I am sitting at home ,it’s a nice comfortable house with a pool and high boundary walls. I am comfortable . I have all that I need(food ,water , shelter )and as a millenial the biggest need of all ,my MacBook. I am young-ish South African , priveleged enough to not have any student loans after university and yet struggling to get my own career or full time employment contract. I have a car , which I think is ‘bordering on antiquited’ but many people still buy as it is still considered a viable starter car . I am in my late twenties . Which is the exact place that Meghan Markle found herself ,trying to book jobs as young and struggling actress. Not that I am comparing myself to Meghan.Nor am I comparing my car ,apparently hers had to be opened via the boot and we’re not at that stage- yet!But I can understand the frustration of a young and successful , self-made millionaire who finds herself voiceless amid horrible attacks on her character. The same character that managed to build a life for a herself .The same way many of us are trying to build our lives and make our dreams a reality.
Building the life that you envisioned for yourself is no easy task. It takes guts, determination, a strong belief in oneself and others (family, friends, employers,collegues)believing in you. And maybe a little luck and destiny. Meghan’s landing her big break in Suits is no small achievement , there are plenty of young and talented actresses who all were vying for the role of Rachel Zane. And plenty more who would kill for such a role. The fact that the British Press, and yes the so called ‘Firm’ as well ,want to downplay or erase her achievements is ruthless and unkind. Meghan launched her lifestyle blog ‘the Tig’, and became a humanitarian with World Vision and various other charities off the success of the show . She also became the United Nations Advocate for the political participation of women. If that’s not building the life you envision, I don’t what is. As a young student she majored in Theatre and International Relations, and went on to intern at the US consulate in Buenos Aires .That’s a huge achievement! She could’ve had a very good and enviable career in politics. Once again, she chose the path that she believed was right for her. Building the life that she wanted.
The half-baked comparisons to Kate Middleton while not unexpected are quite frankly denigrating to her character. Kate with millionaire parents , who had to be told as a grown woman to ‘ get a job’ by the queen ,a person whon spent 10 years chasing after William . A person who went to university to catch her fish . A person who openly showed that while she had a university degree she had no desire to use it. I’m of the view that Kate Middleton ‘would have died’ if William hadn’t married her but she finally got her marriage and children. And everyone was happy for her . She got her fairy tale ending. Now why can’t the Brits be happy for Meghan? Simply put Meghan doesn’t fit their view of what makes a fairy tale Duchess. The Spaniards and the Danish have all been able to accept their divorcée princesses with previous careers and lives of their own. Queen Letizia of Spain met prince Felipè while working as an international television journalist working for Televisión Española, and Princess Mary was an Australian advertising executive. These women are modern and ambitious , they are celebrated for it. Whilst on that very strange island called the Britain, Meghan is detested for it. Don’t bother calling them out on it , they just say “she’s different”. What does ‘different’ mean ?
The difference that they seemingly desire to hide and quickly bury is that she is Black , mixed race but nonetheless Black. I wouldn’t do justice to my intersectional feminism if I believed that all feminisms view equality through the same prism. Meghan being successful and wealthy might to the average person give her more privileges than most and make her more equal to those in similar positions. However, the British social ranking and class sytem plays a role that is racist and stuck in Bridgerton 19th century ideas and notions of hierachy. Which in part explains why ‘the Firm’ is outdated, sexist and cannot function in the modern world . The only way it can be relative is by maligning and smearing a woman of colour who is more beloved and admired than their caricatures of darling prince and princess.This allows them to push the narrative that William and Kate are the perfect example ,and show that Prince Harry should have married a white woman. An aristrocrat would be ideal but we have to keep up the facade of being modern . A nice girl from a wealthy family might be suitable to join “the Firm”.
In the Jane Austin manner Carole Middleton arranged , manipulated and plotted for her daughter to marry into British High Society. Once again we’re reminded that being ambitious for white women is okay . It’s good character to be social climbers. Thus creating the setting for a perfect alliance for William and Kate . Kate and William who were often called ‘work-shy’ in the past ,are suddenly praised for the traditional values with the arrival of Meghan in the picture . Meghan is called a bully for having a strong work ethic and sending emails at 5am . Lest we forget sending emails before 10 am is rude! Who on earth is awake before 10 am? I will tell you who. It is working men and women:mothers , maids,cleaners, nurses ,doctors and lawyers . Everyone who can’t afford to lay down with the knowledge that they can live comfortably without lifting a finger . Comfortable in a life built for them by their family and husbands. People who have bills to pay and tasks to complete before the end of the day. Now Meghan could choose to be lady that lunches and not work, but this is a woman who has built the life that she wanted for herself. She is a woman in tune with the American dream. And the millions that reside and work in the United Kingdom. The likes of Carol Middleton who was ambitious enough to build a successful business that enabled her to send her children to private school.
The comfort of high society or sorority mothers is a reality that very few understand or even have the the option of being accepted into. Which is why books like Primates of Park Avenue and productions such as the Real Housewives franchise and Ladies of London have done so well. These are all produced around wealthy , white women , with perfect figurs.In the case of Ladies of London white and titled. If you want a glimpse into London high society watch Ladies of London and Made in Chelsea(MIC), you will also see that MIC cast members were not so nice to their new black girl Paris Smith. Yet we are to believe that the aristocracy, the royals and all of England’s high society rolled out the red carpet for Meghan. This especially after William said he was “bored” with racism. I find that version of events truly hard to believe.
The idea of a young, mixed race , American , self-made millionaire married into the royal family and does not need to bow down for scraps to the powers that be -that drove ‘the Firm’ crazy. Who was this woman we can’t dictate to and control ? Prince William called her “this girl” (I imagine that they called her ‘this girl’). This woman stole the heart of a Prince Harry and now we have to call her Duchess. Suddenly we have to curtsey to her and take orders from her , and read emails before 10 am. This woman with friends with high ranking careers , friends who have all similarly built their own lives and wealth. Friends who are similarly successful.