“Its all about perfection, isn’t it?” ~Keira Knightley
Earlier this week, while perusing the internet in search of news that didn’t suck, I came across an article about a series of essays written for a book called, Feminists Don’t Wear Pink (And Other Lies).
The book is a compilation of pieces written by a variety of women, from teenage activists to actresses; among them, Keira Knightley….I assume best known for her role in the Pirates of the Caribbean films.
The essay written by Keira is called “The Weaker Sex.” In it, Keira writes about her own experience with childbirth and then goes on to crap all over Kate Middleton.
In a book about feminism….
When describing her own experiences with child birth, Keira writes about her vagina splitting open and her daughter being handed to her covered in blood and vernix and all the screaming, followed by the all the feeding and the shit and the vomit, etc., etc.
Now, I was diagnosed with cancer when I was 22 weeks pregnant. My water broke at home six weeks before my due date and I arrived at the hospital wearing a Spiderman night time diaper that belonged to my step-daughter (she didn’t do princesses).
Because I was on a blood thinner as a result of clotting in my subclavian vein that had been caused by the ginormous mass that had taken up residence in my chest, I wasn’t able to get an epidural until the medication was no longer in my system; unless I wanted a spinal hematoma and I don’t know, that didn’t sound fun. Not that my doctors were willing to take the risk anyway.
“No problem!” Everyone told me. “This is your first, it always takes awhile with your first. You’ll have plenty of time for the feel good stuff before you have to start to push.”
Except, my son had other ideas. He was ready and I had no choice but to push him out au natural. At one point, I heard a loud popping sound and I asked, “What was that?”
It was my tailbone….cracking.
So yeah, I get it, having a baby isn’t easy and I thought, Right on, sister. I hear ya.
But then, Keira started writing about Kate. Now, let me first say this. This isn’t a love letter to the monarchy. I don’t get the whole British Monarchy thing. What’s the point of being the Queen of England, if Queen Elizabeth can’t demand, “Off with her head!” when it comes to Meghan Markle’s half-sister who won’t shut up.
Still, for whatever reason….I’m sure there is one….the monarchy is still a thing and the entire planet is apparently fascinated by the British Royal family.
These people can’t even fart without someone being around to exploit audio of it. Their facial expressions, clothing choices, romantic relationships, family squabbles, funerals, weddings, child births, manicures, pedicures (or lack there of), are dissected and reported on daily.
So it seemed an odd sort comparison for Keira to make when, after describing her own childbirth, she segued (I had no idea that was how that word is actually spelled) to Kates.
Sure, they are both famous.
There is famous and then there is, if you so much as sneeze and a booger flies out, the entire world is going to see it….in high definition and with incredible detail….famous.
About Kate, Keira writes, “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.”
Ok, yes, this happened. Kate gave birth and then she exited the hospital, seven hours later, and she looked great. But it’s not as though the birth didn’t happen, or that the experience of Kates labor and delivery was not every bit as emotional and raw as it is for any other woman.
And quite frankly, I think Kate got the shit end of the stick in a lot of ways.
Maybe she would have liked to have remained in the hospital for a few days post birth to rest and bond with her newborn. But for every day she remained, I guarantee the throngs of reporters and “fans” waiting to catch a glimpse of her and the baby, would not have lessened.
Maybe she chose to leave when she did, because in doing so, it would eliminate the crowds gathered around the hospital as quickly as possible; allowing other mothers to make their way to the hospital, settle in and have their loved ones come to visit without the crowds and the noise and the chaos encircling it.
And if she hadn’t, she would have been ripped to shreds for being selfish and self-centered. Damned if you, damned it you don’t.
Keira goes on to write, “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.”
Um, how should she have exited the hospital? In a pair of sweat pants, or hospital scrubs with her breasts leaking milk?
Why should she be called upon, postpartum, to expose that part of herself, so intimately private, as a fuck you to the patriarchy? I’m sorry, but that’s bull shit.
So, Kate put on a nice dress and she looked beautiful and she stood on the steps of that hospital for a moment, approximately one minute and thirty-seconds (I looked it up) and she gave what the world was going to take from her regardless. But she chose to control the ONE thing she could in that moment; her appearance. Christ, give the woman a break.
And yes, it’s not a realistic portrayal of what its like for the everywoman, but HELLO! Nothing about her life is what its like for the everywoman.
She is referred to as “Her Royal Highness” without a trace of snark. She has castles….plural. She wears tiaras, and not the kind you buy at Party City for a Bachelorette Party. One day, she’ll be the Queen of England.
The average woman, relates to none of that. In fact, the average woman doesn’t exactly related to Keira Knightley either.
Want to know how many times I’ve been airbrushed on the cover of a magazine, in a leather blazer and underwear, three months after giving birth? Zero. Zero times. I’ve never even been asked, if you can believe it.
Sorry, sweetie, but you can’t call out one woman for acting out the same play you are, only on a bigger stage, and call it feminism.