Monday, September 17, 2012

Who is ultimately to blame for the Catherine Cambridge topless photos? We are

For the last few days I've read plenty of articles deploring the coverage of Catherine Cambridge's topless photos. Some vehemently blame the photographer and the publication, others blame Catherine for daring to sunbathe topless. I have yet to see an article blaming us too.

Now a lawsuit from William and Catherine for invasion of privacy because they feel that they had a 'reasonable expectation of privacy'.  Yes, they do have an expectation of privacy. They deserve it. But it's unfortunate that with the level of media interest in Kate and the fact that there are cameras everywhere, that expectation has become naive at best. 

Should she have kept her top on? Yes. If you're in a sanctimonious mood, you could say she she is a future queen and it's undignified. Point taken. Catherine does not lead the life she did before and she's fooling herself to think otherwise. Neither William nor Catherine can afford to become complacent. Given that any vacation they've taken, including their honeymoon, has been invaded by a photographer's lens, they should know better. It was inevitable that this vacation would be too. But the photographs from the other vacations seem to be OK. Justified in some way because they were in public, because what they do is of interest. Yet, these same arguments do not apply to this instance. Why? Because Catherine is topless.  If she wasn't topless, there would be no uproar. In fact, we'd probably be discussing designer of the bathing suit she was wearing and where we can buy it. Then it would be OK. Even though it is the same location, same photographer and same camera lens used.

I don't condone the topless photos. I don't condone any photos of Catherine taken outside of her royal duties. Why? Because if she deserves privacy sunbathing topless, she should also deserve it when she walks her dog, strolls on the beach, gets her hair done or shops for groceries. Justify those instances and we have created a slippery slope that leads to these photos.

This situation has been compared to the harassment Diana endured until her death. Why? Because those of us around at the time wanted more. Even going on a private vacation didn't deter photographers. Did she deserve privacy? Yes, she was no longer royal. Cut free from the expectations of royal duty, she no longer owed us anything. But we still wanted it, in one form or another until the we strangled the golden goose with our insatiable interest. Blame the drunk driver, but who was he trying to escape from? Our desire for Diana's image. 15 years later, the only thing that has changed is the subject.

The interest in Catherine is understandable, but it has consequences. The photographer would not have taken those photos, the publications would not buy or publish them if there wasn't interest. Make a story out of what she buys for dinner or a scar on her head, or the shoes she wears and it creates an insatiable appetite for more. Who wants more? We do.

Continue to blame the photographer, the publication and Catherine. We deserve some of the blame too. 

 © Marilyn Braun 2012

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Rman said...

A very fine article, Marilyn. I'm glad the Cambridges put their foot down and stood up for their rights for privacy. I know it wasn't easy for Catherine & William to go through that. What made me smile and feel proud of them is how much courage, strength and determination they showed on their Diamond Jubilee Tour. They didn't let this situation stop them from doing their duty of representing the Queen and flying the flag for the UK and Commonwealth. They simply did what they had to do and truly enjoyed their Jubilee Tour. I think they are an amazing team.

evan said...

Marilyn, I agree with this wholeheartedly.