Why Meghan Markle should not be an inspiration for every desi girl

Published: January 29, 2020
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PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Come on, let’s be honest. We’ve all been following the Royal family drama like it’s our own family. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle ditched living in a palace and getting public funding. Naturally, that would spark a whole lot of discourse over what or who really prompted them to do so.

The majority seem fixated on charging Meghan as the driving force behind Prince Harry’s decision to leave all that he has ever known, that too without any concrete explanation. And oddly enough, people all the way here in Pakistan seem to be affected by it.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Where did this narrative really originate from though? We don’t know if Meghan directly asked Harry to get up and leave. It was most probably tailored to protect her from the relentless British press. But can it be attributed more to Prince Harry being a responsible husband? Especially since he confirmed that it was ‘his’ decision to give up his royalty. “The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back was not one I made lightly,” Harry said at a private dinner in London last week, days before he flew out to join Meghan and their son Archie in Canada.

But that is beside the point. What’s alarming is seeing Pakistani women clamouring to claim Meghan as ‘one of us’ because she managed ‘leave her toxic susraal behind’. We get where this sentiment may arise from – some in-laws can be really bad – but there are few, if any, similarities between Meghan and an average Pakistani woman and it’s high time we realised that.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

As a former cast member of hit US legal drama Suits, Meghan has an established acting career resting on a popular TV show, so she has a safety net of her own. She’s also married to a prince (or a former one now?) who also has the means to uproot and build a life for them from scratch. Not to mention, they come from a pre-dominantly white household.

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Drawing parallels between their situation and the situation of an average Pakistani couple would be a bit unfair. The glaring differences should be reason enough for why they shouldn’t be looked upon as a beacon of hope for any change on this side of the world. There’s no denying that Meghan and Harry hold a solid place in pop culture as members of the most popular family on the planet but their influence and appeal is more or less limited to just that.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Being inspired by them as style icons or wanting to emulate their projected lifestyle makes perfect sense, but to place them on a pedestal where we expect that they can have any influence on familial culture in a desi household seems far-fetched.

As much as we would like to gain some weird satisfaction from labelling Meghan ‘brown,’ the fact of the matter is, she’s half-white and half African-American and is from a completely different culture.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Instead, let’s celebrate what Meghan has done as an individual, race excluded – her achievements. And no, exiting the Royal family isn’t her crowning glory – no pun intended. While the former actor did what was right for her, there are many inspirational activities Meghan has achieved that have been overshadowed by #Megxit.

Women’s rights

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

Meghan became an advocate for women’s rights at the mere age of 11. Achieving gender equality remains a driving force for the former Royal and that is something to celebrate. Among a myriad of roles, Meghan also served the United Nations (UN) as the Women’s Advocate for Women’s Political Participation and Leadership, visiting refugee camps and meeting with women around the world who are also making positive changes in their communities.

#Megxit: Memes of Meghan Markle, Prince Harry take over Twitter

Amid the hustle and bustle of #Megxit, the Suits star also visited Canadian-based women’s rights group Justice for Girls to highlight climate change as well as issues affecting Indigenous women and girls in the process. These kinds of gestures should be highlighted as inspirational qualities of the former Duchess, which have been eclipsed by ‘brown girl savior’ sentiments as of late.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

She has her own passions

Meghan arguably came to fame when she landed a lead role on Suits, but she’s no stranger to side hustles and the gig economy. What’s inspirational about this is that she stayed true to her roots. Before Harry, Meghan ran her own lifestyle site called The Tig and became a global ambassador for World Vision Canada. Post marriage and motherhood, the side-hustler also launched her capsule clothing collection for charity.

PHOTO: FILE

PHOTO: FILE

All up, Meghan has amassed a net worth of approximately $5 million, as per Business Insider.  As she told Elle UK in 2016, “I’ve never wanted to be a lady who lunches. I’ve always wanted to be a woman who works.” This, right here, is an inspirational quote for any woman of any race or class or country.

What we’re trying to say is, #Megxit isn’t inspirational. Meghan didn’t ‘save’ Harry, nor is she a ‘patron saint for brown girls’ because of it. She’s just a hard-working woman, able to follow her passions to a greater extent because, well, she married a ‘white’ prince and is also an American actor. There are many more inspirational ‘brown’ women achieving things very applicable to the desi world, but Meghan Markle’s Royal exit is a far-cry from that.

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