Kate’s breasts are designed to feed a baby not a scandal
Opinion Digest: our cultural obsession with breasts, provoking Muslim anger and why GCSEs are obsolete
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KATE’S BREASTS ARE NOT FOR TITILLATION
FLORENCE WILLIAMS ON CULTURAL ATTITUDES TO BREASTS
It’s an undersung truism of history that “where there's an empire, there's often a pair of breasts orbiting the land like planetary moons”, says Florence Williams in The Guardian. From Helen of Troy to Marie Antoinette, a pair of regal orbs is the stuff of legend. “It should come as no surprise, then, that there was such a fuss about the Duchess of Cambridge's breasts.” Harry's parallel dishabille in Las Vegas didn't generate quite the same uproar because people treat men's and women's body parts differently. “We giggle and swoon and peek and rage because we have not yet as a culture resolved our conflicts over breasts.” We sexualise them more than other cultures, and because we see them for one thing, we are incapable of seeing them for what they really are. Let's hope the Duchess takes back her breasts and shows the world what they’re really for - a baby and royal heir.
MUSLIM LEADERS EXPLOIT VICTIM MENTALITY
DAVID AARONOVITCH ON MUSLIM ANGER
It seems we can’t discuss or depict Islam without causing mortal offence and “global Muslim anger”, says David Aaronovitch in The Times. It’s not just the unter-twaddle lens pullings of a West Coast fraudster on YouTube, or the satirical cartoons of Charlie Hebdo that provoke anger. Even a program on Channel 4 exploring the historical origins of Islam is accused of being “mockery”. Muslim leaders cleverly harness and exploit the reactionary emotional power of grievance by placing themselves in the position of the victim, even when they run a quarter of the countries in the world. This is not global anger. “It’s global adolescence.”
WHY FUSS OVER GCSES? NO ONE ELSE DOES
DAVID MILIBAND ON SCHOOL EXAMS
In all the discussion of the launch of the Government's English Baccalaureate Certificate, no one has asked the obvious question: why do we have exams at 16, says David Miliband in The Times. O levels, GCSEs and even the EBC are all starting to look obsolete as we move to a time when all students will have to stay in education or training until they are 18. Many of the best education systems don’t have a GSCE equivalent for 15-16 year olds, focusing instead on student progression to the age of 18. But GCSEs in England represent the first of three years of manic and costly over-testing in the UK. In an age of austerity, “much of the money could be better spent teaching young people rather than testing them”. GCSEs should be treated as “a staging post, not a destination”.