Anyone who is keeping abreast with current news would know that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Princess Kate are on a royal tour of India, and the neighbouring country of Bhutan. And as is wont to happen, every tiny detail that occurs is blown up to fantastical proportions in the media. Apart from their agenda, most media houses are keeping a close eye on Kate’s wardrobe, and how.
Recently when the royal entourage was in New Delhi, and the couple was laying a wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti (a war memorial) at India Gate, when the breeze played truant with Kate. So her dress got ruffled by the wind, but the media decided to freeze onto this particular moment to publicise.
The Times of India, one of India’s leading national English daily, had this unsavoury picture splashed across its front page on all editions, comparing her to Marilyn Monroe, who famously posed in a white dress with her skirt flaring up in the film The Seven Year Itch. But they weren’t the only ones. International media too had their day’s worth of fame. The New York Post, Vanity Fair, Mirror Royal and E! Online, a host of other publications, portals, men and women alike have trudged down the same pathetic path. I’m not sure if these publications have taken down their tweets/news items, but it certainly was trending yesterday and the day before.
One UK news portal actually gave the following headline… wait for it…
“Her Royal Thighness: Kate had Marilyn Monroe moment as gust catches her unawares”
Yes she is a guest of India, but let us keep that aside for a minute. I’m not even talking about the comparison with Marilyn Monroe, who had ‘posed’ for the camera as opposed to posing by ‘accident’; I’m not even harping on the sexist act of the coverage, but is basic decency now a thing of the past? Forget front page news, making this news at any level, is shoddy journalism. Tabloids and broadsheets are merging, and the media now has quite a convoluted self-image.
At home, we subscribe to the Times of India and The Hindu. On working days, I just carry The Hindu with me to work where I get to read it in peace, which is why when I heard about the Kate front page fiasco over the radio, it had me thinking… where are we headed to? And this is not just India or the TOI, this is with a lot of other publications across the world.
This reminded me of Emma Watson, the actor who portrayed Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, who spoke of her experience on turning 18.
“It was pretty tough turning 18. I realised that overnight I’d become fair game. I had a party in town and the pavements were knee-deep with photographers trying to get a shot of me looking drunk, which wasn’t going to happen. I don’t have to drink to have a good time… The sickest part was when one photographer lay down on the floor to get a shot up my skirt. The night it was legal for them to do it, they did it. I woke up the next day and felt completely violated by it all. That’s not something I want in my life.”
The media has an important role to play, especially in developing the democratic consciousness of its country. The US TV series, The Newsroom showcases how a news segment must fight in the face of corporate, commercial and personal demons to produce quality news for its viewers. I agree it is idealistic, but discretion and presence of mind is crucial for editors round the world.
This post is part of the seventh annual A to Z Challenge that takes place in the month of April. The theme for this month is ‘Every Day Musings’. It’s my first attempt at this. Feedback is most welcome, constructive criticism, even more. Share your experiences and let’s enjoy this month of fabulous blogging. If you want to know more about this challenge, click here.