"This is why Kate Middleton is no role model for my daughter."

We run literally thousands of posts on Mamamia over a 12 month period and we’ve collated the most popular 20 of 2014 to count down as we bring in the new year. Here is number six… did you fall into Kate-mania?

So Kate mania is upon us. Every woman I know is beside herself about the Duchess of Cambridge and her visit to Australia – what she wears, what her son wears, where she goes. These are some of the things I hear women say about Kate every day:

“She’s so normal.”

“She’s so classy.”

“She’s such a good mum.”

“I just want to be her friend.”

“She seems so nice.”

“She’s just like me.”

Kate Middleton and Prince William.

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.

Because this outpouring of adoration is for a woman whose job description is basically:

“Be pretty.”

“Be thin.”

“Have some babies.”

“Don’t rock the boat.”


History is littered with cautionary tales of women who did not follow the above script. One word in particular springs to mind: Fergie.

I know, I know, the royals have learned so many lessons since the Diana-Fergie days. 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 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.

By all accounts, it wasn’t something Kate was certain she wanted either. Despite the patronising ‘Waity Katie’ tag she earned from the British tabloids, royal experts have always said that Kate and William both wanted to be certain that this was a challenge Kate was ready for, and that by the time the carefully orchestrated engagement was announced, after eight years in the glare of the world, Kate had been fully prepped, trained and given many chances to back out. How very fairytale. This princess business is so romantic.

Kate is absolutely brilliant at being royal. She makes it look so easy. She is fantastic at making small talk with dignitaries from a zillion charities from a thousand countries around the world. She is excellent at smiling at the ‘real’ people, shaking hands and posing for selfies. She has perfected being just accessible enough for people to like her but never actually saying anything or giving anything away. She could have been born to it. But she wasn’t, she had to learn how to do all that and she was committed enough to that job to give it her all.


But that’s what it is: it’s a PR exercise and a professional veneer. She and her hubby were charged with salvaging the British royals from lurching from one PR disaster to another and they’ve pulled it off, because the royal fantasy is as tantalising as ever. Maybe more so.

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. Let’s remember that in her unimaginably privileged life – where she has to do nothing for herself if she doesn’t choose to – every designer dress, every luxury hair treatment, every palace and mansion and expensive baby buggy has been paid for by people with ‘normal’ jobs.

So I’m sorry people, she’s not just like you. And I don’t want my daughter to be like her.

Do you agree? Do you think Kate is a good role model for girls?

This post originally appeared on iVillage and is republished here with full permission.