I’m not a royalist. Nor do I hate the royals. I find the new generation, Kate and Wills, charming in a saccharine. soda eating away at the enamel on your teeth way.
I have clicked through many a slideshow of the Duchess’ fashion, hair styles, and assorted aesthetic merits in the same way one keeps track of the popular girl from high school. What’s that Kate up to now?
In 2013 women around the world cheered as Kate emerged from that thousands of dollars per night Lindo Wing in maternity wear, postpartum belly showing, hands a bit veiny, tresses flowing. She glowed. She was a happy mother to a male heir of the realm. She conjured maternal Diana, in a shorter version of a polka dotted post-delivery dress that was approvingly noted as “modern.” Diana had been “frumpy.” Hey, those were the 80s for you. The new parents’ movements were almost identical to that of the cautious, ill fated predecessors.
A few days ago a svelte Kate emerged from same aforementioned Lindo Wing, no sign of belly, infant held in the crook of her arm like a prop, 10 hours from the delivery. Gone was the idea that Kate might be a friend from down the road. In her place was a woman who clearly had an entire team of stylists at the ready and chose to use every one.
Now, I’m all in favor of (new) mothers spiffing up for visitors. On the night of a good friend’s first baby, I walked into her hospital room to discover her blow drying her hair with a drying hairbrush in preparation for visitors. I promptly bought the same device for everyday use and took it with me when we had our second son.
My friends all commented on how amazing I looked in the post delivery photos.
“Is that makeup?” Someone exclaimed on Facebook.
“Wait 24 hours and have your travel bag ready,” I advised the wary. No on the birthing table shots for me, thank you.
But Kate. Kate’s second made me sad. I saw the images and the subsequent “HOW does she do it?” chatter on Twitter, and wanted to eat a doughnut. The how wasn’t what bothered me. All the money in the world can get you a copycat look.
The why is what stung. Why do we women feel the need to be 100% perfect, all the time, even when doing something as miraculous and ancient as giving birth?
Why do we reward women for these campaigns of effortless perfection and punish them if they fall short?