A survey commissioned by Newsweek Europe and published by YouGov has found that only one percent of women polled said they wanted to be like Kate Middleton, while a whopping 89 percent said they had absolutely no interest in being the Duchess of Cambridge for a day.
In the cover story that accompanied the findings, feminist author Germaine Greer criticized the Duchess of Cambridge for being “too thin.” And while she said she believed Middleton is intelligent—and more so than her husband, burn—she went on to suggest that the 32-year-old mother is somehow being forced into the role of motherhood, an assumption that sort of negates the isn’t she smart idea.
Said Greer: “She is vomiting her guts up and shouldn’t have been made to go through all this again so soon. It’s not so much that she has to be a womb, but she has to be a mother. I would hope after this one she says, ‘That’s it. No more.’”
Why Greer feels this way isn’t entirely clear. Middleton appears to be a very sunny, contented mom. Given the fact that I haven’t seen her mouth the words help me in any of her public appearances with her husband or baby, I’m going to assume that she’s happy to be expecting again and dealing with a hellish first trimester racked by hyperemesis gravidarum as best she can (and in much the same way that many women have and will do until the end of time).
Greer isn’t the first boldface woman to reveal a complicated relationship with the public face of Middleton.
Last year, in a lecture for the British Museum, author Hilary Mantel called the Duchess a “machine-made” princess “designed by committee.” Again, she was characterized as some kind of mindless prop whose sole purpose is to produce heirs.
While both women seem to temper their criticism with a kind of sympathy for Middleton—both imply she’s a victim of the monarchy and its sausage-factory approach to making palatable princesses—their general disapproval of her seeming blandness is palpable.
There’s no in-depth explanation as to why women aren’t feeling Kate Middleton right now. But I know why I wouldn’t want to be her: because she can’t win no matter what she does. Even more impossible/frustrating: she has to put up with an endless amount of criticism for being polite, sunny and well-behaved in public—and by people she’s never met.
And at the moment, she’s enduring it while vomiting. Barf.