Friday, 22 February 2013

Kate Middleton – Plastic Princess?

It seems that for her all fans around the world the Duchess of Cambridge has not found one in Booker Prize winning novelist Hilary Mantel. Speaking during the London Review of Books event at the British Library Mantel described the Duchess as being a personality free ‘shop window mannequin’ who ‘appeared to have been designed by a committee and built by craftsmen, with a perfect plastic smile and the spindles of her limbs hand-turned and gloss-varnished’ whose ‘only point and purpose’ was to give birth.

Mantel’s comments about the future Queen caused much shock and offence. However, the novelist’s sentiments were definitely not shared by thousands of Britons who leaped to the Duchess’ defence describing her as a warm, caring and intelligent woman.

Despite being on a trip to India even Prime Minister David Cameron weighed in labelling Mantel’s comments as ‘hurtful’, 'completely misguided and completely wrong'.

So it would appear that Mantel’s comments have come across as a rather poor attempt to gain publicity by taking a shot at beloved member of the Royal Family. To a certain extent though the comments are true; one of Kate’s roles as future Queen is to produce ‘an heir and a spare’ in order to continue the line of the British Monarchy.

However, Kate is far from some vacuous doll simply led around by Prince William when he goes out and about on State Visits. In her own right the Duchess of Cambridge has a degree in History of Art from St. Andrews University, completed the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award, studied at the British Institute in Florence, undertook a Raleigh International programme in Chile, and crewed on Round the World Challenge boats in the Solent. Feats that show her as academic and able to achieve things in her own right.

While Mantel’s comments may have meant to highlight the vacuousness of some female celebrities, choosing the Duchess of Cambridge was a poor choice. On a daily basis young people are exposed to supposed female ‘role models’ that either adhere to the rule ‘a woman should be a chef in the kitchen, maid in the living and a whore in the bedroom’ or are famous for the basest of reasons. ‘Celebrities’ such as Kim Kardashian – a woman who is famous for her sex tape, a 72 day marriage and generally being attractive (and vacant), clearly a good role model for young girls.

It would appear that had Mantel wanted to properly highlight this issue then she would have had ample candidates among the cast of TOWIE, most contestants on Big Brother or any of the ‘troubled’ stars of Hollywood or the music industry who are regularly photographed passed out in the street or in outfits that leave little to the imagination. In the media it would seem that the more vacant, badly behaved and promiscuous you are the better role model you are for young people. No wonder that the UK is always so high in the polls for teen pregnancies and binge drinking.

Bearing this in mind it hard to really imagine why Mantel thought that attacking the Duchess of Cambridge was a good plan. In comparison to half the women who grace the cover of gossip magazines Kate is an excellent role model; University Educated, highly motivated, sporty, immaculately presented, successfully married to the man she loves and expecting her first child. I can think of very few women held up as role models who should be emulated and Mantel should most definitely be praising Kate rather than criticising her. I would far rather be a Kate than a Kim.

1 comment:

Asa said...

Cameron got Mantel all wrong, this may be worth a read...!