Posted by: blairajohnson | March 27, 2018

Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton

With the upcoming royal wedding a mer 2 months away, journalist world-wide seem to be publishing articles about Meghan Markle and her journey to becoming a princess. Being that Meghan is an American, America has even more interest than normal roayl wedding. Many people are curious and fixed on Kate Middleton’s reaction and their relationship as future sister-in-laws. I was recently reading an article that was about Meghan and Kate’s body languge at a royal engagement event.  The first few paragraphs opened with what Meghan and Kate were wearing and how much each dress.

I have to admit, with all the fashion columns out there, I had to double check the article title to make sure I was not reading a fashion piece. Nonetheless, women’s fashion never seems to cease. Not only did they talk about each woman’s dress, the articel discussed how much each dress was and compared prices stating that Meghan’s dress cost 10x Kates. Finally, the article got to the main topic which was body language. An anaylist speculated that while they seemed to be respect for each other as a team, but did not display a sisterly friednship.

The article also talked about the different ways in which the woman approached the questions. Kate has a calmer and simpler approach and sits back in her chair whereas Meghan has a “hit-the-ground-running” approach with upright posture. The article aslo commented on how Meghan talked about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement but was then described as emotional. The article also suggested that Meghan made a concerted effort to turn and listen intently when Kate spoke. The article claimed that is was not unusually for the women to have different approaches, given their different backgrounds and upbringings. However, Meghan was still pited and compared against Kate and even Princess Diana.

What does this say about British society? Do you think that they only accept a certain type of women (like Kate and Princess Diana? The article initially said that Meghan was direct when answering her questions but then when she spoke about different women’s movements and her family she was described as emotional. Why do you think the tone shifted in her how they analyzed her?

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  1. I think this is a fascinating story! As a language major, I take many classes on intercultural communication and differences. In general, the descriptions of Meghan and Princess Kate, from a cultural standpoint, are perfectly stereotypical. Americans are usually seen as more direct, while the British are more reserved. To take it further, I find it interesting that both women, regardless of country, are deeply described in a superficial way. What are they wearing? How much did it cost? As we have gone over in class, it is rare that a man is every asked these questions.

    I am sure Meghan was marked as emotional because women often get categorized as over-emotional. She was talking about an important and touchy topic; it is natural to feel angry or upset about it, and also natural for the media to cover it in a specific way that would catch your eye if it were on the cover of a magazine. This class has challenged me to think outside the box, so I wonder, if Harry had said the exact same thing as Meghan, how would he be talked about? Would it be seen as a positive or negative thing?

  2. When Kate Middleton was first beginning to date Prince William, her dress and behavior were also analyzed by everyone who professed that they were experts. For England, she had to be perfect, because one day she could marry Prince William and then be in direct line for the throne. While they were dating and especially now since they are married, she embodies the role of Duchess of Cambridge. She realizes that her life is always going to be in the spotlight with someone watching at all times.

    Kate Middleton is from Britain and grew up in an upper-class British society. I believe this has made it a little bit easier for her to be accepted by British society. She really was the stereotypical princess that Britain was expecting. Her parents own a multimillionaire business and she attended University of St. Andrews. Megan Markle, however, was a complete outsider to Britain, which could be the reason the tone in the article shifted. She was an actress from America. After her and Prince Harry’s engagement announcement, tabloids surfaced the internet trying to find information about her. Racist and sexist columns were printed everywhere. It seemed that being biracial and from America was a problem for some people in Britain.

    Racism is not just in America, it is prominent in the United Kingdom as well. Unlike America who is described as being more open about it, the U.K. is more subtle. Tabloids questioned her suitability to the prince because is divorced. She was highlighted as a “mistress not a wife,” and described as helping the royal family by bringing her “rich and exotic DNA.” Statements like these may not be as obvious, but are still racist never the less. The comments were so bad, that eventually Prince Harry had to make a public announcement about it.

    No matter their backgrounds, both women have it tough in the public sphere. Each time Kate Middleton is pregnant, she is scrutinized for her baby bump. The day after she gave birth to Prince George, news lines were giving her advice to reduce her post-baby body. Because she was an actress, Megan Markle is described as dramatic and emotional. These superficial stereotypes are hurtful to women and only remind us of the way society wants to keep women in their place. The way that the article pits the women against each other is disgraceful. Both women are changing the face of royalty with their honorable foundations in women’s empowerment and mental health.

    I really liked your post regarding the royal family. It really brings to light how intersectionality will play in Megan Markle’s role in royal. Below, I found an article talking about racism in Britain and how it is becoming noticed since Megan Markle’s and Prince Harry’s engagement announcement.

