If you thought leaving the Royal Monarchy was Meghan Markle’s last attempt at challenging the status quo, think again — she’s just launched a podcast, and she wants to push the boundaries of what it means to be a woman in today’s society.
Spotify announced the podcast, titled Archetypes, in March and revealed that the show will “Investigate the labels that try to hold women back, [and] uncover the origin of these stereotypes and have uncensored conversations with women who know all too well how these typecasts shape narratives.”
Today the Duchess of Sussex released her intro snippet to the series along with episode one, featuring none other than her longtime friend and fellow girl boss, Serena Williams.
“Introducing Archetypes, a refreshing and dynamic new podcast where Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, dives into the labels that try to hold women back. During these intimate and candid conversations with guests from around the world, we discover how these archetypes impact our everyday lives in ways big and small. With experts and historians, Meghan also uncovers how we got here in the first place — unearthing the origin of words such as ‘diva’, ‘slut’, ‘the B word’, ‘hysterical,’ and many more, and asks the question: can we change this? Archetypes. Don’t believe the hype,” the introduction states.
In her description of the first episode with Serena, they discuss “The double standard women face when they are labeled ‘ambitious’ and the ripple effect this has on other aspects of their lives.” The two also welcomed expert Dr. Laura Kray into the conversation, who is an expert in gender in the workplace.
Meghan kicked off the topic with a story of when she was eleven years old and heard a commercial that promoted cleaning products that insinuated only women wash dishes. She decided to do something about it and proceeded to write letters to politicians such as the then first lady, Hilary Clinton, asking that the words be changed from “women” to “people.” Sure enough, a few months later, a new version of the ad was released, this time with the change in language Markle had advocated for.
In other words, she’s been kicking ass as a feminist since puberty.
“I don't remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word 'ambitious' until I started dating my now husband,” Meghan shared. “And um, apparently ambition is, uh… a terrible, terrible thing, for a woman that is — according to some. So, since I've felt the negativity behind it, it's really hard to un-feel it. I can't unsee it, either, in the millions of girls and women who make themselves smaller — so much smaller — on a regular basis.”
“I have to check myself because I’ve been so blinded by society. If a man is ambitious, am I saying that a man [or] am I bringing out society by saying a woman is something different than ambitious? What do I think of women that are ambitious? Often women are definitely put in these different boxes when we are ambitious,” Serena added.
Williams recounted different points in her career in which she was described differently than male players, specifically with negative connotations, sharing, “I remember once this article said this guy was passionate, and I had a meltdown. How did I have a meltdown, and this guy is passionate?”
Meghan sympathized, agreeing that those instances can really be “dehumanizing” and that she also felt “traumatized” as an onlooker in the stands for many of those moments.
Though they covered many difficult memories and topics in the theme of how ambition is portrayed between genders, the two also gushed about their friendship, reminiscing on how they first met and how aligned they were in their individuality at such a young age, Markle changing commercials, and Serena proclaiming her tennis career in an interview at age eleven, where she was asked which player she’d like to emulate, and she responded that she wanted others to be like her.
The Los Angeles natives met in 2010 and have been close ever since. “I just really think she’s the strongest — literally the strongest — the person I know and the nicest [and] sweetest. And that’s just one of the many things that she does for me,” Williams shared in 2019. “I call her, text her anytime, crying, upset — she’s always there. Doesn’t matter what she’s going through, she just sets time away, and she’s just so amazing.”
Archetypes came in piping hot! Not sure the world is ready for the lineup Meghan has curated for the rest of this series, but in true Meghan Markle fashion, she’s going to deliver anyway.
You can listen to the full interview and catch the rest of the series on Spotify.