“You can be a woman who wants to look good and still stand up for the equality of women.” -Meghan Markle
In 1993, an eleven-year-old girl, infuriated by an Ivory soap advertisement tagline, “Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans,” decided to take action. She wrote letters explaining the sexist stereotype of how only women could wash dishes to anyone she could think of--First Lady Hillary Clinton, journalist Linda Ellerbee, and even the manufacturer of the dish detergent, Procter & Gamble. After reading Meghan’s impassioned words, the company adjusted the tagline to “People all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans” ("Meghan Markle.” Contemporary). That was just the beginning of Meghan Markle’s activism. Even now twenty-six years later, she continues to fight for her beliefs, serving as a “UN Ambassador for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women” in 2016 and campaigning for charities such as World Vision’s Clear Water Campaign, which provides potable water for children in Africa (Kirker). Born to an African American mother and Caucasian father and raised in Los Angeles, Meghan Markle overcame the lack of roles in Hollywood for women of color, as well as racial stereotyping, to reach success as a television actress. Throughout her acting career, Meghan Markle used her newfound fame to speak out for women's rights and equality by presenting at conferences and giving speeches about her advocacy and beliefs on equality. Meghan Markle may be successful, but during the earlier days of her acting career and when she started dating Prince Harry, she faced discrimination due to her mixed race. However, instead of letting the hurtful words affect her, Markle used those comments to further prove that her skin color would not define who she is as a person. Aside from Meghan Markle’s fame due to her successful acting career, her persistence to prove her worth no matter the obstacle, as well as her compassion to give back to charities and campaigns to help those in need make her a hero.
Throughout her career and her personal life, Meghan Markle persisted in her advocacy for equality against racial prejudice not only in the states but also Britain to prove that the color of her skin could not limit her. As a biracial actress in Hollywood interested in being hired for roles in significant television showings, Meghan Markle wrote about her struggles to find acting jobs due to her mixed African American race: "I wasn't black enough for the black roles, and I wasn't white enough for the white ones, leaving me somewhere in the middle as the ethnic chameleon who couldn't book a job" ("Meghan Markle.” Contemporary). In the early 2000s, being a biracial, young woman made it particularly difficult to find jobs, especially in involved areas like Hollywood. As a woman in her early 20s, Meghan Markle struggled to figure out who she truly was as a person and the dreams she wanted to pursue, because the racial stereotypes in America tried to limit her from achieving her dreams as an actress. However, Markle’s commitment to become a successful actress pushed her to continue working towards her goals. Instead of giving up when film directors and producers turned her down for acting roles, Meghan Markle's persistence pushed her even harder to pursue her dream of becoming a Hollywood star. As a result of Markle’s perseverance, she was able to accomplish her goal and attain a main role in the television series Suits, as well as prove to the media that the color of her skin could not limit her from chasing her dreams. Aside from her acting career, Meghan Markle also faced racial bias, “including persistent racist and sexist attacks both in the media and online,” when her relationship with Prince Harry was first announced ("Inside The Racist Online Attacks On Meghan Markle.”). Many internet trolls created false, negative stories about Meghan and gave her a poor reputation due to her multicultural race. Meghan Markle has faced racist comments ever since 2016, when her relationship with Harry became public, yet she also continues to face prejudiced attacks today as a now married and pregnant woman. The constantly increasing racist and sexist attacks are never easy to handle. However, instead of letting those words impact her, Meghan Markle persisted in her advocacy to campaign and educate students, adults, and young children about equality and self worth. Meghan Markle’s willingness to continually inspire those around her prove that no matter what obstacles Meghan faces, she is able to grow from them and prove to others that her differences won't stop her from being the woman she is today.
As well as advocating for her gender and racial equality, Meghan Markle’s compassion to benefit the world and help others before herself reflects her heroic identity. As a UN ambassador and supporter of countless campaigns, “Markle has been using her celebrity to champion several causes, including gender equality and clean water for children in communities in Africa” (“Meghan Markle.” Contemporary). During the years 2016 and 2017, Markle travelled to Rwanda in order to provide clean water for children in Africa as well as uplift African American students about their future hopes and dreams. No matter the cause, Meghan Markle always has the passion to reach out to those in need and work to help better their lives. Even as a well known and successful Hollywood actress, Meghan Markle never uses her fame to only channel wealth and popularity. Instead, Meghan Markle sees her success as an open door to many opportunities to do what she truly loves--helping others. As of today, Meghan Markle, now Duchess of Sussex, must follow royal protocol, and her life has fairly changed, “but royal watchers are predicting that Meghan will continue to campaign and raise awareness for issues she is passionate about” (Kirker). No matter how the public perceives her, Markle will always find the heart to give back to the community she serves in. Her kind heart and compassion inspires many, as her voice on gender and racial equality, her giving back to charities, and her actions to uplift younger generations have a beneficial impact on the world. By always prioritizing others before her own needs and continuing to support the unfortunate, Markle’s compassionate traits demonstrate her heroic figure in society.
Meghan Markle’s persistence to fight obstacles in order prove herself to the world, as well as her compassion to support those in need, make her a true, inspiring hero to many people. Markle’s mixed African American race resulted in her struggles with racism and sexism in both America and Britain. However, instead of letting others’ opinions define her as a person, Markle continued pursuing her dreams and ultimately proved to others that she had no limit. Markle’s advocacy, championship, and charity have inspired and proven to others that anyone can succeed and achieve their goals if they really work for it and never give up. Meghan Markle continually encourages her community that all dreams can be achieved, but “one must believe in it. And it isn't enough to simply believe in it. One must work at it. Let us work at it. Together. Starting now” (Markle). Markle’s passion to watch her society grow and fulfill its dreams demonstrates her heroic traits. Her impact on the world over the course of more than twenty years of her life proves that Markle’s determination to continue fighting for her goals will never come to an end. Markle will continue inspiring those around her to join in on her journey to achieve gender and racial equality, to champion charities in order to help the unfortunate, and to always stay true to yourself and be proud of who you are. Meghan Markle’s actions, even her simplest ones, prove that anyone can change the world, even by doing just one simple thing.
"Inside The Racist Online Attacks On Meghan Markle." Weekend Edition Sunday, 10 Mar. 2019.
Biography In Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A578008951/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=085f0a0f. Accessed 3 Apr. 2019.
Kirker, Alison. “Who Is Meghan Markle? The Story of the Activist and Actress Who Has Packed
a Lot into Her 36 Years.” Sunday Post, 20 May 2018, www.sundaypost.com/fp/who-is-meghan-markle-the-story-of-the-activist-and-actress-who-has-packed-a-lot-into-her-36-years/.
Markle, Meghan. “The Girl Power Speech That Put Meghan Markle on the Map.” The Sydney
Morning Herald, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 Oct. 2018, www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life-and-relationships/the-girl-power-speech-that-put-meghan-markle-on-the-map-20181009-p508lb.html.
"Meghan Markle." Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 148, Gale, 2018. Biography In Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K1606008384/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=e8c9b966. Accessed 21 Mar. 2019.
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