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Royally Sexist: How TOI’s Headline On Kate’s Dress Is Media Sensationalism At Its Worst

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By Harsh Mahaseth:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently touring India. During this visit, they were spotted paying their respect to the brave Indian soldiers who fought till death to defend their country. While they were paying tribute at the Amar Jawan Jyoti in India Gate, The Times of India was present to cover this sentimental moment. However, instead of the quiet, peaceful and somber tribute that the Royalty of Britain was extending, the Times of India decided to publish this as front-page news.

kate toi

Kate’s dress was blowing all over due to the wind but the princess continued the tribute without awkwardness. This is what the Times of India chose to call Kate’s ‘Marilyn Monroe moment’!

In 1955, the famous Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe wore a white dress for the movie The Seven Year Itch and created one of the most iconic images of cinema – her dress billowing around her as the wind from a subway played cheekily with her ‘modesty’; the star looks at the camera with a million-dollar smile.

The difference between this cinematic moment and Kate Middleton paying tribute to the martyrs at India Gate is that the Duchess wasn’t staring into the camera or posing but was completing a diplomatic duty in India. But, hey, a journalist’s got to do what he’s got to do, right? So why not relate the unfortunate event captured on camera with a moment that was intentionally filmed by an actress? The Times of India is one of the most-read newspapers in the world and for it to publish such an article on the front page is not only disrespectful but also shameful.

It is sad to say that the Daily Mail also jumped in on this “issue”. They focused more on the ‘deformed’ feet of Kate rather than the real reason of the couple being at the venue: honoring 70,000 Indian soldiers who had died fighting for the British Army during the First World War!

Twitter was up in anger against this and unleashed its fury with some hilarious tweets mocking the leading national daily.

“I will not be shocked if Times Of India prints ‘Rain during Mayawati rally, she had a Raveena Tandon moment’.” said one user.

“The sexist & shabby reporting by TOI needs just one tweet from Kate Middleton – I am a woman. I have legs. You have a problem with that?” said another.

In this day and age where it has become important to discuss the ethics of photography, the Times of India just reiterated that a woman’s body is a canvas for stimulation and pleasure and is constantly under public scrutiny.

This was definitely not their first problematic headlines. Most of us still haven’t forgotten the ugly episode with Deepika Padukone and her cleavage. While Padukone was lauded for boldly stating these defiant words “YES, I’m a woman, I have breasts and a cleavage” – we will have to wait to hear what Kate Middleton makes of this.

However, a contradictory opinion was given by Indian Journalist Shekhar Gupta – “Objections to TOI on Kate’s Marilyn moment silly. Brits have grown up view of Royals as glamorous celebs. We’re trapped in “Convented” times.”

While we might consider this to be a shameful tactic on the part of the press but what if this is a reflection of what turns on the readers? People are now obsessed with celebrities and what they do. Readers want to know what a celebrity wears and does every day – no amount of masala must be missed. Is it due to this craze that news agencies cover such issues? Media only covers what sells, and sadly celebrity gossip has always been a hot cake. In this era, where women have started to shine and get away from the grasp of patriarchy, it is unfortunate to see people worshipping female idols in temples while disrobing them with their eyes. It isn’t surprising to see that a newspaper that covers such issues and posts such pictures is one of the leading dailies of the world!

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  1. amitabh

    Well written and well said. The media really need to learn the difference between news and selling newspapers.

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Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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