Thursday, February 14, 2013

How do you draw the line at royal privacy when others keep moving it?

Well, a few weeks back I asked for a royal scandal didn't I?

Okay, so no one has abdicated, or died or came out of the closet. (Geez, work with me people!) This time round it is just some photographs of Catherine's bump in a bikini frolicking on the beach with his/her parents to be.

*Gasp* Shock, horror!

Okay, maybe these photos are not that scandalous but if this is all I have to work with then so be it.

Photos of William and Catherine on holiday are nothing new. Photos of Catherine in a bikini, are also nothing new. So it was rather predictable that we would get photos of this holiday too. Inevitable. So predictable that if you bet money on whether there would be holiday photos you would win every time.

In this instance we have most of the ingredients for a semi-royal scandal. While no one has yet to tearfully express contrition, we do have columnists writing interesting opinion pieces about the press and privacy and how William should pick his battles. Some columnists gloss over the privacy issue and compliment Catherine how how beautiful she looks. So far royal reaction has been rather muted. Merely a statement expressing 'disappointment'. A true royal scandal has someone described as 'incandescent with rage' or 'seething'.  Note the difference.

Yes, it is all a fascinating insight into the continuing saga of William and Catherine's privacy. In the past I was frustrated and annoyed when I would see photos of Catherine off duty. Sometimes I felt I was the only one expressing indignation while others were completely okay with it. The pictures were fun, harmless, right? Not only that, we could use them to discuss what she was wearing. Forget privacy, where did she get those shoes from?

I've always felt, and I've stated this before, that to truly respect Catherine and William's privacy, no photos of them should be published when they are off duty. They are in private and deserve privacy. This should be rather straightforward, no? I'm well aware this isn't realistic but if those photos are OK the it was only a matter of time before we expected more. People pay lip service to the memory of Diana, while being just as invasive. People decide when they think the paparazzi have crossed the line and when they haven't. Some things seem to be okay, but yet others are not. For instance.

Photos of Catherine walking her dog are OK
Photos of her shopping are OK
Photos of her going for coffee are OK
Photos of her sunbathing topless are bad.
Photos of William and Catherine strolling on a beach with their dog in Wales are OK.
Photos of William and Catherine strolling on a beach in a Mustique are bad. (Maybe if the dog was there it would be okay?)

And how do people justify all of these incidents?

William and Catherine are in PUBLIC. Public being defined as being outdoors where people can see them. Does the location matter? Not really. Remember, they're outdoors and depending on how you feel about it, they don't own the locations they're photographed in, now do they? In effect, William and Catherine are fair game.

It seems that the the less clothing they have on, the more the outrage increases. Apparently it's okay to take pictures of them in public as long as they leave something to our imagination.

Interesting how people who justify the other incidents express indignation at these photos without realizing the public role in creating an appetite for them. Suddenly William and Catherine's privacy has been violated and someone else is to blame. (By the way. I call BS on people who claim they didn't search for the photos or look at them, citing 'respecting their privacy'.)

So I give up! I officially declare that I am now, deliberately, part of the problem (I always was but didn't want to admit it to myself until now.) Not because I dislike theses pictures, but because the line for their privacy keeps shifting. Because it does not stay in one place, it is very difficult to decipher where it truly belongs when one appearance in public is okay but another appearance in public is wrong.

When someone permanently draws a line in the sand about this issue, let me know.

© Marilyn Braun 2013

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1 comment:

Rman said...

Hi Marilyn,

I just think the royals privacy should be respected. They give so much of their lives publically and give the photographers what they want when they are out and about on ofiicial engagements. At least their vacations and very private outings should be off limits. I think they deserve a little time to themselves too.

Also, I think the media will truly have to behave themselves once that baby arrives. You know William & Catherine, The Queen & Prince of Wales won't tolerate that baby's privacy being violated. I think they will put their foot down someones throat before they allow that to happen.