Obsession with Kate's body is a strictly female disorder
Whatever you feel about royal displays of flesh, our attitudes to public nudity reveal a lot about us
MY BIGGEST objection to Kate Middleton’s breasts is that they are too small, because she is too thin, but perhaps this is not the time to get macho about breast size. We have other things on our minds, obviously. Like the IRA.
As the comedian Patrick Kielty once put it “The Real IRA is not the real IRA. The real IRA is in government.” It’s a funny old rock and roll world, particularly if you live in Donaghmede, which was temporarily draped in black flags last week, and rang with gunshots as a mark of respect to murdered criminal Alan Ryan, as if the last 30 years had never happened.
It was good fun to see Gerry Adams denouncing unscrupulous people for dragging the IRA into disrepute by displaying the Tricolour of the Republic and the black flag of the hunger strikers for their own criminal ends.
But, on the whole, last week was an unwelcome trip down memory – and in some cases mammary, sorry – lane. What with the flags – which were smuggled one by one to the late Alan Ryan’s house by local children who were paid a few euro for their trouble. And the paramilitary funeral. And the Labour Party making a complete twit of itself. And Rory McIlroy upsetting us all by threatening to make his own choice about whether he is British or Irish. It was like the 80s all over again.
Dear Rory, do you not understand that when we say “If You’re Irish Come into the Parlour” the next line of that song reads “And lock the door behind you, because you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.” Being Irish is very like being in Hotel California in that way. Particularly if you’re a Catholic. Enough said.
And in the midst of all these national identity questions last week was a British royal female, once again being presented as a human sacrifice. Luckily Kate had been visiting mosques in Malaysia on her royal tour, so there were a lot of pictures of her with her head covered by a white scarf. Of course it wasn’t long before the photos of her late mother-in-law were dug out, showing her wearing a white scarf in exactly the same way, and looking martyred.
There are some sophisticated people who are upset about the topless pictures of Kate Middleton because they maintain that “topless pictures” would be pictures with no tops to them, as opposed to pictures of a topless woman. But the rest of us aren’t that refined. We know that the bodies of these women – Diana and Kate – are a cultural battleground, gloated and picked over in an unedifying manner, especially by those of us who enjoy reading celebrity magazines.