Pictured above: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge after the birth of their first child, Prince George
Have you heard? There is a new royal baby.
Not a single detail has been undocumented, not a single expert has been overlooked.
With this royal baby announcement, it seems like the 24/7 media world has harnessed its modern technological prowess and ability to report news in real-time.
However, some dangerous themes that have long been present within the news are still present within this coverage.
Rapt and cloyingly enthusiastic, the coverage details every single aspect of the birth and the parents. Of course, this scrutiny is mostly extended to Kate, to a microscopic degree.
While presented as a nationalistic celebration, the coverage reinforces the usual media scrutiny of the female body and – as is often the case with such birthing stories – asserts its ownership over the mothers’ bodies.
Kate gave birth in a hospital, outside of which groups of the public and press alike were chanting ‘don’t make me wait, Kate’.
Let’s try to forget the trauma and annoyance this would cause a pregnant women literally pushing another human being out of their body. This pushy and overbearing behaviour symbolises how much the public and press think they have an unlimited right to her body, and access to dictate the processes it is undergoing.
It symbolises how much they believe they can dictate the birth, removing Kate’s autonomy from the process by the nation presenting themselves as overbearing midwives without any real or grounded authority.
This places Kate under constant pressure, the degree to which is unique to her position as such a significant celebrity. Yet this pressure and sense of ownership is seen across the media and within society, with new mothers constantly being questioned or intruded on.
All because society – as represented by the media – believes that from its sexist base, women’s bodies are reducible to the processes they can perform, which are not the sole responsibility of the woman but rather of everyone and anyone in the vicinity.
The coverage thus pushes Kate out of the picture, removing her autonomy towards her own body as it does with some many expectant mothers and women in general. This is furthered by the secondary placement of Kate once she presents the baby, as though she has to placate the crowds and demonstrate the baby as her ability to perform her duty – birth.
Instead, the focus automatically shifts to the baby. What will it be called? How much does it weigh? What gender is it? Every single feature of the baby is discussed in the press, it becomes the true subject of all the articles.
This further eliminates Kate, proving that the true reason for the focus before being on her was due to her carrying the baby. Once it has been birthed, she is pushed out of focus. The baby is in the spotlight and the woman, having performed her bodily function, is no longer important.
Of course, the coverage does not let Kate go completely. Her body is still its possession and so it launches into the myriad discussions of what she’s wearing, how much she weighs, how much she should lose, and how she will do this. Her body is still focal. The media still owns it and will push it to promote an unrealistic and dictated view of how young mothers should look, when it is frankly none of their – or our – damn business.