Monday, August 28, 2017

It's a good time to be a Diana critic

2017 is more than just a year to cash in on the memory of Diana, Princess of Wales. It's also an opportunity to diminish someone who is no longer around to defend herself. Diana still commands interest, which seems to bring out the critics who don't like her and never did. Both in life and death, Diana is a divisive figure and the views of critics, just like fans, can run the gamut from moderate to extreme. Reading the coverage and comments in general I notice some patterns from the critics.

I notice that being a Diana fan is seen as a negative. Diana fans hang on to the past, unable to be objective about 'St. Diana.'  It seems to be unfashionable admit you were upset when she died and unabashedly watched the funeral. There is a level of cynicism towards any positive coverage. Anyone who speaks positively is biased, including her sons. It's definitely important to be discerning regarding the over-the-top coverage, but there's a middle ground for the media and the people who consume it.

I notice that Diana is an easy target. In fact, too easy. On the 20th anniversary of her death it is open season to blame her for everything that went wrong before, during and after the marriage when all sides share blame. Easier to make vicious and misogynistic comments and remind everyone of her mental health issues. If William and Kate want to fight the stigma surrounding mental health, they have their work cut out for them.

I notice people don't like women who don't behave. Women who break the rules and own their sexuality. Women who harness their power. Women who use their voice. Women who express their anger and fight back. When asked what Diana should have done differently, the consensus seems to be she should have done the lady-like thing and kept her mouth shut. After all, look at how successful keeping quiet worked for Camilla!

I notice compliments are grudgingly given. "Diana was beautiful BUT..." Thereby follows a list of Diana's worst qualities. Charles and Camilla are made to sound reasonable by comparison (Charles only slept with ONE woman during the marriage). According to critics, it is Diana fans that need to move on, not them. But while we are on the topic, why waste the opportunity to burnish Charles and Camilla by denigrating Diana?

Regardless of what polls say, I don't believe that celebrating Diana will do lasting damage to Charles, Camilla or the monarchy. She is part of their history and always will be. By the end of 2017, the commemorative issues will be filed away and most people will have moved on. The Diana critics who see things in black and white won't.

© Marilyn Braun 2017

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