OPINION: Meghan Markle’s story shines a light on our narrow minded country - Sophie Mei Lan
How dare Meghan Markle?! How dare I? I am actually labelling myself because, while I am loathed to label anyone else, certain labels help you to understand.
As a ‘separated single mum’ living in an ‘impoverished area’ while working from home, sharing my story across media platforms, I know all too well the pain of being trapped in a world, a place, where you are subject to other’s misplaced aggressions as they project their unhappiness onto your very existence. I no longer do as I am told by the bigots who I make feel uncomfortable just by me being unapologetically me. So, while Meghan Markle is well and truly a pioneer and human being with a much more powerful voice in her own right, there is so much to her that I can identify with.
Not to mention, the fact that she has been ridiculed, trolled, subject to racism by people who feel the need to gloss over the mistreatment of her human rights to privacy by certain media outlets and high profile people, by making it her fault: “It’s fair game for putting yourself out there,” She’s a beautiful young woman and now has another title open to much judgement… a mother, not to mention a divorcee who made it to fame through her own talent. She would prefer to smash glass ceilings than to slip on a Cinderella glass stiletto when she found herself the ‘perfect Prince,’ rather than remain silent as a conforming ‘poster girl’ to help modernise British Monarchy’s branding so they appear more diverse.
Even the language used is wrong - she has come to ‘our fine country, ‘kidnapped our prince’ and now adopts a ‘victim mentality’, while she has made an almighty Meghxit from the Royal family and our British values.
Who can blame her? We only need to glance and compare the coverage of people of a much more archetypal background. While Harry is an exploited expat, Kate is the girl next door and William is the good loyal boy who’s stayed in his area and provided for his family. Don’t even get me started on how we have handled actual Royal scandals!
There is so much to the Meghan Markle story that has shone a light on how narrow minded this country and many parts of the media still are. I went into journalism to report from the communities I am from, to give a voice to those misunderstood and seldom-heard. But regardless of my own roots, one of the fundamental principles of journalism and human rights, is a right to a private and family life. Meghan - like many other celebrities, politicians and people in power - chooses who to be interviewed by, she tries her best to navigate the wild west of the tabloid press. You don’t have to agree with her views but what I do dismay at is the mistreatment of her due to her DNA, her background.
Well done, Meghan, for not curtseying silently into our ‘modern world’, with the happy ending picture of diversity in our modern fairy-tale. True inclusion and acceptance of people who don’t fit our comfortable archetypal stereotype, no matter how much we try and repaint it, is much more of a challenging story.