Originally published by The Yorker
She was educated at one of the best universities in Britain, she works in a highly successful party planning business, and she is an accomplished skier. Three things I guarantee you will not have known about Philippa Middleton.
Pippa – as her friends and the media dub her – is probably known to you for two rather different reasons. She is sister to, and was bridesmaid to, Catherine Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. She also has a Facebook fan page dedicated to her arse.
Once a woman such as Pippa Middleton becomes embroiled in the media circus that surrounds a family such as hers, certain things become the subject of intense public attention. Pippa may wish for the media to scrutinise her outfits, from the cut of her bridesmaid’s dress to the way she does her mascara; but if she doesn’t, there’s not much she can do about it. She may revel gloriously in the lustful attention her backside has garnered from the British population; or she may be offended by it. We have no idea; it did not stop the media from circulating photographs of her in her underwear, sold to American photographic agencies by unscrupulous friends.
To put the tarnished cherry on the proverbial cake, Pippa has been singled out for a potential career in the pornography industry. Co-Chairman of Vivid Entertainment Steve Hirsch has reportedly sent a letter to Ms Middleton saying:
“As far as I was concerned, you were the star of the recent Royal Wedding. As I watched a broadcast of the event I couldn’t help but think that with your beauty and attitude you could be an enormously successful adult star. For just one explicit scene I would be pleased to offer you $5 million USD and, of course, you would have a choice of partners. If you would like to bring your brother James along, he could appear in a separate scene for $1 million USD.”
Without uttering a word, and merely by appearing in a flattering outfit on her sister’s wedding day, Pippa Middleton has solicited a job offer from a porn king and the leering attention of the nation. A quick perusal of comments on the aforementioned Facebook fan page of ‘Pippa Middleton’s Arse’ include:
“I’d love to have a go on that! Sweet momma I’d eat it for hours!”
“id defo smash her back door in.”
“Nice arse… shame about the face! Lolz.”
This is not coy affection for a nation’s sweetheart, but a masturbatory, undignified and humiliating appropriation of a woman’s body which bypasses any moral objections because she happens to be in the public eye.
This outrageous objectification is not confined to Pippa, of course; we all remember Huw Edwards’ comment on what a ‘splendid view’ we all had of Kate Middleton’s breasts as she climbed into her car on the day of the Royal Wedding. Nor is it confined to those who find these women merely sexually attractive; the endless speculation and affirmation of opinion of ‘fashion experts’ around the wedding seemed to ignore the individuals walking down the aisle, instead imbuing their clothing and make-up with the most value. Yes, it was a beautiful dress. But it says nothing about the woman who wore it.
I am not Pippa Middleton, and I would never presume to speak for her. However, no-one has any clue as to how she feels about her arse being idolatrised as an almost separate entity to the rest of her body; all we know is that ‘the Middleton family’ were very angry that the press circulated pictures of her in her bra. Pippa herself has no voice. I suggest that until she has one, we should end the public displays of lustful desire her body is at the centre of, and recall that in that body is a woman who may not feel flattered but saddened by her objectification. Shame on those who forget that.