Meghan Markle’s new podcast, Archetypes, is finally here *insert loud cheer* and it’s all about exploring, challenging, and to paraphrase the Duchess herself, ripping apart the labels and tropes that try to tear women down.
You know the ones. Bossy. Diva. Hysterical. B****. Just to name a few.
“Some of these words, these labels, are harsh. They’re abrasive. And I want to get to the bottom of where they come from, why they’ve stuck around for so long and importantly – how we can move past them,” the Duchess of Sussex shares in her first episode where she interviews good friend and tennis icon, Serena Williams as well as Dr Laura Kray, the faculty director of the Equity, Gender and Leadership Center at the University of California, Berkley.
The word they unpack? Ambitious.
Meghan begins by recalling the message so many of us learn at school: “Our futures as young women were limitless. Ambition? That was the whole point!”
But as adults, it’s an entirely different story. For Meghan, the negative connotations reared their ugly heads when she began dating her now husband, Prince Harry.
“It’s really hard to un-feel it. I can’t un-see it either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller, so much smaller on a regular basis,” the Duchess says.
And yes, there’s research to show double standards really do exist.
“As researchers, we run experiments and we give people scenarios of men versus women,” Dr Kray explains. “We see that the identical behaviour is rated more negatively when it is a woman than when it is a man. So an ambitious woman is power hungry, is manipulative, is not trusted, whereas an ambitious man is seen as ‘I want to emulate him. He’s a role model’.”
It’s a concept Serena Williams – who talks on the podcast of her ambitions to be a role model at age 11 – knows all too well. She highlights how ambitious women are often framed in a negative light by the media:
“There’s one article that said this guy was passionate and I had a meltdown and I was like, wait, how do I have a meltdown but this guy’s passionate?”
Good question Serena.
“I was reading an article about how girls tend to raise their hand less and less as time goes on because their confidence starts to fade because of the things that they’re called,” Serena continues. “By the time they’re in high school and for sure in college, they’re not raising their hands as much. So hopefully we can teach our girls to continue to raise their hand and to be fearless.”
The episode is a beautiful reminder for women and girls everywhere to embrace who we are, ambition and all. To stop making ourselves smaller. To explore our fears and figure out what’s holding us back. To flip the script on the words that try to tear us down and maybe even own them.
It also covers Serena’s challenges as a working mother (including that one time she stayed up with daughter Olympia in hospital then won her French Open match running on just 30 minutes sleep!), her recent announcement to “evolve away” from tennis and… Prince Harry even pops in for a quick hello!
Meghan’s next guest will be Mariah Carey.
Archetypes Episode 1 is out now on Spotify.
(Feature Image Credit: courtesy Archetypes/Archewell Audio on Spotify)