When the Duchess of Cambridge – née Kate Middleton – was photographed topless with the Hubble Telescope from a road in the south of France this past August, it prompted the Danish editor-in-chief of the intellectual, high-class media journal Se og Hør to state that Kate herself must accept some responsibility for “willingly revealing her breasts towards a public road”.
Perhaps he should have gone one step further. Perhaps he should have said that it is in fact her responsibility to show her breasts. I suggest this not from the point of view of sexual titillation, but from the consideration of the amount of money that we, the people, spend on our respective Danish and English royal families. Is it not reasonable to expect a naked parade every so often?
Please, I mean no disrespect. The naked display should not be some hard-core, full frontal three-way with a dwarf, dominatrix and a donkey – or a corgi in the case of the English queen – but more as a political protest and show of support for the quite excellent Ukrainian feminist group Femen, who use nakedness to protest against sexual exploitation and patriarchal domination.
They believe that protesting naked allows for the reappropriation of their own bodies in opposition to pornography or the snatched paparazzi photographs of a male-dominated media. I think Kate could learn a thing or two here. I believe she should join Femen’s first International Training Camp in Paris.
Femen’s training is not only ideological but also physical. Not only would Kate learn to use her naked body to attract attention to the plight of women worldwide, but as Femen advocates running, boxing and weightlifting, she would be getting into shape for her forthcoming queenly duties, where the aforementioned skills would be invaluable – I have it on good authority that the queen can benchpress close to her own bodyweight!
Regardless of whether Kate joins Femen, or injects steroids to improve her bench-pressing skills, I am writing now to understand the furore around her breasts and indeed breasts in general. What is so special about the human female mammary glands? Why the obsession?
Are the breasts, as psychologists say, fertility signalling devices, indicating that the female human is eternally sexually receptive, unlike for instance the female Gelada baboon whose breasts swell in accordance with her sexual availability?
Or should we subscribe to my personal favourite: the ‘genital echo theory’. This proposes that the pendulous nature of the breast developed when humans went from all fours to two, thus shifting attention from the rear to the front or, to put it more crassly, from doggy to missionary.
Whatever the reason, these two small bags of fat wield and have wielded great power. The American Society of Plastic Surgery performs an average of 340,000 breast augmentation procedures a year, making the operation the most commonly performed surgical procedure in America. Huge businesses have been built, empires have fallen and family wills changed, all in the name of the breast.
As breasts do nothing for me, I’ve been discussing the whole phenomenon with as many as I can. I was particularly interested in whether my lesbian friends found breasts stimulating. I was pleasantly surprised, as it turns out I am a bit of a lesbian. Breasts do not rank highly, while my favourite body part does. To my delight the lower leg, or calf muscles, seemed to be quite popular. Yes, show me a pair of beautiful lower legs where the soleus muscle undulates and glides smoothly beneath a bulging, yet pert gastrocnemius and watch as it attaches oh-so perfectly to a tight, yet supple achilles. Please!
Breasts and arses can stand down – give me a pair of oil-covered cruciate ligaments any time.
I am sorry to say, dearest Katie, that your naked photographs would do nothing for me. However, I do have three pieces of advice for you. First, join Femen and work on those calves. Second, call the media’s bluff. Make a naked DVD with our own princesses, Mary and Marie – all proceeds going to charity of course. And third, please do not spend the ridiculous amounts of public money you are about to fighting their publication.