Oh yay! Just what our Friday needed. Another nude photo scandal involving Kate Middleton. This time, there are “bottomless photos” published in a Danish tabloid, Se og Hør. Except I hate to kill the excitement for anyone thinking that the Duchess will be sprawled out on a lawn chair completely nude, soaking in the rays, but these are not scandalous or salacious pictures. The newest invasion of privacy is a picture of Middleton changing her swimsuit bottoms. She’s leaning over with a towel draped over her shoulders, changing into a different swimsuit that’s a little less risque. Presumably, they were headed to the beach and she wanted to cover up a little bit. Ironic, huh?
You won’t find me reprinting the photos, or even linking to them. Head to Google if you’re really desperate to catch a blurry glimpse of the royal nether regions. I don’t think you’ll really learn much.
This newest round of media scrutiny has done one thing though. While I still firmly believe that it doesn’t change Kate Middleton’s status as a role model at all, I do think this little scandal demonstrates just how important it is for us to talk to our daughters about public perception and exploitation. After the first photo scandal, I said:
“As a mom, I don’t want my daughter to ever see these photos or know they exist. It has nothing to do with worrying about my daughter seeing someone’s breasts. It’s because I don’t want her to see a woman shamed in the public eye for daring to take her top off when she thought she was sharing a private moment with her husband. I don’t want my daughter to know how quick the world is to exploit and disgrace a woman for any innocent gesture they can manipulate.”
Now, after weeks of this scandal has drug out, after multiple magazines have continued to exploit the photos, I have to acknowledge that we can’t just ignore the media’s disgusting behavior. We really need to talk to our daughters, to prepare them for the sad world they’re entering into.
Kate Middleton was changing her freaking swimsuit. She was sunbathing with her husband while on vacation at a private home. This woman was not asking for attention. She was not trying to be sexy or scandalous. These are the most innocent nude photos you could ever come up with. And yet, the media turns these innocuous moments into huge stories. They exaggerate and make insinuations, so that the photos will fit a make-believe narrative that they think will sell the best.
Our girls need to be aware that this is what happens in the real world. As Mommyish EIC Koa Beck said when we were discussing these photos, “A photo of you changing could have been liked on Facebook 60 times before you even finish changing.” In the digital media age, people can take any action, any show of skin, and morph it into something dirty or provocative.
I am not saying that our girls should be scared or afraid to show any piece of their body in public. But I do think that they need to be aware of the danger that’s out there. They need to think about who might be watching and what a seemingly-innocent public moment can turn into.
In the beginning, I didn’t want my daughter to know that such awful exploitation existed. But seeing how widespread it’s become, I don’t think that moms can afford to ignore it. Plenty of people have already shamed Kate Middleton. They brush aside her breach of privacy by saying, “She should’ve known better.” That might be the wrong way to shift the blame, but I don’t want people to be saying that about my daughter someday, either.