14 Sep 2012

What's in a mammary gland?

Well if you are lucky, and a nursing mother, baby’s milk. If you are a creep, creeping about in the bushes with a long lens making your living from society’s unending prurience – a lot or a little cash.

No nation on earth bares its all as happily as the French, and were it warmer in Blighty no doubt we would compete. So it’s revealed that in the warm climes of Provence, Kate does so too. But what possible satisfaction is met by paying good money for a French magazine to look at what is hers?

Kate’s been ill-served by old fashioned palace staff who have got into a tizzy about this French photographic disclosure, so potentially stoking the commercial value of these valueless photos. She and her husband would be well-advised to ignore the publication altogether.

So why haven’t I ignored their publication? Because it exposes in us that strange obsession with other people’s “bits”. Harry’s bottom, Kate’s breasts. I confess I don’t lie awake worrying about either. I do worry about any system that pays people to train their lenses – be they iPhones or Nikons – on other people’s privacy. Damn those who publish invaded privacy. Do we really live such dull lives? In our wired up, connected age, we should fight to protect our privacy; our private time with each other; the private places where we leave the public rat race, whoever we are.

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21 reader comments

  1. Britt_W says:

    Hear, hear. Well said.

    And, may I add…even though I’m for a free press and would like to trust their… errhm… good judgement, I’m fed up with having mammary glands – or other assorted bits – thrown in my face every time I enter a newsagent’s or fuel station. Royal bits or not. As a woman, I can’t help but feeling humiliated, objectified and end up leaving the place feeling like a piece of meat. (Mutton, rather than lamb!)

    Some people might think “Oh come on, don’t let it bother you, it’s just the way it is…”
    But the thing is: You never see any MALE bits hanging out on your way to the till – it’s always ‘up women’s skirts’ and the rest of it. Very one-sided.
    I wish, just for a day, men could experience the same thing, i.e. being surrounded of other men’s bits everywhere they go – and all the women they see around them would be fully clothed. Only then would men fully ‘get’ what it feels like, I think.

    And no, I’m not a prude, I couldn’t care less about nakedness, it doesn’t bother me. Brought up in Sweden, we even used to share the same changing room with the boys for our PT, as children. Nakedness was no big deal. No, it’s the constant, cheap ‘sexist sexualisation’ I’m against. Makes it boring. It might sound contradictory but when it comes to sex I think that “Less is more”!

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      FYI, Britt – Closer’s editor Laurence Pieau is a woman – @LaurencePieau @closerfr should you wish to let her know what you think of her mendacious comments to ITV News:

      “These pictures show nothing shocking – they show a young woman sunbathing topless, as millions do on the beaches.

      “It’s a coup to have these exclusive pictures, but what surprises me is the drama that’s being made of the images – they’re of a young couple in their swimming costumes, married for a year – of a young princess who in some of the pictures is topless.

      “The criticism that’s come out is very very stupid, they’re a young couple on holiday on a terrace in a chateau in the south of France, and the terrace is visible from a public highway.”

      Writing last night on her Twitter page, Ms Pieau told her followers: “We can say that after tomorrow’s Closer, Harry will feel less alone …”

      [quote ends]

      French ‘Closer’ magazine is run by Italian business Mondadori, owned by Silvio Berlusconi’s holding company Fininvest. Chair of @closerfr is Marina Berlusconi!

    2. Gender not relevant says:

      I entirely agree with Britt_W’s comments above about the portrayal of women on the front covers of many magazines that are clearly visible every time a person enters a newsagent. The images – whether of unnaturally enlarged breasts, naked or semi-naked behinds, or women in thongs with thighes spread apart – are both degrading and humiliating to many women. I think that they’re also degrading to men since they are intended to sexually excite potential male purchasers in the way that Pavlov’s dog was conditioned to respond to the bell announcing the arrival of meat. I would even go as far as to say that many of these images are an implicit encouragement to men to be aggressive in their sexual relations with women. After all, they’re hardly reminiscent of the Karma Sutra are they? Perhaps the French editor who published these photographs (deliberately) failed to take into account that in Britain, a woman’s breasts are considered as sensual to many as is a woman’s long, flowing hair in many Eastern countries. It is her right to keep this part of her body private if she so wishes, and indeed in most public situations she is legally required to do so.

