lifestyle

"Kate Middleton has grey roots and so do I. Get over it."

Every physical transgression gets a prize and that prize is ridicule.

Just in case a photographer would like to follow me around to try to get humiliating close-ups of me looking less than perfect, I’m going to save them some money.

Here are my grey roots:

Mia Freedman rocking the grey roots.

And – bonus! – you can also see the lines on my forehead, my eye-bags and my pigmentation. So there.

Obviously, no photographer or media outlet gives a hoot about my grey hair so I haven’t saved anyone any money really. I am not famous.

But Kate Middleton – and other female celebrities – are all constantly subjected to this shitty shoot-and-shame papparazzi treatment by media organisations gleefully looking for any possibly gotcha moment that could be used to humiliate them.

No make-up? Unshaved legs? A wrinkly knee? Too much Botox? Not enough Botox? CELLULITE? Stretch marks? Crow’s feet? Too skinny? Pregnant and looking it? Pregnant and not looking it? Saggy boobs? Obvious boob job?

Here are just a few (less than choice) examples: (Post continues after gallery).

Every physical transgression gets a prize and that prize is public ridicule.

There’s this invisible line that as women we must all walk. Not too fat. Or thin. Definitely not too old. Not trying too hard or not hard enough. It’s endless and impossible. I can’t think of a single woman who walks it successfully according to the media.

Not even Jennifer Hawkins. Not even Kate Middleton.

Kate Middleton and her grey hair on The Daily Mail today.

I have a few friends who are routinely stalked by papparazzi.

These men (almost always men) try to get photos of them looking dishevelled or fat. They follow them to the supermarket, to schools and playgrounds with their kids, to the beach.

It’s far worse when they’re pregnant, they tell me. That’s when ‘bump-watch’ turns almost obsessive and the price paid for shots of these famous women looking ‘normal’ sky-rockets.

They rarely complain publicly.

In the scheme of things, in the context of people dying or losing their jobs or enduring actual hardship, it seems petty and ungrateful. Petulant and precious. So they suck it up.

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In truth though, these women are simply representative of all of us. Hair goes grey. Bodies change. Wrinkles form. Make-up can’t be worn 24/7.

Every time papparrazzi zoom in on a pregnant woman’s hair to joyously gloat at the fact they “caught” her looking (gasp) old or (gasp) human, it says something about every woman. It says that grey roots or puffy eyes or looking anything other than photoshop-perfect is something to be ashamed of. Something that should be avoided at all costs.

Kate Middleton, there’s a bump, we see a bump!

BUT WAIT, you say. I feel better when I see Kate’s grey hair! I feel like it makes it more normal for me to have grey hair! It’s reassuring.

There is truth to that.

I think there is huge power and community service in women choosing to share our vulnerabilities and be more authentic about our lives. That is a gift we can choose to give to each other; the polar opposite of those awful  ‘bikini-body-after-baby” photo shoots where famous women are paid to put on a swimsuit while holding their newborn baby.

More Kate Middleton: Tabloids amazed as Kate Middleton does stuff while pregnant

So yes, when I see a photo of Kate Middleton’s grey roots, it is reassuring. For a very brief moment.

Until you see the context, which is aways AH-HA! SPRUNG!

Because women are not in charge of this narrative. It’s not Kate choosing to ‘flaunt’ anything. It’s the media trying to catch her out in the same way journalists try to catch out politicians saying something stupid or contradictory.

A cover you will never see.

When it’s the media doing the outing (as opposed to me choosing to share my grey hair with the world), it’s in the spirit of being mean-spirited and objectifying. It is not designed to be reassuring. It’s designed to inspire schadenfreude not sisterhood.

So if it feels right for you, by all means, let it all hang out. Or don’t. What each woman decides to share of herself publicly is a very personal choice. But let’s support that choice by losing the GOTCHA attitude when we see someone, anyone, looking less than perfect.

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