A Star Is Born!

You may have heard that there is a new heir to the English throne. Or maybe not. They have been kind of burying the story in the back pages of the media haven’t they? So, just in case you haven’t seen it or heard it anywhere else, let me share the fact that at 4:24 PM on July 22, 2013 in London the Duchess of Cambridge was “was safely delivered of a son”. The little guy, whose name is still pending release, weighed 8 lbs., 6 oz – which is a big baby (especially considering that his mother only weighs about twice that).

I am happy for the royal family, as I am for all families that are blessed with wanted and welcome addition of a baby.

The only cloud in the blue sky of a royal birth was the fact that some people just could not help but go all medieval about the fact the new heir was born with the best kind of genitals … the kind that dangle. Yes, a reporter actually said that the birth of a penis-wielding superior being was just another sign of how well the Duchess was fulfilling her end of the marital contract: “This is how brilliant a royal Kate is … There are women throughout British Royal Family history who have panicked over not being able to deliver a boy and here we are. Kate did it — first time.”

Leaving aside the fact that male gametes determine the sex of the fetus so Kate had diddly-squat to do with the fact the baby was a boy, if women could be “brilliant” at having boys I think some of the prior Queens of England would have been HAPPY to oblige their husbands with a wiener-having offspring. Does this mean that royal women who made girl babies were “dull” … or were they just obstinate twits would wouldn’t give their husbands a male heir out of spite?

Isn’t this the same kind of archaic malarkey that makes Jane Seymour a perpetual “good wife” (rather than the home-wrecking, manipulative, accessory to Anne Boleyn’s murder that historical evidence suggests she was) because she was the only one of Henry VIII’s wives to give him his longed-for son? She had no more control over the sex of her baby than Katherina of Aragon or Anne Boleyn; she was lucky not smart/brilliant/good/saintly. If Katherina or Anne could have done something to give Henry his boy, isn’t it obvious that they would have done it? If not out of love for Henry, then at least out of self-preservation?

And what about those women who DID manage to crack out a son? Were they guaranteed a happy marriage with their royal spouse? How did that work out for Lady Diana, who gave Charles a heir and a spare within the first four years of marriage? Did she become the treasured apple of his eye because of her majestic uterus? I seem to recall that while they both adored their kids, they didn’t seem too fond of each other. I also vaguely remember that Diana had some problems with the royal family in general. This would seem to indicate that having a boy does not necessarily imbue royal woman with life-altering awesomeness and familial security.

Moreover, this is 2013 not 1320 – it is considered socially acceptable not to be female nowadays. Or maybe not, since Tina Brown, “weighed in on the birth of the royal baby yesterday by praising Kate Middleton on her expert son-producing loins” by tweeting that “Now the royals can stop pretending they were fine with a girl 1st!” Wow. The fact that the Duke and Duchess and the whole royal family were pretending so well that even before Kate’s pregnancy they were advocating to change the primogeniture laws to allow a firstborn daughter to inherit the crown makes me want to give every single one of them an Oscar for their performance!

I call shenanigans on the entire misogynist claptrap that it is “better” that Kate and William had a boy baby. Then again, what do I know? I have had only girl babies, so I am clearly a second-class woman with substandard reproductive equipment.

2 thoughts on “A Star Is Born!

  1. I’m pretty sure Tina Brown was trying to be funny (whether she succeeded, eh …) I’m not sure about Victoria Arbiter, I have no idea whether she has a weird sense of humour or was being serious. Either way, all I could think was “Hey, Catherine of Aragon had several sons, they just didn’t make it much further than the current prince.” It goes without saying that I hope this baby lives to be 100+, obviously!

    I’m not sure who holds Jane Seymour up as a paragon of anything — Agnes Strickland was complaining about her in 1844 and there’s certainly been a lot of people doing so since. I wouldn’t call her an accessory to murder, though. How much power did she really have over what happened to Anne? Henry was perfectly capable of killing her himself, no prompting needed from Jane (whose opinion, as he’d make it clear later, he didn’t particularly want to hear in other matters).

    1. Jane often gets held up in popular culture as the “good girl”, although she certainly has had detractors (Strickland wasn’t alone by any means). I think it bugs me that Anne is still being conceived of (by many people) as a predator who broke up Henry’s marriage in a bid for the crown while Jane’s obvious manipulations get a pass. If nothing else, Jane was complicit in Anne’s judicial murder. Anne left court for years to try to get away form the married Henry … Jane stayed put so she could get engaged over Anne’s still-warm body. I really, really dislike Jane and her power-hungry, murdering brothers.

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