The Guardian and Kate Middleton's breasts

The Guardian confuses the invasion of privacy with freedom of contract

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Duchess of Cambridge
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Guy Bentley
On 17 September 2012 14:28

In amongst all the debate and outrage in response to the topless photos of Kate Middleton, one of the stranger contributions has been made by the Guardian’s women's blog. (Editor’s Note: I’m really surprised by this one, Guy!")

The article opens with the statement that the, “British public is up in arms at young women’s breasts being used to sell magazines.”

I for one had not noticed on all the commentary out there, that ‘breasts being used to sell magazines’ was the source of most people’s complaints. 

This immediately shows the writer’s confusion as to the reaction of the public to the photos of the Duchess of Cambridge.

The public were outraged that a couple on holiday, enjoying themselves in a private chateau, had pictures taken of them and subsequently published without their consent.

The objection to these pictures would be the same if a photographer had used a long-range lens to try and peek through the windows of Kate’s bathroom.

However, the substance of the article is that The Sun is embroiled in hypocrisy for supporting the Duke and Duchess in their bid to sue the photographer, while displaying their page three model’s breasts as per usual.

Let me be quite clear: there is absolutely no hypocrisy here. In fact, The Sun’s position is by default, a defence of freedom of the individual.

The Sun supports the Duchess for the same reason many of its readers will. An invasion of privacy which has no public interest attached to it should be condemned. However, a young woman who chooses to reveal her breasts to the readers of The Sun, either for money, publicity or both, is doing so voluntarily exercising her freedom of contract.   

This is the healthy attitude of a free society, not hypocrisy. The public can see the distinction between voluntary contract and the violation of someone’s privacy on private property.

Brits, by and large, have no problem with breasts being used to sell magazines as we can see from numerous publications such as Loaded, Nuts and Maxim. The reasonable attitude of the tolerant majority in this country is, “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it”.

The article ends “The message it seems, is clear – it's fine to print pictures of half-naked women, as long as they are not heading for the throne”. It reeks of bad journalism and an even poorer grasp of logic.

The message is that the majority of the British public have healthy, non-proscriptive attitudes toward privacy, contract and indeed towards breasts. 

Guy Bentley is the editorial assistant at the Commentator

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