Monday, March 11, 2013

Oh no, the sky is falling! Catherine Cambridge has been criticized yet again!

Seems Catherine Cambridge cannot cut a break after yet another older, accomplished woman has the temerity to express a two sentence critical opinion about Catherine Cambridge - Beloved, national treasure who has never put a foot wrong.

We will never know what Catherine thinks about radio host Sandi Toksvig opinion about her lack of opinion. (Whom Daily Mail has irrelevantly pointed out is middle-aged lesbian with three children). Much like we will never know what Catherine's thoughts are regarding Hilary Mantel's lecture. Of course Catherine cannot be expected to defend herself against everyone who dares to say something critical. It would be a full-time job and would make no difference whatsoever.

Some suggest that Catherine should emulate the Queen by becoming apolitical. Voicing no opinion for all these years has worked so successfully for the Queen, surely Catherine can follow suit? Look at the other royal women who don't offer opinions: Birgitte Gloucester, Princess Alexandra, Kate Kent. Quiet and under the radar, do they even exist? Nothing good can come from offering an opinion. Sophie Wessex learned this the hard way when she was stung by an undercover journalist in 2001. Then there was Princess Michael of Kent, also stung by the same journalist in 2005. Two cautionary tales. Don't worry, once they're dead, the authorized biography will reveal all.

Surely Catherine did not marry into the royal family to offer an opinion? That is not her purpose. It is to support her husband (read: don't overshadow him). Nothing wrong with wanting to support him but let's not forget the fact it would never occur to anyone to dare ask Prince William or Prince Harry to keep their thoughts to themselves.  Why is it different with Catherine?

Catherine expressing an opinion is a veritable minefield of danger. A line up of potential people just waiting to be offended. Catherine says she prefers Mondays, people who love Fridays will be up in arms. If Catherine says she prefers dogs the Daily Mail will scream: CATHERINE LIKES DOGS! HAMSTERS GO ON HUNGER STRIKE!

Opinions. From women. They only lead to trouble. After all, don't we already have too many successful, opinionated women in the world, already? Clearly, none of them should express their opinions either. For instance, Hilary Mantel.

When it comes to Catherine it seems that people interpret expressing her 'opinion' to mean becoming overly 'opinionated'. Once the floodgates open, there is no going back. Suddenly she would expound on everything like Prince Charles does. She would never be quiet, like she is supposed to be. The spell would be broken. Heaven forbid she become a role model for being a beautiful, well-dressed woman with an opinion!


The horror...the horror...

© Marilyn Braun 2013

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Maeve said...

Great post Marilyn! Such a good point about Harry and William. Just look at Harry's interview before he left Afghanistan - sure, people criticized him a bit for complaining, but in the end - hey it's Harry and we love him!! We think we have come so far, but some gender double standards of behavior are certainly alive and well and I think your distinction between how people view opinion (strong, male, positive) and opinionated (whiny, female, and out of bounds)is very astute. I can become complacent only paying attention to Catherine's clothes and beauty, and I always appreciate that you're vocal about Catherine pushing herself to do and be more. She is truly uniquely positioned to have her voice heard, so hopefully she will use it! In some ways, the Queen has been very clever to never reveal anything, as it has kept her as a neutral figure everyone could embrace, but at the same time that woman must have so much wisdom and insight that we will never get to hear, and that is such a shame.

Marilyn Braun said...

Hi Maeve,

Thanks, glad you enjoyed this post!

Yes there is a double standard when it comes to male/female royal opinions. While people may not like Charles' opinions, I think people would find it odd if he didn't express one. Ever. Royal men are expected to use their position in a good and active way. It seems to be easier to put the men out there than the women. Other than the Queen, I'm having a hard time recalling a royal woman giving access in the same vein as Prince Harry. Why is that?

I agree with you about the Queen. She does have a wealth of knowledge which we will never know about. Many years from now maybe her diaries will offer more of an insight into her views. Too bad we might have to wait that long!

I've read a few responses to the recent comments about Kate's opinions and I'm disappointed with them. Basically: 'Kate knows she will be criticized for expressing an opinion which is why she is keeping her counsel'. So it's OK for her to keep quiet? That's what she should do for the rest of her royal existence? No one else has a problem with that? I think it is very sad that in the 21st century, a woman like Kate would be expected to be mute and no one would have an issue with it.

Like you said, Kate is in a very unique position. She can be so much more. She has a voice. Hopefully she won't allow anyone to hold her back from using it.