I didn't think it was possible, but somebody actually went and did it: Someone said something bad (really, really bad) about Kate Middleton. During a lecture about royalty, novelist Hilary Mantel ripped the Duchess of Cambridge to shreds, saying things like: Kate is a "jointed doll". She has "no personality of her own, entirely defined by what she wore". She has a "perfect plastic smile". And she's been selected for her role of princess to "breed in some manners" and because she's "irreproachable: as painfully thin as anyone could wish, without quirks, without oddities, without the risk of the emergence of character".
Mantel's harsh words about Kate were amidst a lecture for the London Review of Books called "Royal Bodies", and the gist of the talk was about how, since the beginning of time, queens have been selected based on their appearance and their fertility. In other words: Mantel was calling Kate beautiful, and a woman who will most likely breed a beautiful child. She's saying Kate's a good bet (if you're into that sort of thing).
While I wouldn't dispute the general message behind Mantel's lecture -- female rulers originally (still?) being selected on their looks/fertility -- I do find her words to be a tad ... inappropriate. Yes, Kate is a gorgeous woman who will produce a lovely child for the royal family -- you don't need a PhD in Anthropology to know that. But calling her a "jointed doll" who will probably have a child "without character" is also calling Kate, well, boring.
The Kate we see is always polished and poised and without a hair out of place -- as every royal/celebrity is. Part of Kate's job is to look perfect when she's out and about and at official engagements. It would be inappropriate to see her in frumpy clothes and acting unruly. But the Kate we don't see -- the Kate that takes her top off to sunbathe; the Kate who won't say she'll "obey" her husband; the Kate who bucks royal tradition and spends Christmas with her family -- is still part of her. Just because she's aesthetically-pleasing, doesn't mean she'll produce another human "without character". Doesn't mean she and Prince William's child won't have a "personality of their own."
I get what Mantel was trying to say, but I think the language she chose left something to be desired. And not just because the world has to kiss Kate Middleton's royal ass 24:7. Because some of it just isn't true.
What do you think of this writer's words about Kate?
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