Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

There is no such thing as the ‘right’ kind of boobs in a newspaper

(.)(.) The endless escalating argument over the publication of topless photographs showing Kate Middleton’s baps in newspapers and magazines now has almost as many subplots as boobs have nicknames. There are the randy thigh-rubbing European magazines flicking through the 200 …

Mon, Sep 17, 2012, 14:08

   

(.)(.)

The endless escalating argument over the publication of topless photographs showing Kate Middleton’s baps in newspapers and magazines now has almost as many subplots as boobs have nicknames.

There are the randy thigh-rubbing European magazines flicking through the 200 shots that were taken of Middleton sunbathing in Provence with half of her bikini intact. There’s the Irish Daily Star, whose editor made the curious decision to publish some of the photographs at the weekend. There’s the British media all stiff upper lip and limp other body parts puffing and posturing about the affront to the empire such publications are causing. There’s porno publishing mogul Richard Desmond who thinks Middleton’s bazungas are too precious to grace the pages of his part-owned paper. And on the radio, there’s an endless stream of journalists, editors, media academics, lawyers and commentators, discussing the dos and don’t of printing tits depending on whom they are attached to. There are discussions surrounding privacy, with the shadow of Prince William’s mother casting a dark light over the discourse. There is St James’ Palace issuing legal statements regarding the monarchal mammaries and consequences of their publication.

And funnily enough, although all of these issues might seem quite whole, they are remarkably fragmented. Surely the real argument should actually be about what on earth women’s breasts are doing in our newspapers in the first place?

When it comes to women’s bodies, most tabloids (both tabloid magazines, and tabloid newspapers in shape and red top masthead form) generally assume a demeanor that lies somewhere between a suspiciously giddy schoolboy who spends at least half of his time drawing cocks on his classmate’s copybooks, and that of a top-of-the-bus rush hour groper. Neither are pleasant, and you certainly wouldn’t want to share their company for more than the amount of time that it takes to give a disparaging look and perhaps a dig in the ribs.

Unlike the daily parade of cha-chas in various national publications both here and in the UK especially, Middleton did not consent for her bust to be on display. That’s a valid argument. But why do hooters occupy such a prominent position in our press in the first place? A glance at red tops displays an incredibly immature, and frankly embarrassing jug-obsessed press on a day to day basis.  It’s weird, unnecessary, and to be quite honest, in an era of porn-on-tap online, I’m not entirely sure what its purpose is apart from blindly reaffirming the shallow, regressive, towel-snapping male idiocy that inspires it.

We live in a strange, strange world where women are hugely sexualised, stripped and objectified (and indeed seem all to willing to objectify themselves even in good ol’ Ireland as Rosanna Davison’s Playboy shoot shows) for male gratification, yet the ownership and display of the female form and its related issues for women themselves is still taboo (or should that be taboob?) Women’s bodies are exploited on everyone’s terms but their own. In the same week that royal knockers were on display, the very title of Naomi Wolf’s ‘Vagina: A New Biography’ was censored. Boobies allowed for the boys, but no gowls allowed for the girls, t’would seem.

So please, let us not now survey this whole doozies-debacle as a singular incident. It’s time for the tabloids to grow up get tits off their news pages for once and for all, royal ones or common civilian fun bags alike.

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