People

Meghan Markle: why are people so shocked that the Duchess of Sussex sweats?

One very normal bodily function, one very abnormal response: why can’t people handle the fact that the Duchess of Sussex sweats?

Meghan Markle has had to put up with a lot of scrutiny since becoming the Duchess of Sussex, and that’s putting it lightly. We’ve seen her criticised for any number of ridiculous things, almost all of which have been focused entirely on her appearance. There was the time she was deemed “inappropriate” for using dark nail polish. For dressing in “too much” black. For wearing a one-shouldered gown to a high-profile fashion event. For using hair extensions. For wearing high heels. For not wearing high heels. For – and this remains my personal favourite – wearing a bra underneath her clothes (you know, like you’re supposed to do with underwear).

It makes some sort of twisted sense, then, that trolls were quick to fall upon photos and footage of Meghan’s recent engagement at London’s Canada House

You may also like

It’s time to accept that women don’t ‘glow’ – we sweat

While the majority of us either a) saw the photos and moved on with our lives, or b) busily dedicated ourselves to tracking down the royal’s wool coat (£190 from Reiss, if you’re interested), there were those who felt the need to zoom in on the photographs of Meghan in a bid to find a flaw.

The worst thing they could come up with, on this occasion? Well, I’m sure you’ll be horrified to learn that Meghan – like almost every other human on the planet (insert your Prince Andrew jokes here, I can wait) – sweats.

“Oops, Meghan needs a better deodorant,” one wrote on Twitter, alongside a zoomed-in photo of Meghan’s armpit.

“Did she forget her antiperspirant???” asked another.

“Not a good look,” reprimanded another. “Was it a little bit taxing at the embassy?”

Meghan Markle’s winter coat: the Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)
Meghan Markle: the Duchess of Sussex arrives at Canada House on January 07, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage)

As if the tweets about “Sweaty Sussex” weren’t enough, there were also those who felt the need to take to @SussexRoyal’s official post about the engagement and share their thoughts on Meghan’s sweat there, too.

“Love your sweaty armpit pics,” wrote one particularly nasty troll. “Never in my life have I seen our Queen, Camilla, Kate or ANY of our royal ladies have a stinky, sweaty armpit. Don’t you know about deodorant?!”

We all started 2020 with such good intentions. How has it already come to this?

As Stylist’s Alix Walker previously noted, we each have two to five million sweat glands and they tend to cluster under our boobs, our armpits, our groins and our upper lips. Why? Because sweating is good for us: it keeps us from over-heating, and regulates our core temperature. It’s the source of an antimicrobial peptide called dermcidin, which helps protect against infection from harmful germs, like a natural antibiotic. It regulates water balance for our entire bodies. And dermatologists reckon it contains a natural moisturiser, too, keeping our skin hydrated and healthy.  

Like I say, sweat is good for us. Really good, actually. You’d never know it, though, because we rarely see photos of women sweating. There’s maybe the odd sportswoman completing a marathon or grand-slam, or a post-workout selfie or two on Instagram. However, the media shies away from sharing photos of a woman sweating as she goes about her day-to-day. Just like those other big taboos (grey hair on women under 40, period blood stains and female body hair), it’s something that should be a normal occurrence, but has been made unnatural – shameful, even – by its lack of visibility. 

Don’t believe me? Find a deodorant ad on YouTube right now and give it a watch. I’m willing to bet you’ll find a bone-dry armpit and a very light allusion to the idea that women might sometimes sweat. Maybe.  

You may also like

How Meghan Markle is using her first royal tour to fight the good feminist fight

It’s all nonsense, of course. Women sweat every bit as much as men. I’ll say it again for those in the back: women sweat every bit as much as men. And, while we might associate it with a workout or sweltering summer’s day, it’s worth noting that winter sweat is every bit as common. Think about it: in an effort to combat those frigid outdoor temperatures, we bundle up in woolly coats, jumpers and all things snuggly before leaving the house, only to find ourselves uncomfortably hot once we begin our power-walk to the office.

All it takes is one step inside a warm room/car/bus/train, and that’s it: perspiration is imminent. Meghan and her chic woollen ensemble never stood a chance. And, until we all start talking about the fact women sweat, none of us stand a chance, either. Because if Meghan Markle – a genuine duchess and fashion icon – can’t get away with one tiny sweat stain, what hope do the rest of us bloody have? None whatsoever.

If that ain’t enough to make you break out in a cold sweat, I don’t know what is.

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Image: Getty

Topics

Share this article

Recommended by Kayleigh Dray

Fashion

Where to buy the Meghan Markle coat everyone’s talking about

Tonal dressing just got given the royal seal of approval – here’s how to get your hands on Meghan Markle’s wool coat…

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

Meghan Markle champions feminism with women’s suffrage speech

The Duchess of Sussex advocates fairness and choice

Posted by
Anna Brech
Published
People

Yes, Meghan Markle wears a bra. Get the f**k over it.

The online response to the Duchess of Sussex’s so-called “wardrobe malfunction” suggests we’re well on our way to a real-life Gilead

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
People

“The dark subtext to those Meghan Markle security reports”

There’s more to those Meghan Markle headlines than some members of the media would have you believe…

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published
Long Reads

“Why we should all think twice before slating Meghan Markle’s wedding dress”

Meghan and Harry’s royal wedding is still making headlines – albeit for all the wrong reasons.

Posted by
Kayleigh Dray
Published