  3. There could be many different reasons that explain why Kate and Meghan behaved differently. Kate is from England. She is much more familiar with British traditions and norms than Meghan is. Meghan is from California, so she is from a much different world. Kate has also been a member of the royal family much longer than Meghan has. She is definitely a lot more used to her role and what is expected of her. You mentioned that the writer of the article you read asserted that Meghan was very emotional. Whoever wrote this probably believed that the topics Meghan chose to bring up were inappropriate, and since she had a lot to say about them, she was deemed as “too emotional”.
    It is frustrating that the article focuses so much on what the two women are wearing. There are so many other important things to be discussed. Any time a woman in a leadership position does anything, the public cares more about what she wore than what she did. When male leaders speak, no one cares about where their suit was from. They don’t research how much it cost either. Yet when women of power go out, their clothing gets documented. People keep track of how often women repeat their outfits and how much money they spent on them. Why does the public care so much about women’s attire, but not men’s? Clothing serves the same purpose for both genders, so why is one scrutinized while the other is overlooked?

  4. Hi Blair! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Reading about the way that Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle were scrutinized frustrated me.

    There seems to be a trend in the way that the media, in America and abroad, tends to pit women against one another. The media constantly compares what women wear, how they talk, and what they do. It always seems to be a competition of who best fits the expectations of society. This is an issue for many women in many parts of the world. I think that the scrutiny within the article that you shared stems from the expectations that Britain has for women in positions of royalty. The women that have married into the royal family of England have found themselves in the spotlight since the beginning, and for as long as the royal family has existed, the women have fit pretty consistent molds. Meghan Markle is the first to really break the mold of what Britain has come to expect of the royal women. For instance, she is American, biracial, and has been married before. As a result, the media has taken to comparing her to women that fit the mold, such as Kate Middleton and Princess Diana, in order to criticize her. This encourages society to see Meghan as an outsider; someone who, because of her background and the color of her skin, is not qualified to be in a position of power. Not only does this hurt Meghan Markle and other women who don’t fit stereotypes, it encourages subtle forms of discrimination.

    I think the tone in the analysis shifted because the article is judging Meghan’s differences. She breaks the mold and that makes people uncomfortable. However, I think it’s time that we start celebrating differences instead of criticizing them!

  5. I think there is a lot of cultural dimensions in this example that are coming into play. Because Megan is America, many aspects of the British and American culture are vastly different. Therefore, it makes sense that the British people would interpret Megan’s body language and fashion differently than she intends. I’m sure this will change as she adjusts to her new culture over time and will be able to properly represent her intentions through her body language and fashion. However, I’m sure that before the adjustment completely happens, this difference in culture with affect Megan’s perception by the country and her followers.
    Additionally, I think that its important to point out that even the women of the Royal Family of Great Britain cannot escape the societal boundaries of a women leader. For example, how such a large portion of this article focused on what dress they wore and how much it was – something about personal appearance that is completely irrelevant to them and their leadership.

  6. This is very fascinating to me, as I have always been interested in British high society! It is exciting to see Meghan and Kate become sister-in-laws, but the article you posted does pose some questions. It doesn’t surprise me that Meghan is more direct in answering questions than Kate. What does surprise me is that Kate is more laid back while Meghan has better posture. I would think that English society would be more prim and proper than American. However, it could be that Meghan is so new to this environment that she is trying to make a good impression. I don’t believe England is any more against Meghan than they would be any other “outsider.” People are always more contrary to people who are different from themselves. Societies can learn from this: we need to be accepting of every gender, race, ethnicity, and age. People’s differences in origins, speech, appearances, etc. are what make the world so beautiful and diverse. It is sad that the article focuses so much on physical appearances. It is more productive to talk about their political stances and beliefs and what they are doing to better the society around them. We need to accept others’ differences and listen to what they believe in.

  7. Cultural perspectives play a large part in the interactions between the masses of people. In this particular instance, I think each individual whether it is Meghan or Kate will act based on their environment but, it doesn’t mean they are just a product of their environment. In part, I think it has to do with being British royalty where the lenses of your life are magnified, and everyone scrutinizes every aspect whether it is good or bad. It must be hard for Meghan to talk about and be compared to the likes of Kate and even Princess Diana. So being labeled as emotional must be frustrating for someone trying to be perfect and follow in the footsteps of others before. It is important to remember that both women before her were not accepted immediately by the British people, so taking everything with a grain of salt is essential to Meghan self-esteem.
    It is also true that both Meghan and Kate fit into their respective cultural roles; an American who is seen as being more direct, and a Brit who is more standoffish. Additionally, another aspect I found a little frustrating and seems to be a constant theme is the superficial aspect the article describes about their clothes and how much it costs.

  8. So many articles about Kate Middleton and the royal women of Great Britain center around superficial topics. I think most of the reasons for this are that the role of the royal family is largely symbolic. It is a traditional role, it makes sense that to convey legitimacy and stability of the monarchy they keep traditional stereotypes and aim to present themselves as such. Being conservative in their presentation is advantageous for them in that position.

