Suits star Meghan Markle has a fair bit to deal with at the moment, what with juggling a full-time job and a long-distance relationship in the relentless glare of the world’s media, but being forced to smile placidly at sexist questions shouldn’t be added to her full – if arguably enviable – plate.
Appearing at a TV festival in Austin, Texas, over the weekend, Markle, 35, took part in a script reading and panel discussion with the show’s cast members – and was promptly asked if she hopes to marry Prince Harry.
Yes, she flew from Toronto to Texas to spend her Sunday working, but rather than being rewarded with respectful interest in her job, she was asked one of the most cringey intrusive and personal questions by a stranger about her personal life. As a vocal advocate of women’s rights this is likely to have grated on Markle, but, possibly being mindful of her colleagues and that reacting in any other way would have made headline news, she merely kept quiet and smiled, the Daily Mail reports
But, seriously – imagine giving up your weekend for a work off-site, delivering a carefully planned presentation, then being faced with intrusive and inappropriate questions about when you plan to marry your boyfriend in front of a captive audience. Yes, Markle’s life may be the stuff of celebrity tabloid dreams, but acting in a hit show and going out with an attractive prince doesn’t make her any less deserving of the basic rights women have come to expect at work. Namely not being asked if they “hope” to marry their boyfriends.
Aside from taking a liberty with Markle, taking this kind of entitled attitude to her private life suggests it’s an appropriate way to treat women everywhere. Along with queries about baby plans and job progression, nosing into other people’s personal business annoys people at the best of times, but it takes on a new level of discrimination and intrusion when it’s done to a woman at work.
It’s worth noting that Harry, 32, has never been asked if he “hopes” to marry Markle. A Sky News reported did have the cheek to ask if the “lady” in his life was making him happier during an interview about his work as mental-health awareness advocate in April but that was as far as it went. There was no tacit implication that he was waiting around for her to a put a ring on his finger.
Getting back to her actual job and the reason everyone was at the TV festival, Markle said her character, paralegal Rachel Zane, is a “role model”.
“She’s worked so hard and I love that, as a role model, how she’s been crafted to balance it all and now have this place at the firm where she really knows her standing and her office isn’t just because she’s a good researcher, it’s because she’s an associate. She’s really earned that spot.”
Just as she has earned her spot at the table of a hugely successful show that she was starring in for five years before she even met her boyfriend.
Main image: Rex Features