Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. Except what it the woman scorned is Kate Middleton who is seemingly not allowed to have any fury, and the scorning done was to point out that she is furyless?
Earlier this month, multiple Book Prize winning author Hilary Mantel gave an hour-long lecture for the London Review of Books on the subject of "Royal Bodies." The lecture examined the role of women in the monarchy and how they are created to be seen in a certain image. Mantel is quoted with saying that Kate Middleton, for example, is a "machine-made" model of perfection going from the "perfect bride to the perfect mother." She also described the duchess as "plastic" and someone who was put on this planet to just have royal babies.
England's Daily Mail newspaper was livid, saying that Mantel was "attacking" Kate, and they are not the only ones across the pond that are pissed. Quite a few other media sources have come to the defense of Kate. Even the Prime Minister stood up for the pregnant princess mentioning what a lovely young woman she was.
Others are applauding Mantel and defending her statements. Taken out of context, calling the princess "plastic" may have sounded a lot worse than she actually meant it to be, and really the author was making a commentary about how these royal women are treated in the media. Nah, even taken out of context being called plastic is pretty harsh.
But what is Mantel saying exactly? Is Kate Middleton being forced to be Barbie-like? If she was weird and quirky and, God forbid, not stick thin, would the public dump on her? Probably. But a weird, quirky, fat princess would never happen. Mantel brings up Diana in her argument stating "Diana was capable of transforming herself from galumphing schoolgirl to ice queen, from wraith to Amazon." So Kate is fake and Diana was real because she showed her bitchy side sometimes?
Perhaps Diana was allowed to show her true colors a bit more than Ms. Middleton but it was the '80s and there weren't cameras following Diana into the loo. Life was a bit different; being a size eight was cool and people actually wanted their shoulders to look bigger. We live in very altered times.
I get that even if Mantel was making a subtle dig at Kate, the bigger picture is that perhaps we (you and me) are at fault here. We nitpick her every move down to her wedding dress, we put her in hot and not categories against her own sister and that one day she was bloated from eating tacos we called her pregnant, oh wait, she was pregnant. Seriously, maybe Mantel is right and we need to lay off the princess a bit.
That being said, the question still remains: Is Kate plastic? I have my doubts. True, she looks like a super-human robot alien who never has a bad hair day and has a smaller waist than one of those Brats dolls and her perma-smile is whiter than Clorox bleach. But that doesn't mean she's a Plastic? Maybe she is just absurdly happy. She's a fucking princess; why wouldn't she be happy? She just got married to one of the most famous men in the world and it seems like she genuinely loves him. She's pregnant and is going to be a mom and she gets awesome seats at the Olympics and fashion designers make clothing just for her. The chick has a commemorative porcelain doll made in her likeness! Wouldn't you be smiling all the time?
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I think there is something to be said in terms of the way we treat our celebrities and what we expect of them as people. This is true about America's royalty too, Beyonce, Angelina, whoever. We watch them under a microscope waiting for the moment that they screw up and lip-sync the national anthem so we can collectively call them out on it. It's sad but not for them. It's sad for us that we have nothing better to focus our attention on.
Should we go easy on these people? Probably. Will we? No. It's their duty to be scrutinized. Whether these royal personalities like it or not, being revered and hated simultaneously was on the job description. And they applied for the gig with their eyes wide open.
I think Kate Middleton is probably a lovely woman who gets PMS sometimes like the rest of us but doesn't feel the need to Tweet about it because it would be tacky given her place in life. Would I be her friend? Probably not because I assume she likes Coldplay, but that doesn't make her "fake."
By the way, the princess (as of now) hasn't come out to bitch about this lecture on the media's abuse of her, only those in the media have. So there you go.