    Several articles I have read about Kate Middleton indicate that her wardrobe and appearance follows very strict rules, not her natural style or way of presenting or expressing herself. She dresses conservatively, traditionally, classically, and I would also say strategically. The way she and the royal family dress is pretty important to their role – not because how you dress is the most important part of running a country, but in an age where photographic perception is everything, appearing conservative, traditional, classic, is also appearing secure and legitimate as a ruler. They are underlining the stability and strength and time-honored tradition of the monarchy by doing this.

    And the nature of their roles, they also are given little leeway to actually give their individual political opinions and philosophies. Because they are not elected officials, they come across most effectively by identifying with every citizen in Great Britain. They cannot be too polarizing as individuals or the monarchy as a whole appears less secure. As a result, the topics they do comment on and are scrutinized by are superficial in nature- that is what is left to talk about.

  9. I think this article reflects alot of difficulties that female leaders face. As we discuss in class, there is an inordinate amount of attention placed on the physical aspects of females rather than what they are actually stating. In addition, media tends to pit females against each other rather than allow two women to form a bond together and be seen as a unified front.

    There is no need for there to be a rivalry between Kate and Meghan, rather they are both powerful and influential social leaders. Creating a “cat fight” between the two women is a tactic that is used to objectify and suppress powerful women.

    Additionally, Meghan is described as emotional rather than powerful. Her social stances are inspirational, and she is a highly influential leader in American culture prior to her involvement with the royal family, but now even more so. Although there is a difference between American and British culture in that British culture tends to be more refined and emotionally restrained, it is still a common theme in America to characterize highly inspirational and empowered female leaders as too emotional.

  10. It seems just objectifying and flat out rude that the only thing we are capable of talking about when discussing women is their clothes. I personally can not stay focused when reporters attempt to talk about whatever designers the women are wearing, who really cares? why is it so difficult to discuss accomplishments or what is going on in their lives like they do with their male counterparts. it is nice to see that there are movements going on that are helping women distance themselves from the stereotypical “image is everything”. in reality this statement is false and there is so much more to a woman’s success than her looks.

  11. When articles interpret the worth of clothing or the style of hair and makeup, I don’t trust the source to be credible. I find it crazy that the clothing of famous people make it into almost all articles about certain events they attend. I understand that while being royal or famous, your appearance becomes important. Why is this? To give off a good impression of your status? Why can’t American society just judge based on personality, achievements, or something other than looks? I wish our generation wasn’t so fixated on media. It has made stereotypes more prominent.

    I believe that their body language could have been affected by different factors. What if they had something else on their minds? What if they aren’t actually the best of friends, so what? What if the tv station recording it told them to sit a certain way? What if someone had told each of them different advice? Maybe they don’t intend to express feelings through their body language. There is probably a lot of pressure on them to have their conversations video-taped. Being comfortable in front of cameras is not natural for everyone.

    In this article called “10 Things Americans Do That May Accidentally Offend Brits,” there is an important quote to inspect. Myka Meier, the founder and director of New York-based Beaumont Etiquette stated, “the greatest difference between American and British etiquette is formality—Americans are generally more casual, both in lifestyle and culture. Great Britain has customs and etiquette that date back long before America was established, and those customs and traditions have stayed true to hundreds of years and generations.” I believe this statement explains the difference in body language between the two ladies.

    Here are some of the situations that stood out to me:
    1. “The standard etiquette rule is you do not exist until someone has introduced you.” This means when you walk into a party, British people would greet the host, and the host would then introduce you to people. You should not just walk up to anyone and introduce yourself.
    2. Talking about the weather is better than talking about your money achievements. Talking about the weather can reveal a lot about a person. Say it is a rainy day. The commentary would show if you are a negative or positive person. A negative person would say what a terrible day it was. A positive person would say “what a great day to be a tree or a flower.”
    3. Being overly smiley could indicate that a woman lacks self-control and education. In American society, smiling shows happiness.

  12. There’s definitely a lot to say about different cultures here. With Meghan being American, the press might as well scream “outsider.” The media seems to feed off of controversy, and the fact that Meghan is American would bring up so many questions and comparisons. I think they’re wanting to compare to make sure she’s “good enough” to marry…but then, why would it be the public’s decision on who she marries? I think the media is fascinating, but it’s also annoying because it dives too much into other people’s personal lives. Only her fiancee is fit to judge if she’s the right woman to marry, he made the decision to propose to her. Perhaps, because he proposed to her, the media noticed there was something “different” about her and they want to over analyze everything to try and figure out why Meghan out of all the women in the world. Even with Kate’s engagement, though, the media blew up over it. Apparently other people’s business has become our business, and we can’t keep out of it.

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