Meghan Markle has been branded 'difficult' by tabloids. It's the same sexism that demonises driven women in the workplace.
- Tabloids have reported that Meghan Markle is known among palace staff as "duchess difficult," Me-Gain," and "Hurricane Meghan."
- She has been said to send emails to her staff at 5 AM and "bombards" her aides with texts.
- It rings of the sexism that often demonises driven women as "abrasive" or "bossy" while men are praised for being "aggressive".
- People love tearing down powerful women by dismissing them as difficult divas.
- For more stories, go to Business Insider SA.
Kensington Palace is notoriously tight-lipped about rumors regarding members of the royal family. But throughout Meghan Markle's first year as a royal, reports have surfaced featuring unflattering nicknames for the Duchess of Sussex such as "duchess difficult," "Me-Gain," and "Hurricane Meghan."
The supposed grievances that have earned Markle these titles include waking up at 5 AM, "bombarding" her aides with texts, and holding "undercover" meetings with British citizens affiliated with charitable causes.
Angela Levin, royal biographer and author of "Harry: Conversations with the Prince," also said in the CBS special "Harry and Meghan Plus One" that Markle is "not popular" among Prince Harry's friends because "they seem to think that she's running the show."
Indeed, Markle is already the patron of four different organisations, two of which were handed down to her directly by Queen Elizabeth. She's also been known to break royal protocol when interacting with the public the way Princess Diana often did. She opts for hugs over handshakes, wears pantsuits instead of more traditional royal formal wear, and is a proud feminist which is perhaps enough to ruffle some feathers in British high society.
Controversy surrounding Markle's role in the royal family is not new
Even before she and Harry were engaged, Markle was subject to such a volatile "wave of abuse and harassment" from members of the press and anonymous trolls that Harry's communications secretary issued a rare statement condemning the "outright sexism and racism" she faced. The scrutiny has only intensified since the royal couple married last year and welcomed their son Archie in May, thrusting them even further into the public eye.
These days, Markle is being labeled "difficult" and unpopular because it seems that she's "running the show." This type of gender bias is also not new.
Disparaging Markle for having too many ideas or caring too much about charity work rings of the sexism that often demonises driven women
A 2012 study published in Research in Organisational Behavior found that descriptive gender stereotypes (ideas about what women are like) and prescriptive gender stereotypes (ideas about what women should be like) impede women's professional advancement. When women exhibit a more assertive leadership style stereotypically associated with men, they face "disapproval and social penalties" that keep them from getting promoted.
One study of women in tech published in Fortune found that women are more often called "abrasive" and "bossy" in performance reviews while men are praised for being "aggressive." A Skyline Group International report also found that "Women who check detailed progress every day are seen as micromanaging and bossy" and that "employees are more receptive to women in leadership who present themselves with poise and authenticity."
All of Markle's supposed transgressions - waking up early, sending ideas and delegating tasks to her staff, holding meetings with potential partners - sound like a woman with ambition. What's truly "difficult" is why people feel the need to ridicule her for it.
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