Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The Naked Truth

Although this isn't a blog dedicated to the life of the Duchess of Cambridge, it just so happens that she has caught my attention twice in one week. Her most recent appearance in the media has sparked controversial debate on a global scale, so I felt that I should add my thoughts to the increasing pile of judgments and opinions.

To begin with I must stress that I find it sickening that there are people out there who will go to such unbelievably extraordinary lengths to make money. Do these people have no moral compass? I struggle to see how any such human could be content to be seen an egocentric, money-oriented privacy invader who will go to any lengths to destroy the reputation of, or quite simply humiliate, their target. Maybe the satisfaction of recognition and a bed of cash to roll around in is enough for some people, but I would hope that the majority of people in this world would have enough compassion to put aside the allure of extreme wealth and respect the privacy of others. I sincerely hope that money cannot buy happiness for the photographer responsible for invading William and Kate's privacy during their holiday in France just over a week ago.

However, it would be wrong to pin the blame solely on the photographer. A photograph would be worth nothing if nobody ever wanted to see it, and so I must criticise the curiosity of man and its infatuation with the Celebrity which has led to the sale of thousands of magazines and the making of millions of web searches. If we did not have this grotesque fascination with the lives of celebrities (who also happen to just be normal people) a photograph like the one in question could never be sold. Yet it surprises me still that so many people also find the invasion of privacy abhorrent. I have not seen the photograph of Kate Middleton (or indeed the ones of Prince Harry) and nor do I want to, but I regret that I probably cannot say the same is true for everyone who shares my opinion of the invasive nature of these snaps. As such, those who harbour a taste for viewing potentially humiliating photographs, merely to satisfy their curiosity over the lives of celebrities, must share some of the blame for the magnitude of this breach of an intimate boundary.

What disappoints me the most, however, is the fact that the photographer was a woman. I see myself as somewhat of a feminist and, although I may not be particularly extreme in my views, I find myself angered when I see any woman being objectified - even more so when that objectification comes from a lens belonging to another female. Some might say that feminism itself has brought about this type of woman - one who is clearly power-hungry and motivated by money, even at the expense of a fellow female's dignity and privacy - and if that is true, it has created a monster. However, I believe that any true feminist would understand the struggle that women face against the objectification of their form by the male sex, and thus it truly sickens me that such demeaning and humiliating treatment of a beautiful, intelligent woman enjoying her holiday with the man she loves, could be the work of another female. Sadly, this seems to be the fate of human nature in a Capitalist world.

If we are to learn anything from this, it is that if we cannot change human nature, we must provide greater sanctions where a true invasion of privacy is shown. Luckily, English law allows civil injuctions to be placed on the use of such photos, but I wonder whether criminal prosectuion might be more effective. If we were to make it an imprisonable offence to purchase photographs like this, editors would soon whistle a different tune when approached by the paparazzi with incriminating shots of a high profile celebrity. However, this still does not solve the problem of a lack of moral compass among those in the media business - it merely gives the impression of morality when underneath is just fear. Still, this may be the closest we get to a law that is fair and protective of our right to a private life and we can only hope that in the future a true sense of morality will find its way to the forefront of our media laws.

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