The recent ‘Topless Kate’ photos scandal displays two sexual double standards regarding voyeurism and privacy. In the first place, it comes only weeks after Prince Harry was involved in a similar scandal, in that nude snaps of himself also made their unwanted way into the public domain. However, whilst Princess Katie is being portrayed as an innocent victim of press harrassment and privacy violation, Prince Harry was castigated for bringing scandal (again) upon the Royal Family. Moreover, whilst no British newspaper would dare to publish Katie’s bouncing breasts, and even condemnend foreign publications for doing so, the SUN published Harry’s (censored) pics on its front page.
Some telling privacy distinctions emerged as a French tabloid published photos of Kate Middleton sunbathing topless on a guesthouse terrace in Provence.
No major British publication published the photos Friday – not even The Sun, which last month splashed photos of a nude Prince Harry partying in a Las Vegas hotel room on its front page.
It seems Harry was fair game because he was prancing naked among the (cell phone-wielding) strangers he’d invited to his hotel room. Meanwhile, the images of Kate’s sunbathing ritual on a “remote” property – including Will applying sunscreen to her thonged-rear end – have been widely slammed as an invasion of privacy…
..Beyond privacy, Trierweiler and Middleton’s cases raise the possibility of a gendered element to the uproar: Would people be as incensed were it Will’s rump on the cover of the French tab?
The second double standard involved in this is that in neither case is the question of ‘sexual voyeurism’ being raised, simply the issue of privacy. The reason for this is the demographic that these publications aim at, celeb and gossip magazines that will see their sales and profits rise many times for printing the photos (even at the cost of being sued).
It is overwhelmingly female.
The vast majority of the readers of Closer magazine are women. The vast majority of the people who will buy the French edition of Closer to examine the breasts of a princess, to check for imperfections, to bitch and to compare with their own commoner bossoms, are female. Thus, even though feminists at the European Union have forced member states to pass laws criminalizing ‘sexual voyeurism’, there is no question of the publications being charged. Britain’s Daily Mail, home of the femiservative voice of Middle-England, repeatedly publishes pictures of female celebrities inadvertently revealing their underwear, making themselves liable for prosecution under these laws. The same paper also regularly crows to its female readers when lonely old men are sent to prison to be raped for taking upskirt photos on spy cams (even if the photos are for personal enjoyment rather than to be posted online). Feminist activist Kat Banyard recently intimated that even viewing upskirt pictures online should be made illegal.
As you would expect from feminist sexual morality, it all depends on the gender of the person looking, and of the person being looked at.