Tuesday, 23 August 2022

First Episode of Archetypes Drops: The Misconceptions of Ambition

Meghan's eagerly awaited podcast, Archetypes, debuted on Spotify today. Thought provoking and educational, it zooms in on societal stereotypes negatively attributed to women. The first episode of twelve featured Meghan's close friend, Serena William (who recently revealed she will be retiring from Tennis after the US Open), and a leading expert on gender in the workplace, Dr Laura Kray. Meghan said: "We're going to live inside and rip apart the boxes women have been placed into for generations."

Meghan added she is excited to "be myself and talk and be unfiltered".

It began with Meghan telling the much famed story of the moment her activism began at just 11 when she saw an advert for dish soap  (including an interview with Meghan from 1993 on Nick News): "When I was 11 years old, growing up in LA, I saw a commercial that would change the way I understood my place in the world. Let me be clear: it wasn’t because this ad was some kind of ingenious piece of marketing, actually, it was just the opposite. I was in the 6th grade, I was sitting in my classroom – and we were watching TV, when a commercial came on." Following a "letter writing" campaign, the wording from the advert was changed from "women all over America are fighting greasy pots" to "people all over America". The Duchess said she learned her "one small action" triggered an "awakening".

Meghan said:

'There's an all-girls Catholic school in Los Angeles called Immaculate Heart. Back in the 1960s, an order of nuns,including many who taught at Immaculate Heart, they wanted to make some changes at the school to keep up with more modern times. They also didn't want to wear the habit. And when the conservative cardinal of the Archdiocese found out, he was not interested in this plan. No matter how much the sisters tried, the church, just, they wouldn't accept these changes. So the nuns had to make a choice. They renounced their vows so they could live their lives. Authentically, comfortably and on terms that made sense to them.

Now, this didn't mean they lost their faith or their commitment to social justice. What it meant was they started their own community. A place where they were recognized as full human beings, not beholden to a system or this patriarchy that they weren't comfortable with. And they molded their school – Immaculate Heart – in their new image: theologically driven. But feminist. Now, look, I’m not Catholic. I wasn’t raised Catholic. But about one year after my letter-writing campaign, I started middle school at Immaculate Heart. I stayed there through high school. I was there for 6 years! And this feminist ideology trickled down into nearly every aspect of my education. It’s probably safe to say into every aspect of my life. This message to me and my classmates was clear: our futures as young women were limitless.'

The Duchess was delighted to welcome Serena as her first guest. There's a very sweet moment when Harry walks in and Serena says hello in a British accent and Meghan tells him, "Thanks my love." Serena said she was thrilled to be on the podcast because she "loves" Meghan, saying, "We've been friends for so long," adding she's "super loyal".

I was really interested to hear Meghan and Serena discuss female ambition as "a dirty, dirty word". This was incredibly relevant and perhaps one of the finest examples of the changes in Meghan's life in particular in recent years. In a piece for her lifestyle blog the Tig, Meghan shared the following on their friendship: "We hit it off immediately, taking pictures, laughing through the flag football game we were both playing in, and chatting not about tennis or acting, but about all the good old fashioned girly stuff. So began our friendship. She quickly became a confidante I would text when I was traveling, the friend I would rally around for her tennis matches, and the down to earth chick I was able to grab lunch with just a couple weeks ago in Toronto. We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces and adore fashion, but what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations – our endless ambition. Serena is undoubtedly one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen."

Now six years later, the terms ambition + Meghan are subject to the most brutal scrutiny, a combination filled with toxic coverage and sexism. People reports:

'Meghan and Serena's chat revolved around ambition — and how it's a "dirty, dirty word when it comes to women."

"I don't remember ever personally feeling the negative connotation behind the word 'ambitious' until I started dating my now husband," Meghan said. "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."

Serena tells Meghan she thinks she's "fearless".

Another unexpected insight saw the Duchess discuss a very frightening experience with Archie on the South Africa tour. "The moment we landed, we had to drop Archie off at this housing unit that they had had us staying in. He was going to get ready to go down for his nap. We immediately went to an official engagement in this township called Nyanga, and there was this moment where I'm standing on a tree stump and I'm giving this speech to women and girls and we finished the engagement, we get in the car and they say 'there's been a fire at the residence. There's been a fire in the baby's room. We get back, and our amazing nanny, Lauren, is in floods of tears. She was supposed to put Archie down for his nap and she just said, 'You know what? Let me just go get a snack downstairs.'

