Meghan Markle is apparently the living, breathing version of the Shroud of Turin, and stop the world, because we want to get off.
The Sun has been carefully blending sexism with a dash of sports commentary and a healthy pinch of knee-jerk reaction for as long as we can remember. And, naturally, this specific brand of intrusive and highly-assumptive journalism has made for some pretty unbelievable headlines over the years.
Today’s breaking news, though, really takes the metaphorical biscuit. Because, according to one of the publication’s reporters, Princess Charlotte’s face has been spotted in Meghan Markle’s left knee.
As in, yes, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s daughter. As in, yes, the Duchess of Sussex’s ACTUAL PHYSICAL BODY. Because the year is 2019, and it’s mid-January, and we have apparently already reached peak The Sun.
“If you look closely at the shots from today’s visit to animal charity Mayhew,” the author of the – well, I guess we’re calling it an article – confides in her readers, presumably in the same whispered tones adopted by Sir David Attenborough in one of his documentaries, “the cherub-faced royal’s face appears to be visible on Meghan’s left kneecap.”
For all those who don’t know where to find the aforementioned body part, the author has also included a helpful arrow – with a blown-up photo of Charlotte’s face alongside it, for easy comparison.
The article that follows is, essentially, the usual nonsense we’ve come to expect from The Sun: several almost identical photos, a lot of drivel about the Duchess’ unusual “tribute to her adorable niece” (why buy a girl a teddy bear when you can fashion your knee to look like her actual face, eh?), and a few lukewarm comments on Meghan’s outfit, all nicely wrapped up with a dash of pseudoscience.
“It’s not unusual to see faces in everyday objects,” they write, adding that Pareidolia is a “psychological phenomenon” more commonly found in people “who are religious or believe in the supernatural”.
No amount of waffle, though, can hide the article’s true intention. Noting that the Duchess of Sussex usually “wears dresses and skirts that [fall] below the knee” (presumably to hide her strange affliction from the public), the reporter underlines the fact that this “knee-prominent outfit was a rare sight for royal fans”.
Firstly, the phrase “knee-prominent” is not one we care for. Secondly, it’s pretty apparent that no part of Meghan’s body – or any other woman’s body, for that matter – is safe from scrutiny.
Apparently it’s not enough that women are constantly measured in terms of cup size, dress size, weight and thigh circumference, hair colour (woe betide any woman who dares bare her greys), and makeup application (we’re slammed for applying it on the train, for applying too much, and for not applying it at all). It’s not enough that we’re subjected to ridiculous dress codes (remember when President Donald Trump urged female staffers to “dress like a woman”?)
It’s not enough that, in 2016, one major fashion magazine announced that “the cleavage is over”, clearly assuming that women everywhere can pluck their breasts off and tuck them away under the bed until they’re fashionable again. That teenagers are ordered to cover up their “distracting” collarbones at school, that university students can be ordered to show their cleavage at graduation, that some 12-year-old girls are banned from wearing vest tops in the height of summer, and that women can be told their belly buttons should never be visible while at the gym.
Instead, in 2019, society demands that we worry about what’s beneath our very skin and start focusing on our skeletons, too: are our skulls domed enough? Are our eye sockets too deep? Have we considered the sharpness of our elbows? Do our joints look seamless? Are our kneecaps too protruding, too concaved, too reminiscent of a small child’s face?
There’s always something else. There’s always something else. There’s always, always something else. Even when we’ve somehow managed to meet all of the impossible beauty and sartorial standards of the modern world – and, let’s face it, Meghan has done a pretty good job of that, judging by all the Pinterest boards dedicated to her ‘look’ – then people will still swoop in and find something to comment on. Something like, maybe, her actual kneecaps.
Christ almighty, give us strength. We have a feeling we’re going to (k)need it this year.