Why we need to leave Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton alone
The unfair comparison between what the two sisters-in-law wore at the Commonwealth Day service shows how women are viewed in society.
Meghan Markle’s entry into the British royal family hit the media world by storm. She had the perfect profile for tabloids: An actress, who is bi-racial, and American.
The British monarchy’s history adds to Markle’s allure.
The reason Prince Harry’s grandmother is sitting on the throne is an American woman. King Edward, Queen Elizabeth II’s uncle, abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson in 1936.
The British public and the Anglican Church could not morally allow their king to be married to a divorced woman whose two ex-husbands were still alive. His brother, the present monarch’s father, then ascended the throne.
You’d think that the world would have celebrated the end of an archaic way of thought when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle without bringing about a constitutional crisis. A section of people did rejoice. The rest, however, have been busy pitting the new Duchess against Kate Middleton, her sister-in-law.
Because, how can two women share the spotlight, right? It should be wired into women’s DNA to compete with each other to prove who can be the better wife, the better behaved, the more suitable. All, of course, in relation to the men they married.
On March 11, a Commonwealth Day service was held at Westminster Abbey. Meghan Markle, who is 8 months pregnant, wore a bespoke Victoria Beckham dress. She looked radiant. But all certain sections of the media noticed is how Kate Middleton chose to wear a recycled outfit from five years ago: A red Catherine Walker ensemble.
It was now a comparison between the ‘wasteful’ and ‘spoilt’ Meghan Markle and the ‘thrifty’ and ‘modest’ Kate Middleton. One Duchess wore a dress estimated to cost £7,000, the other wore the same outfit twice. Therefore, the latter is obviously the ‘better’ one.
Catherine Walker, as would be expected, doesn’t come cheap. She retails north of £3,000. The Duchess of Cambridge has worn many of her creations. Along with Alexander McQueen and Jenny Packham, Catherine Walker is one of Middleton’s favoured designers.
This comparison based on non-issues is nothing new. Every other day, there is a news report of a ‘feud’ between the two duchesses. Why is it so impossible to imagine that two women can actually just get along?
Think Elizabeth Bennett and Caroline Bingley. Pride and Prejudice, one of the most beloved novels, has at its centre a conflict between two women. The reason? A rich man who isn’t even particularly likeable. Caroline Bingley dislikes Elizabeth mainly because Mr. Darcy seems to be fascinated by her.
When Khloe Kardashian found out about her partner cheating on her with Jordyn Woods – younger sister Kylie Jenner’s best friend – she attacked Woods for breaking up her family.
Forget the fact that Trystan Thompson had cheated on Khloe before. Or that he was cheating on his pregnant girlfriend when he first started seeing Khloe.
Jordyn Woods was to be blamed. The woman. Women are always held to higher standards, even by women themselves.
Closer to home, whenever there are rumours of affairs – be it Priyanka Chopra’s with Shah Rukh Khan or Kangana Ranaut’s with Hrithik Roshan – it is the woman who bears the brunt of the shaming.
Women are either always competing with one another, or are busy flinging mud at each other.
Even when women are moving along just fine without saying much, like Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, imaginary feuds and comparisons on non-issues are made.
When movements like #MeToo are pushing towards a more equal world, women need to stop seeing each other as enemies. The press has to be more responsible with its reporting. Sexist and misogynistic content based on hearsay should not be indulged in.
Even our vocabulary reflects this bias. Take the word “brotherhood”. It brings to mind togetherness. A bond. But it’s also a male-oriented concept. “Sisterhood” is not usually the first choice for a word to express a deep relationship.
Even in the 21st century, we still have a long way to go before a “sisterhood” becomes the norm.