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Kate Middleton: the ultimate 'slut antidote'?

Look at that wistful look into the distance. So classy.

Is it time for us to take some Kate Middleton and turn her into an easy-to-swallow pill so we can give every girl on earth a dose of much needed ‘class’?

Should we make a ‘Kate Pill’ obligatory for all newborn girls? Would we have avoided all the boob/bum/almost-vagina-but-not-quite Instagram photos of Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian if they’d been given a Kate-branded ‘anti-slut’ antidote at birth?

An opinion piece by Miranda Devine in Saturday’s Daily Telegraph referred to Duchess Kate as the ‘anti-slut’ – the ultimate antidote to the current crop of celebrity female exhibitionists.

Actually, here’s Miranda in her own words:

“Kate’s grace and elegance is a welcome change from the desperate self-loathing exhibitionism of most celebrity ­females of her generation.

Kate is the anti-slut, the antidote to everything wrong with Western culture. She has put class back into sexy, made modesty cool, and added ­cachet to marriage and motherhood. No wonder she has become a role model to a generation of young women, despite scornful feminists.”

Miranda Devine isn’t the only one looking for a pop culture alternative to… what’s the opposite of an ‘anti-slut’? A mega-slut?

Dave Grohl (of the Foo Fighters and Nirvana) recently told Rolling Stone that he was relieved when he first discovered 17-year-old singer Lorde, as she was a healthy alternative to all the other “stripper pop” that his two daughters listen to.

Clearly, a lot of people (and in particular, parents) are looking for a less overtly sexual role model for young women and girls. And fair enough – with Miley and Kim and Katy and Rihanna and Gaga all seemingly trading on their sexuality above all else, it can feel like the pop cultural world has been completely co-opted by tits and arse. You can’t blame women for wanting an alternative role model when not wearing pants appears to have become the norm. For example:

Not exactly much to choose from.

But is it really fair to call Duchess Kate the anti-‘slut’?

Let’s say that that makes her the ‘anti-Miley’. That would put Miley and her ilk in the position of slut. But why? Because she got fresh with a foam hand on stage? Because she dry-humps giant teddy bears in her videos?

That feels almost as simple as saying that Kate isn’t a slut because she wears pantyhose when her skirt doesn’t reach the knee.

Women aren’t one-dimensional. No woman is either a madonna or a whore. But our habit of putting famous people into easily identifiable boxes means celebrity women often come off this way. The way famous women represent themselves and their brand (and make no mistake – the ‘royal’ brand is just as cultivated as the crazy foam-hand ‘Miley’ brand) does tend to make them figureheads for a certain ‘kind of woman’.

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Duchess Kate and popstars like Miley definitely divide people. Here on Mamamia last week, we ran opposing pieces (here and here) about Kate’s validity as a role model for young girls. Both generated a huge amount of discussion because both had readers who really agreed, or who really, really didn’t.

That kind of massive, varied response just shows that women aren’t one simple homogenous group. We don’t feel the same way or think the same way on all things. And that means we’re never going to agree on the ‘right way’ for a woman to live, or the right role model for girls to have.

And if one-dimensional is the way we’re going to play it with our celebrity women – if we’re going to insist on calling Kate the anti-slut to Miley’s mega-slut – at least we have a variety of role models available.

Kate’s brand may be ‘classy’ and demure but it’s also a little inhibited and domesticated for some people. Miley’s brand may be outrageous and offensive to some but she’s also independent and not afraid of her sexuality.

Kate and Miley – is one really better than the other?

Celebrities like Kate and Miley may be at opposite ends of the spectrum, but the point is, they’re both on the spectrum. Because no one woman is the ‘right’ kind of woman. Parents may not want their girls to consider one or the other a role model but I think the most important thing here is that young women are learning that there’s no ‘right way’ to be in the first place.

Not everyone is going to be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s still good for us to have lots of kinds of tea to choose from.

And really? We should be concentrating on taking these women out of such limited pigeon holes to begin with.


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