Why the fuss over Duchess pictures?
BACK in the mid-seventies Mrs Bailey of Prince Rock Infant School taught me a lot about women. Well as much as you can teach a five or six- year-old.
She would put two large diagrams up and teach the class the basic distinction between a man and women. A man had no breasts and the woman did and these carried the food supply for the babies which the woman would give birth to.
This was then all followed by the well known discussion of the birds and the bees, and that babies occur when a man loves a women. Even for the mid-1970s Mrs Bailey was old-school and ready for retirement, but then, maybe that was not such a bad thing. So we were never going to get something a bit more harder-edged.
But the great thing about this teacher was the that she gave us the facts straight and never really dressed them up as either a lesson in morality or politics. For Mrs Bailey a man was a man, woman was a woman, this was the important distinction, and the most important lesson.
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So what I learnt from these classes was that we may all have different personalities, but we have the same bodies. There is nothing to be embarrassed about the fact that men have no breasts, and women do.
And it is this lesson which I took further in life. When I am looking at paintings the fact that I am faced with a half-naked woman does not worry me in the least. It is the most natural thing in the world. Women are biologically disposed to be built in a certain fashion, and therefore, I can only conclude that this is not only acceptable, but also quite natural.
It is for these reasons that I find the publication of pictures, in a French magazine, of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless to be a little confusing. The fact is the fuss over them leaves me more then a little bamboozled.
Yes, I know there's the privacy argument, and the fact that the pictures when they were taken, were according to French law illegally taken. And yes they should have not been published. But let's puts this argument aside and just follow a slightly different route through this.
What do these pictures really depict? What do we really see when we look at them? Of course they are of the Duchess Of Cambridge, which maybe of interest to certain publishers who want to make illegal money from them. And they will appeal to a certain audience whom these publishers appeal to.
Sometimes with the public the voyeuristic instinct is overwhelming. The public just like to look and they will. In certain cases they will also take photos and make films themselves.
But in the end what do these people who look at these pictures really see? And what do they learn from this experience?
For the fact is what they really see is not the Duchess Of Cambridge, but rather the image of a woman sunbathing on holiday. The viewer of these photographs learns that the Duchess Of Cambridge is female, which is not really at all surprising. I think I had worked that one out a long time ago.
The Duchess of Cambridge is the same as other females and yet this is presented to us in these magazines as if this is a surprising salacious discovery.
And the fact is this I have seen all this before. It was the distinction between men and women which was taught to me in a Plymouth classroom, many, many years ago by Mrs Bailey. For this lesson I can be no other than grateful.
So the fact is that the Duchess of Cambridge is a woman, a female and she looks like a woman and female. That's all these pictures show. Nothing new in that. Accept this fact, and then, please just get over it.