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Why Kate Middleton's Weight Is None Of Germaine Greer's Business

29/09/2014 17:49 BST | Updated 29/11/2014 10:59 GMT

Last week, The Duchess of Cambridge was criticised for being "too thin". But surprisingly, it wasn't a trashy celeb mag dishing out this unsolicited opinion, but an internationally-renowned feminist.

The woman in question is none other than Germaine Greer, the best-selling author who's supposedly dedicated her career to empowering women.

Speaking to Newsweek for a feature about Kate Middleton's decline in appeal, Germaine was addressing the Duchess' pregnancy when she threw in a completely irrelevant comment about her weight.

So far, so feminist.

kate middleton

"The girl is too thin," she said. "Meanwhile, she is vomiting her guts up and shouldn't have been made to go through all this again so soon. It's not so much that she has to be a womb, but she has to be a mother. I would hope after this one she says, 'That's it. No more.'"

All too often we see the bodies of women in the public eye - whether it's a leading actress or a cabinet minister - scrutinised in the media, by onlookers who have little to no knowledge of each individual's actual health or eating habits.

Men in the public eye are not subject to the same levels of criticism.

Does Germaine know what Kate eats? No. Would she criticise William's weight in the same way? Probably not.

Unfortunately, Germaine's "too thin" comment has completely overshadowed the thought-provoking points she makes in rest of the Newsweek article about the complexities of Kate's role as a woman, mother and wife within the Royal Family.

"She [Kate] is made to appear absolutely anodyne. She cannot do or say anything spontaneous. She has learned what she has to do and say and how to do and say it in the approved way. Spontaneity will get her in trouble," says Germaine.

In this respect, Germaine contributes to a fascinating debate around Kate's relevance to the modern woman - and that is a topic worth reading about.

But by bringing Kate's waistline into the conversation, Germaine has weakened her argument and compromised her own influence as a feminist.

And this isn't the first time Germaine has caused controversy by commenting on the appearance of high profile women.

In 2008 she penned an article for the Guardian that focussed on the election night outfits of Michelle Obama and her two daughters (while paying very little attention to the election itself).

Later in 2012 she insulted former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard's appearance on live television when she said: "I wish she'd get rid of those bloody jackets - they don't fit. You've got a big arse Julia, just get on with it."

These comments are hardly what you'd expect from a feminist.

Feminism is about equal rights and it's about questioning the way society views and treats the different genders.

By continuing to divert attention away from women's rights and on to women's waists, Germaine undermines the very movement she once helped to gain notoriety.

Germaine, we love your straight-talking feminism, so please, get back to what you do best and stop insulting other women.