  2. longpete says:

    Shame you’ve mixed up two very different matters.

    The invasion of privacy photographing you as you go about your daily life – the hoards of paparazzi that lie in wait for anyone who’s currently a “celebrity” – is obnoxious, and shows the obnoxious side of those who buy their rags as much as it does that of the hacks themselves.

    On the other hand, people’s obsession with tits and bums is something completely different “society’s unending prurience” as you said. It really is time we stopped our schoolboy titillation at seeing a bit of flesh.

  3. Philip Edwards says:


    I couldn’t care less about Ms. Middleton’s mammaries.

    But I can and do care that:

    1. 96 innocent lives were lost at Hillsborough in 1989 and the British establishment from top to bottom sought to smear innocent citizens and the city of Liverpool, that mainstream media were part of the whole twenty-three years of lies and propaganda, that we still might not get full justice for many years.
    2. That politicians in the same era actively tried (and largely succeeded) to undermine the economy of Merseyside, a region of 2.5 million. This is shown in government documents released this year from the National Archives. The record shows the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Leon Brittan, did not want Merseyside to be “a viable economic entity.” The media, including your programme, barely mentioned it and certainly didn’t pursue the treachery.

    This is without showing total corruption of the banking and economic system, media and politicians’ expenses. Or that the present government now want to make it easier to sack employees and reduce compensation for unfair dismissal.

    By comparison, Kate’s tits don’t mean a thing.

    1. Frances Mannion says:

      Agree its really appalling the Hillsborough report is being overshadowed by poor Kate’s calculated humiliation by uneducated tarts who edit the bog paper that passes for celeb magazines.

      96 dead, and disgustingly slandered to boot, and yet the media is alive with analysis of Harry’s arse and poor Kate’s chest. (Sophie and Fergie, about time for some input here from you two. You’ve been there).

      Did the police get these photos published to take the heat off themselves?? Wouldn’t surprise anyone any more.

  4. Kes says:

    You may be sure that were there no demand for such things they wouldn’t be produced. Sadly, the media buying public doesn’t share your finer sense. I believe it was Henry Ford who said that nobody ever went bust underestimating the taste of the public.

    Sadly one can’t really effectively legislate on privacy as there are way too may grey areas.

  5. Suzanne Woodhouse says:

    Very well put Jon! Couldn’t agree more! Not only must these amateur paparazzi wannabes lead dull lives but their minds are clearly perverted and corrupt. No remorse… Can’t shed an ounce of compassion to the exposed victims or the distress they have caused the innocent (albeit celebrity) holiday maker and their families? On so many levels it’s wrong! Yet people rush to by the papers or magazines or look online to see the images of these people’s bits exposed? What does that say about us? Is it just nosy human nature? Can we not help ourselves? Have we no shame or respect? #theworld/presshasgonemad!

  6. Meg Howarth says:

    The irony: while Palace protests, the legal system continues to pursue the Naked Rambler for harming no-one and living free in his body


    Now what WAS that opener to the Olympics about a land ‘that has such people in it’…?

  7. Janet sharp says:

    According to the Reunion prog on radio 4 this morning….a sheep called Dolly comes from a mammary gland!

  8. robin yates says:

    you are of course correct Jon, ignore the whole thing and the price falls

  9. anon says:

    It is called sex. In the case of the royals it may well be one up for them [ ie the perpetrators] after all they do not have celebraties that match the public interest of a naked royal..As the Royal Couple wow the world , they can make their snide remarks.

    And they have not just had a successful Olympics.

