Now that Kate Middleton is engaged to Prince William she has become fair game to criticisms about her appearance. Not that she didn't have her fair share of them beforehand but the criticisms were aimed mainly at her employment status and her daring to wait for a proposal; which earned her the unflattering nickname 'Waity Katie.'
Prior the her engagement, except for a few items of clothing, her personal appearance was less of a focus. To tear her down would have broken the spell, minimizing the illusion of her as the perfect candidate. A Cinderella in waiting cannot be expected to be perfect if our fantasies doesn't require her to be. It was her ordinariness that made the possibility real to the rest of us.
The engagement announcement changed that. Copies of Kate's engagement dress may sell out, her ring might be in high demand, she may be tall and beautiful, but there is always room for improvement. Like Diana, Kate will be scrutinized from head to toe, in minute detail. For the rest of her life. It's enough to make less fortunate souls run for the hills. Without her face on the tea-towels we're giving her way out. Shouldn't we be giving Kate second thoughts after the ring is on her finger and there is no escape?
Now the pressure is on Kate to be perfect; lest it shatter the illusion of what a princess is supposed to be. For the rest of her life Kate cannot have PMS, she cannot have a pimple, or a run in her stocking. People will expect her to be well-dressed and smile at all times. Anything less than this raises ire.
But Kate shouldn't be too perfect because then she would be out of reach and we can't relate to that. Because we're not perfect it would no longer be possible for us to become a princess too. Then we would have no choice but to knock her off her pedestal. She should be well-dressed, but not too well-dressed. She should wear new clothes, but not too many new clothes. She should recycle her clothes only when the mood strikes us. Everyday will be a bad hair day when we want her to change it. It's only a matter of time before we get around to her weight and that won't please us either. Is it any wonder that Diana had an eating disorder?
People will deplore the amount of coverage on Kate's appearance yet be oblivious to our contribution to it. As long as she looks good, will it matter to us if she cracks under the pressure?
Somehow I doubt it.
© Marilyn Braun 2011
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