The Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, gave birth to her third child this past April. She made multiple appearances outside the Lindo Wing of Saint Mary’s Hospital, one right after giving birth. Of course, she looked flawless in each of them. It helps to be a member of the royal family.
But now, Oscar nominated actress Keira Knightley is pushing back at these photos for giving women “unrealistic expectations” of what they should look like after giving birth. Knightley penned an essay entitled “The Weaker Sex” for a collection called Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies), curated by Scarlett Curtis, who co-founded The Pink Protest.
“We stand and watch the TV screen. She [Kate] was out of hospital seven hours later with her face made up and high heels on. The face the world wants to see … Hide. Hide our pain, our bodies splitting, our breasts leaking, our hormones raging. Look beautiful. Look stylish, don’t show your battleground, Kate. Seven hours after your fight with life and death, seven hours after your body breaks open, and bloody, screaming life comes out. Don’t show. Don’t tell. Stand there with your girl and be shot by a pack of male photographers.”
But some were not here for what Knightley had to say…
Some women prefer to keep their shit to themselves. The ideal of feminism is that we women are independent, autonomous beings who cannot be controlled by any other person or group. Including other women. Quit shaming cause she’s different from you. https://t.co/NaYJ4cvsCT
— Velveeta Cheetah (@VelveetaCheetah) October 5, 2018
Where did #kieraknightley ever got the idea that everyone has to think, feel, and experience things like she does?
Women who oppress other women by accusing them of being inauthentic or what have you – they (her) are the problem.
— Rolling Stop (@RollingStop9) October 6, 2018
Why is it necessary to shame other women when their experiences differ from ours? Would u have felt better about your own birthing experience which you describe as a gruesome 'battleground' #KeiraKnightley if she had come out those doors looking a wreck? https://t.co/USETC7cpwl
— Lily Lemontree (@LilyLemontree) October 5, 2018
Many pointed out that appearances are part of the job description of being in the royal family…
I don’t like this. Don’t you think Kate would 100% prefer to throw on her yoga pants and slip out the back door? Showing off the new Baby is part of her job requirement. This is the exact opposite of supporting each other. This is a fail Kiera
— Cari Winsor (@CariWinsor) October 6, 2018
Of course she had. She is a duchess, there were hundreds of photographs ready to take photos of her. It is normal to want to feel beautiful for the cameras.
— Actress in your bad dreams (@najaboazinha) October 6, 2018
I don't agree with her shaming Kate, it was expected of her to appear with each baby…I doubt it's something she massively wanted to do and she's certainly not going to do it without looking good knowing millions of people are taking photos and judging her!
— Amanda Baker (@ALB106) October 6, 2018
But many pointed out that Knightley had a point, and wasn’t exactly criticizing the Duchess, but was criticizing the systems of oppression that made such an orchestrated appearance necessary…
I think the point she is making
Is that women are strong we go through so much & we shouldn’t be pressured to hide it because what happens to our bodies is beautiful, & natural. Then she says we are the stronger sex so I think she’s pointing to societies double standards.
— Lauren webb (@laurenwebb08) October 6, 2018
IMO the passages quoted don’t really seem to be attacking KM but more commenting on the expectations vs experience.
— Kay (@Kcbblondie) October 6, 2018
she is not attacking! on the contrary! she is pointing out how Kate had the obligation to hide her pain and all that takes to give birth, she was obligated to look perfect for the media. What's wrong with you?
— It's Ok (@merciasilver55) October 7, 2018
Veronica summed it up by saying this…
— veronica (@keiralycia) October 6, 2018
The text in the screenshot reads…
“People should read Keira’s full letter before to [sic] hate her. Her statement is very misunderstood at the moment by everyone. She said that people, especially the media, expect a false reality from every woman. If women don’t act in the way the media wants they are criticized. Either because they don’t wear makeup or either because their body is not fully recovered after birth. So, again, if you read her full essay, she doesn’t hate on Kate, she feels bad for her because of the pressure the society put on royal women, to always look perfect, even after childbirth, because that’s how the protocol is! So instead of saying ‘Keira Knightley slams Kate Middleton’ you should say ‘Keira Knightley slams the British protocol’!!”
Most people can get behind a critique of the system, which was, afterall, Knightley’s point.