Wednesday, July 24, 2013

royal truth

I've always loved the royal family.

I grew up idolizing Princess Diana, not just because she was a princess, but because she carried herself with such grace through adversity. I loved her because despite being a princess, she cared about and devoted herself to others who would never a fraction of the life that she held. I was devastated when she died; I still have the newspaper from the morning of her passing. I spent the rest of my youth crushing on the princes, first William and then Harry. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I still love Harry. His wild side combined with his kind heart are enough to make most women my age still swoon.

And then there came Kate: a reminder for so many of us of a young Diana. I cried when I watched her, with such innocence and poise, recite her vows in front of millions, wearing Diana's ring.

Yet, despite all of this, I couldn't find myself as attached to the coverage about the royal baby. Sure, I was happy for them - as happy as someone can be for a couple that she doesn't know personally. I wanted the baby to be healthy, of course. Yet, I felt overwhelmed at the 24/7 coverage, and I couldn't pinpoint why. Did it have something to do with infertility? Was it because I couldn't get pregnant? It certainly didn't have to do with the royal family or Kate herself. I'd loved and followed them for years. Why, all of the sudden, did I feel so uncomfortable with watching the updates on the newest member of the family's newest?

It took some time, but I slowly pieced my thoughts together. The lightbulb clicked on yesterday as I watched a short documentary on the DRC, and then turned on the television to see cameras on every news station fixed on a hospital door - waiting for a glimpse of the young prince.

What if we devoted this much to causes that matter?

All of the time, energy, and press: what if we divided that up and used that as a chance to shed some light on causes that need our attention?

Don't get me wrong. I understand those who see the royal birth as a way of escaping some of the horrible news we've seen in recent months. Mass killings, terrorism, the economy. It's not your fault that you've been sucked in. The media created and fed the frenzy. They've had correspondents camped out in London for weeks, watching and waiting to see when this baby would arrive. They've analyzed everything from name possibilities to the details of the baby's christening. It's hard to pull yourself away when the news stations practically drive their broadcast vans into the hospital room and invite themselves to the delivery.

Sadly, not everyone is as aware as you are. Others see what's broadcast on the nightly news, and that's the extent of their world exposure. They don't know that there are millions of children in the foster care system who don't have families to go home to each night. They aren't knowledgeable about infertility and how there are over 7 million people who don't think that the birth of a child is "ordinary." They don't read or hear about the changing adoption laws that may leave orphans in other countries and waiting families here in the United States hanging in the balance.

What's strangely ironic is how Diana spent years championing causes that, at the time, many others didn't think to touch. She shed light on AIDS and leprosy, and helped change the lives of millions of children affected by land mines. If anything, her spirit should be a reminder of what the media could do with its power. She should serve as an example of what all of us can do when we care enough about a cause.

Instead, the media will continue its quest for the perfect photograph or the inside scoop. And they will never stop, because we continue to watch. For not even Diana's death could get them to change the way they see the world - and themselves.


Jennifer said...

I agree wholeheartedly but was afraid it was just me. I enjoyed the coverage up to a point and then thought really there are bigger issues to deal with.

Kelly said...

Umm...according to the news outlets Kate went through IVF to have this baby. I think that she actually brought some awareness to infertility.

Katie said...

Please quote your sources, Kelly, because I've yet to see this. Also, until she opens her mouth and speaks about going through treatment, she's not actually bringing awareness to anything.

missohkay said...

So many people are just so casually incorrect about what the they think facts are. When I became really interested in politics and actually spent time learning about issues, it totally changed my opinions. Yes, there are so many causes we could contribute to if we only paid attention to the important things. (And this exactly why I stopped watching crap like The Today Show.)

I intended to leave this comment before the comment above was posted too but that proves my point :) Maybe Kate went through infertility treatments (I've actually never heard anyone report this), but remember how "news" outlets also claimed that she had to "prove" her fertility before they got married? And then they started speculating that she was infertile but stopped when she got pregnant. So yeah, the public isn't getting any real education on the issue.

Kelly said...

Google. Kate and William confirmed it early in the pregnancy. I'm not the one judging incorrect facts without research, sweetie.
Also. This is supposed to be a happy occasion regardless of IF. Believe it or not, there are many of us who have gone through IF who do not live under it's cloud for the rest of our days. Babies are a happy occasion. This is supposed to be a happy thing despite how the baby was conceived.

KeAnne said...

Kelly, I did just Google it and in no source did I find any evidence that Kate and William underwent IVF. Speculation. Innuendo. But nothing that confirms they did IVF and certainly nothing saying they themselves confirmed it.

I don't think Katie's post in any way indicated that she didn't see the birth as a happy occasion or that her experience w/ IF is preventing her from being happy for them.

Kate has been criticized for NOT being like Diana, meaning that she has selected almost no causes or charities or done much in the public. Ostensibly the reason given was that the royal family didn't want to overwhelm her and let her ease into her new role as well as to avoid what happened w/ Diana. The irony is that Diana used her position to advocate and bring awareness to situations that we don't like to talk about at parties or that receive little coverage. I wonder how she would feel about her daughter-in-law's primary legacy - so far - being that she gave birth to the heir.

With so much going on in the world and so much opportunity to do good, it's worth pondering why a child born into extreme privilege - no matter how happy an occasion - merits the news coverage when we have NSA leaks, Spanish trains derailing, conservatives in my own state bringing back Jim Crow and women's rights being rolled back. And I write this as a huge anglophile who did pay a lot of attention to the birth and wish them well.

missohkay said...

I googled it before I commented. Nothing but tabloid chatter. But thanks for calling me sweetie :) My original point stands. I should have spent my time researching something worthwhile!