Media’s response to Meghan Markle exemplifies racist, sexist stereotypes

The+couple%E2%80%99s+interview+with+Oprah+also+highlighted+the+stigmatization+of+mental+health+in+our+society%2C+especially+in+an+environment+as+limiting+and+suffocating+as+the+royal+family%E2%80%99s.+%0A

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The couple’s interview with Oprah also highlighted the stigmatization of mental health in our society, especially in an environment as limiting and suffocating as the royal family’s.

Morgan Han-Lemus '23, Staff Writer

The controversial Oprah interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle has sparked a discussion that goes beyond the borders of “drama” within the royal family. The role of the media in the vilification of Meghan’s character is an example of racial and sexist biases and stereotypes.

Meghan Markle has been the center of defaming claims and stories in the media for years, ever since her relationship with Prince Harry was revealed to the public. The UK media has been tearing them apart even more so due to this interview in particular, which paints the royal family in a damaging light, making hefty accusations of disregard towards Markle’s mental health, blatant racism and more.

Although some will be skeptical or angry towards Markle’s claims, there is no question that her race and background are a factor playing into the scrutiny that she has been receiving.”

As the Morning Bulletin stated, “They are public figures, and that naturally means they deserve public scrutiny. But reading and hearing some of the invective this week, it’s clear we have gone far beyond scrutiny here.” 

Although some will be skeptical or angry towards Markle’s claims, there is no question that her race and background are a factor playing into the scrutiny that she has been receiving. Even within the castle, she faced ignorance and racism from those around her, even behind her back. 

In the interview with Oprah, she said there were “concerns and conversations about how dark [their baby’s] skin might be when he’s born.”

Furthermore, unlike other situations, there is a direct comparison that can be made to see the differences in the media and general public’s reaction.

According to The Washington Post, “[…] the bottom line is that […] Meghan [is] being held to a different and a harsher, a more unfair, standard than [her] white counterparts. With Meghan, there is a direct comparison with Kate, to be able to show that this newspaper said X about Meghan, but they said Y about Kate. And so you can see how race really does make a difference.”

This comparison also exemplifies sexist ideas that lead to differences in how certain women are perceived and treated. There are clear sexist beliefs present in the criticisms of Markle being an older, divorced woman. This idea of “impurity” because of her past relationship(s) is something that has persisted throughout our society’s progression, even compared to 19-year-old Princess Diana’s engagement into the royal family, where her uncle said, “Diana, I can assure you, has never had a lover.” 

We will never know the objective truth about what really happened within the royal family; however, the racist and sexist ideologies present in the media, tabloids and many people’s reactions can be clearly seen and acknowledged.