On this day, we recognise their pain, suffering, erasure from elements of history to better fit the man's narrative, and we collectively make another call for equal rights, equal pay (yes, get rid of the gender pay gap), equal opportunities and so much more.
And, so begins International Women’s Day 2021 with the media (both mainstream and social) tearing into The Duchess of Sussex (which is still her title, for the record) for having the sheer audacity to shed a little light on her thoughts from what has been (in part) a torrid period of her life, and also give further insight into part of the reasoning behind why the Duke and Duchess decided to leave the UK in the first place. I’m writing about Meghan, in case you missed it… who in what’s being branded as a bombshell interview with Oprah Winfrey and her husband Prince Harry, spoke about her state of mind and also of the racism that she encountered from within Royal circles. You’d think this would be shocking enough to make people pause, and for some it did - for a bit.
This morning however, we saw a famous TV anchor once again grinding his gears about Meghan, and explaining (from the perspective of a white male in this instance) how Meghan was utterly wrong about racism in the Royal Family, simply because he believes it to be so — that alone is entirely deserving about its own topic perhaps on another day. In short though, it is not his topic to be discussing.
What is apparent from this interview is that there are a lot of hurt feelings, whether that’s the lack of parental support, lingering love and fondness towards a sibling or an (understandably) pervasive distrust of the media as a result of their experiences to date. The Royals (which they still are, at least on paper) have a lot to say and despite what I may think about things, it’s not for me to cast aspersions on either of their characters. However, after all they have been through and the relentless scrutiny they continue face and so on, I think they at least deserve to speak their truth, whether we agree with them or not.
But... if something is wrong it must be called out. There was a tweet about the interview from the daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. which has stuck with me all day, "royalty is not a shield from the devastation and despair of racism", unsurprisingly it really isn’t and what an awful atmosphere that is to be creating and raising a family within… regardless of perceived wealth or stature. Once again, is it any wonder they left?
This was their first opportunity to actually put forward their side of the story, give their take on things if you will. One of the saddest things here is that yet another family is hideously fractured, an encampment of different people with wildly different perspectives, much like any other family. Except in this case this is the one that just happens to be (probably) the most famous one in the world, a union across different cultures that on the outside seems to have gone horrendously wrong, when we all needed this to go right.
And, yet once again it seems that so many have rushed to grab their pitchforks or flaming torches only to hop aboard a bandwagon of collective rage and fury - about an interview most of us have yet to see in full - but this doesn’t stop us pointing fingers and decrying the loss of an ‘obviously beguiled’ 33-year-old man, before weaponizing the vitriol as they once again focus on tearing down a pregnant and traumatised woman. On International Women’s Day no less. Yes, really...
What is clear is that we need to learn a heck of a lot more about listening to, empowering, representing fairly, respecting, supporting and not continually admonishing women… if that can’t be today of all days, when?