As the entire world keeps a constant eye on St. Mary's Hospital in London (as well as its Twitter feeds), royal baby mania has hit an all-time high. In fact, we're pretty sure there's never been a more anticipated birth — not even if you combine North West and Blue Ivy Carter. And, we totally get why everyone (including all of R29 HQ) is so obsessed — the royal family is fascinating, William and Kate are awesome and gorgeous, and our society is pretty much trained to be consumed by news of the rich and famous. Plus, in between the plane crashes, train crashes, and the tragic breakdown of Egypt, it feels good to focus on something a little more joyful. But, the media fanfare has gone above and beyond the normal limits for a cause célèbre, and it's making us more than a little uncomfortable.
When an event of this magnitude occurs (or, in this case, is about to occur), we expect a certain level of pandemonium. And, we'd be remiss if we didn't admit to getting in on the action — after all, we're about as royal baby crazy as anyone right now. But, the legions of camped-out gossip columnists flooding the streets outside the hospital, and complete influx of stories on everything from Kate's post-birth menu to tracking William, leaves us questioning how much is too much.
At first, we weren't going to say anything — the topic of royal baby ethics was simply going to be relegated to tonight's dinner-and-drinks conversation. But then, we saw the above image. An artist has actually gone so far as to create a Will and Kate lookalike photo shoot, in this case modeled after Demi Moore's infamous Vanity Fair pose. We were so confused, perplexed, and disturbed that we felt it was our responsibility to let you all know it's out there. Not only do we feel as though this is a slight invasion of privacy for Will and Kate — because, let's be honest, this image (and the others in the collection) was created so that readers would believe (at least at first) it was really the royal couple — but it pinpoints the disturbing level of obsession that people have over this couple.
Again, we're not judging people for your average celebrity crush; rather, it's when a news story begins to take over every second of our lives (and every inch of our computer screens) that we start to call foul. Are these constant panderings really the best use of our collective time? What have we come to that we're imagining what a pregnant Kate might look like in a nude photo shoot? We shudder to think what Her Majesty the Queen would say if she came across this in her inbox (assuming, of course, that the Queen uses the Internet).
So, what's the solution here, you ask? Unfortunately, we're not sure we have one — this issue is so deeply rooted in our DNA as a pop culture-consuming society. However, simply being aware of stores that cross the line and being able to take a step back to evaluate if something makes you uncomfortable is important. And, we know that we're definitely uncomfortable with a hospital losing any and all privacy, and Kate Middleton lookalikes masquerading as the birthday-suited princess. And now, we're asking you to weigh in: Where is your "do not cross" line when it comes to royal baby coverage? Are you disturbed by the media frenzy, or are you of the opinion that it simply comes with the territory of being royalty in the Internet age?
Photo: Alison Jackson/Rex USA
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