public forum?
Whose ‘fault’ would your lack of choice be then? Hell, we can’t untag ourselves fast enough in unflattering party pics on Facebook...
It is far too easy to oversimplify this matter of Kate’s topless pics as brouhaha about nothing, but we need to start rethinking what privacy means and who we believe has a right to it.
Some empathy and a little perspective will go a long way to padding the fall if something similar should happen to you one day.
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