  10. Clare Mills says:

    Well said sir, it really is about time we grew up and stopped feeding the lower eschalons of the press mob with the more salacious stories, mind you, they will only say that they are giving the public what they want so where does it all end?

  11. Jon Wood says:

    Yet another case of “of interest to the public” being conflated with “of public interest”. It has recently been argued that the public has a right to know whether Harry is ginger downstairs, surely this is far more important. These royal baps will feed a future heir to the throne, therefore the public will want to see for themselves that they are fit for purpose, or at least fit . . . .
    Doubtless Louise Mensch will weigh in shortly with how the Murdochs are right to publish pictures which can already be widely viewed on the internet. If The Sun declines to publish a pair of tits I’ll pack some thermal underwear for my trip to Hell.

  12. Gart Valenc says:

    It may seem off topic, but I’m extremely disappointed in C4News (and you?) for not discussing C4 decision to cave in to religious fanatics and cancelled the screening of the documentary Islam: The Untold Story after his presenter Tom Holland received death threats.

    One may agree or disagree with the decision, but whatever the case, they issue is so serious that the least it merited was a serious discussion.

    Gart Valenc
    Twitter: @gartvalenc

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      Wrong, Gart. Here’s what Tom Holland posted on his Twitter-feed on 11 September:

      ‘People are saying #IslamTheUntoldStory has been ‘pulled’ by Channel 4. Not true. Film’s been showing on 4Seven & is still available on 4oD’. @holland_tom

  13. Steve0 says:

    Why does Channel 4 News have this as tonight’s top story? – Really?. Where I don’t agree with these kind of stalking snaps by photographers, I certainly don’t deem it to be a ‘top news story’. This is no more than celebrity gossip, fueled by the people buying gossip trashy magazines (who are probably the same people that are now saying how outrageous it is), but it isn’t a top news story. People being killed in the middle east is second on the bill to this. I’m sure there is a lot more going on in the UK and abroad, that are more worthy top news stories.

    Is Channel 4 News moving away from reporting REAL news to pointless stories for the masses? You’re not the Sun or Hello magazine.

  14. margaret brandreth-jones says:

    I agree with Britt. It is the salaciousness associated with the human body which is offensive, not the human body itself. Why should women pander to men by covering themselves in case it sends out wrong messages. The messages are in their minds. Furthermore why should the press be given any money for photgraphing these moments and add to the childish perceptions of lust and immorality associated with nakedness.
    I speak from a female gaze and I cannot empathise in the least with the male view (in general) of body.

    Private moments are rare these days , but nevertheless important in maintaining a balance in life where everyone seems to know everything about others ;bank details, relationship details, marital status, mortgage details etc…We need peace and privacy to find ourselves , our own feelings and position in life without others attempting to misconstrue or put their slant on our lives.

  15. Britt_W says:

    Meg, thanks for the info. Yes, I knew @LaurencePieau is a woman and did indeed read the tweets in French she posted prior to publishing. Appalling. But then, being a woman is no guarantee that you won’t adhere to the practices of the snapping paps and make money out of it all. Women are no better in that respect.

    There is, in all this, another aspect which I will never understand. That is the fact that so many people actually buy these mags and papers. After all that’s been, how can people buy the Sun, for example? I don’t get it. Not until the demand for this titillating gossip disappears will these money-making, long-lensed goings-on stop.

    And now, let’s talk about what’s happening in the world around us instead! Undoubtedly, it’s important it is to discuss privacy and sexism, but there are a lot more burning issues out there right now, I think.

  16. Des Murphy says:

    91,500,000 people have died on this planet since 9/11 of starvation!!!! And Kate’s 2 bob bits are all you can talk about!!!!!!!???????? SHAME!!!!

  17. Tanya Spooner says:

    I am disappointed that the Princess Kate tits story has generated so much outrage when there are are so much more interesting and important things going on in the world. I would have expected this privileged young woman to have good taste, and sense to keep her top on in public, but I can see that her feedom to do as she wish was much more important than any scruples she might have had about dignified behaviour in public.

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