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BEC: Kate Middleton IS a role model for my daughter.

“As far as role models go, I think the Duchess of Cambridge is a delightful choice.”

The Duchess of Cambridge is dangerous.

Did you know?

Lock your doors, people. Be alert not alarmed. The Duchess is out to brainwash little girls into becoming grown up doormats with a single digit BMI (but with truly awesome hair).

At least that’s what writer Maggie Hamilton seems to think. (Okay maybe not the awesome hair bit… I made that up).

Usually I consider myself to be a fairly reasonable person. I work hard to see both sides to most arguments. And I can understand (most of the time) where people are coming from even if I don’t agree with them.

But today, I just can’t do that.

I have sat for the past week and gritted my teeth as a critical post about the Duchess of Cambridge has gone viral on Mamamia.

A post by Maggie Hamilton claiming that the Duchess of Cambridge is, in fact, a threat to our daughters.

A threat? What kind of threat? On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being a Bratz doll and 10 being Dating Harry Styles… where does the DoC sit? Somewhere between airbrushing and the thigh gap trend?)

For those playing along at home, here’s a snapshot of what Maggie had to say in her piece (in the event you are one of the five people in this country who has yet to read it):

I have nothing against Kate. I am sure that she is nice, that she is a good wife, a good daughter, a good person, and of course, a great mother. But I do have a problem with her being held up as an ideal of exemplary womanhood, a wonderful role model for our daughters, an antidote to the Kim Kardashians of the world.

Then there was this bit:

Kate and Wills, the story goes, are a love match. I’m sure they are, but it was a love match for which a woman had to sacrifice her freedom, her youth, her independence and, many would argue, her personality. To marry the man of her dreams, she had to change who she was, give up her privacy, paid employment, ensure her 20s were entirely scandal-free and lose half her body weight. This is not something I would wish for my daughter.

Maggie then spends a few paras essentially claiming that Catherine’s warmth and graciousness as she speaks to members of the public is one big lie! It’s a PR exercise, says Maggie! Don’t be fooled! Any minute now the Duchess is going to try and sign us up to Amway.

And she ends with this:

And that’s why Duchess Kate is dangerous for our daughters. She has revived the idea that women being defined by who they marry is a positive life choice.

Okay, so let’s just start to unpack all this.

As far as role models go, I think the Duchess of Cambridge is a delightful choice.

Princess Diana was the first celebrity to be photographed touching people with AIDS.)

(That said, I think it’s healthy for kids and, err, grown women to have a few role models from different walks of life because the fact is – there is no perfect person. We all screw up and putting all your focus and attention on any one hero or role model or mentor is a recipe for disaster and also a bit one dimensional.)

But when I look at the Duchess of Cambridge, I see a young woman who is handling the extreme pressures of royal life with absolute grace and charm. I see a woman who is genuine in her love of kids and her desire to be of service – REAL service – to the community.

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Let me tell you, there’d be far ‘easier’ charities to take on than those that assist terminally ill children and their parents. And yet, amongst the nine charities for which the DoC is patron, there’s the Starlight Foundation, the Teenage Cancer Trust and East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices. In both Australia and New Zealand, the Duchess specifically requested to visit the Rainbow Place Children’s Hospice in Waikato and Bear Cottage in Sydney.

As for your argument that Catherine has had to give up her independence and her career and live a life defined by her husband… well, it’s not true.

I have one word for you. A name actually. Diana.

The Princess of Wales stood in nobody’s shadow. She was the first high-profile celebrity to be photographed knowingly touching an AIDS patient in April 1987. She played a massive role in changing community perceptions towards people living with HIV. And let’s not forget her involvement and global influence in the campaign to ban anti-personnel landmines during war.

Kate Middleton is a role model
Kate Middleton visiting a hospice during her tour. (Photo: Twitter/@byEmilyAndrews)

But you know what bothered me the most about your post? The judgment of one woman’s choices.

There are millions of women in this country and around the world who have chosen to give up their careers to be stay-at-home mothers. Similarly, there are millions of women who have consciously made the decision to be ‘trailing spouses’ while they follow their partners around the country or around the world.

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For many years, I was one of them.

Does that make me somehow lesser than? A worse role model to my daughter? A let-down to the sisterhood? What does it matter to you, Maggie if Catherine or I or anyone else has made such a choice?

It doesn’t matter. At least it shouldn’t.

You think the life of a royal would be hideous and soul-destroying? Then here’s a hot tip: don’t be one.

At a time, when there has been so much sadness, so much tragedy, just let those of us (republican or monarchist) who are fans of William and Catherine enjoy this tour.

Let us devour the photos and ooh and ahh over the Duchess’s wardrobe and marvel at the places they’re going and the people they’re meeting. And why wouldn’t young girls dream of being a princess? Today that title evokes a person with huge power, who can influence the world, who is a force for good. What’s not to love about that?

So if one day my daughter wants to put a poster of the Duchess of Cambridge on her wall alongside others posters of Amy Poehler and Melinda Gates and Wonder Woman and author Tara June Winch and designer Sascha Drake and Dr Catherine Hamlin and her Godmother Katie (an aid worker in the Solomon Islands and all-round great girl) – so be it.

The Duchess of Cambridge is no danger to my daughter. What is a danger instead is the woman who perpetually sits in judgment of every other woman’s choices.

Here are some more female role models we’d be happy for our daughters to look up to:

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Do you agree that Kate Middleton is a great role model for our daughters? Which celebrities would you choose for your daughters to look up to?

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