It’s a lonely, hard life being an editor.
Not if you’re me because my boss is Jane and she’s never once screamed at me to show her the money, or forced me to blackmail one of the Kardashian’s maids into telling us what Kris Jenner gets up to when all the kids are out at a Kanye West concert (in my head she eats Krispy Kremes while obsessively searching for her name on Google keywords).
But I always imagine that magazine and newspaper editors, who are far tougher cookies than I will ever be, find themselves constantly being hauled into terrifying Monday morning meetings to explain their title’s falling sales (par for the course in the over-saturated, increasingly unprofitable print industry).
And I can only assume it was a meeting like this that led to Laurence Pieau, editor French Closer magazine publishing those pictures of Kate Middleton.
It can’t possibly be Laurence’s fault - her evil corporate, capitalist (male) bosses were threatening to do terrible things to her involving bamboo sticks if she didn’t publish the pictures. Probably.
At the very least she must have told she’d get a good firing if she didn’t publish a set of dubiously acquired images of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless, on private property.
After all, what woman would make such an unpopular, morally iffy and possibly illegal decision, unless one arm was being forced to breaking point behind her back?
Note the use of the gender-specific ‘woman’ and not ‘person’ here. Because the fact is, I would have been less surprised and frankly less grossed-out to discover that it was a man who published the Kate tit pics.
Double standards? Absolutely, but hear me out.
I don’t know Kate Middleton THAT WELL,* but I suspect that she was less than thrilled at the news that her nipples were all over a French magazine.
In fact, I imagine she’d feel humiliated, vulnerable, exposed and furious with herself for stripping off in the first place. And do you know how I can imagine that, despite having never met the fragrant Duchess? BECAUSE I AM A WOMAN, TOO.
And this is my problem with Pieau. Unlike her male counterparts, and assuming she’s in possession of a smidgen of empathy, she should have been able to imagine, on some level, what a shitty thing she was doing, by publishing those pictures.
As a woman, she should have been capable of putting herself in Kate Middleton’s shoes for a moment and considering how it might have felt to have been exposed so publically like that.
She might try and argue that the couple were clearly visible from a public road, or that the pictures are in the public interest, or that they are essentially just celebs and are therefore fair game. At best they’re pretty weak arguments, at worst they’re totally irrelevant.
The fact is, Pieau made a decision for her own gain that would be personally devastating to another person, who never asked for it, and certainly won’t profit from it. That’s not the illegal bit, but it should be.
And I expect better from her than I would from a man in exactly the same position.
As a general rule I get incredibly irritated when people judge men and women by different standards – particularly when it comes to sexual politics. As far as I’m concerned, bad behaviour is bad behaviour, no matter what your chromosomes looks like. But that’s exactly what I’m doing here, and I don’t care.
I’m not naïve enough to say that Pieau should have held the pictures back out of some sense of loyalty to the sisterhood (although that would have been nice). Nor am I saying that women shouldn’t be as tough as man, or less capable of making hard decisions.
But the vulnerability of being spied upon, and caught out when you’re half naked, and the humiliation of being exposed so publically like that, is something I feel (massive generalisations alert) a woman should understand a million times better than a man.
Which is why I find the truth so hard to swallow – that Laurence Pieau knew exactly what she was unleashing, and did it anyway just because she could.
The bamboo sticks theory is much more palatable.