Fiction is one of the few walks of life where gender doesn't matter. In the real world, we are judged on our looks, our voice, our stance. In board rooms we struggle to make ourselves heard. On construction sites we are ogled. Books are genderless products that can be enjoyed by men and women regardless of what chromosomes the author happens to have.
I send Simon Price a message to verify if he identifies as straight; he does, but adds that he is "culturally queer." That'll do. He says I'm "Wide of the mark" to call Hilary Mantel's remarks bitchy. Why? "Because it demeans the valid points she made and implies that her remarks were made with personal malice, when her beef wasn't personal."
I recently wrote on this site that, in reference to the recently published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge, pregnant and on holiday, that '...our morbid fascination with this bizarre, ordinary family invests them with a sort of inverted dignity just by them doing and saying nothing of real consequence.' I didn't expect such a vivid illustration to present itself so soon.
If you stop and think for a moment, this whole thing isn't really about Kate Middleton. Sure, she's the focus of this round, but you're noticing it because she's ubiquitous enough that everyone feels they can give an opinion and because it involves talking about women's bodies and women's representations in the media.
In a chorus that has chirruped on since the dawn of time, the world united to shut Mantel up. Some of the nastier comments on her facebook page were painful in their venom. Tweets called her rude, and admonished her with patronising clichés like 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'.