Youd think that being a gorgeous, charming, sophisticated young princess fully accessorized right down to having an adoring, healthy and attentive young king-to-be at ones side would have solved most problems, wouldnt you?
But we learned last week that even Kate Middleton isnt enviable at least not all the time.
Last weeks collective cultural copping of a feel has transformed the Duchess of Cambridge into merely a pair of breasts. Gone from sight and sound are the young womans good works and bon mots; eclipsed are the dazzling smiles and apparently affectionate interactions with her delighted audiences in Britain and abroad.
Shes been reduced to a just another girl gone wild, a young woman without a bathing suit top sunning herself on a deck. The paparazzi wanted to get those photographs of Middleton because shes somebody.
Yet the effect of being photographed in such a way is to be cut down to size: to be made into any body, to be made into an object. Finally, it is to be treated like nobody at all: just a pair of breasts and a behind.
Ask any woman when she was first reduced to body parts as if being evaluated by Perdue for sale by the pound and shell tell you. Most of us remember.
Mine was when I was walking home from school by myself in the eighth grade. I was wearing a new pea coat Id bought with baby-sitting money. This was the early 1970s and I looked more like a stowaway from Palermo than a chorus girl; I looked like the old cartoon character Dondi except with longer hair.
Whether it was the hair or the coat, it was enough to get me noticed by a Monte Carlo filled with high school guys who drove by and shouted really dirty stuff. Really. Dirty.
I was deeply ashamed of myself. And thats the part that still gets me: I didnt do anything. Why should I have been embarrassed? The guys were the morons. They were the ones engaged in nasty behavior. If their mothers heard what they said, they would have hit them over the head with frying pans and not just once.
Some of Middletons critics argue that, as a royal supported by the state, she should have known better than to reveal her naughty bits except indoors with the blackout curtains drawn, as if she were living during the Blitz. Or under Shariah law, perhaps.
But of what, exactly, is Middleton meant to be ashamed? Is she being punished for making us want to look at her? Cmon, shes one of the most photographed women in the world. Shes not some poor girl with low self-esteem who misjudged how to become popular and removed her top for Twitter.
The photographs of Middleton are pretty far from lascivious. They have all the illicit sexuality of the puppy tugging at the bathing suit bottom of the 4-year-old in the Coppertone ad.
One thing Middleton or any other woman shouldnt have to worry about in the 21st century is being ashamed of herself for having a body. Just shout Honi soit qui mal y pense, that phrase on Great Britains royal coat of arms meaning Youve got the problem, buddy, not me whenever the paparazzi, or guys in Monte Carlos, go by.