"She was from Zimbabwe and we loved that she would always tie him on her back with a mud cloth, and her instinct was like: 'Let me just bring him with me before I put him down. In that amount of time that she went downstairs, the heater in the nursery caught on fire. There was no smoke detector. Someone happened to just smell smoke down the hallway, went in, fire extinguished and he was supposed to be sleeping in there. As a mother, you go, Oh, my God. Everyone's in tears, everyone's shaken. And what do we have to do? Go out and do another official engagement. I said, This doesn't make any sense. Can you just tell people what happened? And I think the focus ends up being on how it looks instead of how it feels. Part of the humanising and the breaking through of these labels and these archetypes and these boxes that we’re put into is having some understanding on the human moments behind the scenes that people might not have any awareness of and to give each other a break, because we did– we had to leave our baby."

Variety reports:

“Archetypes” is produced by Archewell Audio in partnership with Spotify’s Gimlet Media. Markle, Ben Browning, Archewell’s head of content, and Rebecca Sananes, Archewell’s head of audio, will serve as executive producers alongside Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff, Courtney Holt and Julie McNamara.'

In next week's episode, Meghan will speak with the one and only Mariah Carey. Harry and Meghan's Archewell website has launched a page to coincide with the podcast, offering the opportunity to share stories and links to resources for those negatively impacted by labelling.


In other news, Prince Harry has been busy travelling in Mozambique and Rwanda in his role as President of African Parks (we'll be looking at that in depth in our next post). It's also been confirmed the Duke and Duchess will visit the UK and Germany in early September.

5 September: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the One Young World 2022 Manchester Summit.

6 September: Harry and Meghan will travel to Germany for the Invictus Games Düsseldorf 2023 One Year to Go.

8 September: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will attend the WellChild awards.

I'm expecting we'll see additional visits and events when the couple land.

40 comments:

  1. Just finished listening to the podcast and thought it was wonderful! I really enjoyed hearing the banter between two friends, who are real with one another and also kept to the subject. I look forward to future podcast episodes.

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  2. Our girl is back! I cant wait for this thoughtful series to begin. I am sure it will be top notch as Meghan rarely does things without preparation. I look forward to following them in their travels for causes close to their hearts once again. We are going to the US Open once again. I can't imagine the event without Serena in the future. But, her ambitions and needs are now taking her on a new path.

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  3. I can’t wait to listen to this podcast! It feels like the real authentic Meghan from her days writing The Tig. A Meghan who is happy, enjoying life, exploring and challenging societal notions and championing progressive causes.

    -celticgirl

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  4. Finally! The first episode did not disappoint. It’s great to see Meghan having her own platform to once again speak and share whatever she wants in her own words, that’s the definition of privacy for all. I like that this podcast gives her and other women, especially women of colour a safe space to talk about the experiences we all know and have lived. All the media noise these women are subjected to on a daily basis just looks even more silly when we hear the truth straight from them. I look forward to hearing from Mariah next.

    On another note, I love Meghan’s shirt and makeup, she looks chic as always. Thanks for keeping up with this blog!

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  5. Susan in Florida23 August 2022 at 20:59

    Thank you SO much for posting the podcast here , Charlotte . 🌹🌹 I want to hear her own words and the context they are in because as usual , the press is doing the Ugly Dance over these two women.

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  6. Thanks for your wonderful coverage, Charlotte. I enjoyed the podcast and the intimate sharing between two friends.

    Having been raised Catholic and been taught by nuns my first 12 years of school, I was impressed by the story of how the nuns who taught Meghan in middle and high school actually were feminist enough to renounce their vows and do their own thing when the patriarcal hierarchy of the church forbade them! Whoo-hoo! What a great example to nourish Meghan's already feminist ideas and sensibilities during the 6 years she spent there.

    I'm so happy that Meghan is now free to use her voice as she chooses. She uses it in the service of women and social justice.

    R

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    1. I almost became a nun for numerous reasons, but Our Lord had a different path for me and that is okay! I can assure you those who are taking the steps to become nuns are well aware of the traditions and decorum they must adhered to. It’s an Order of Sisters and they have rules they must follow. If these ladies felt they could come into an order that has been established for many many decades and enforce a change that would benefit their own needs, then I think they should have reconsidered becoming a nun. I know somethings should be changed within the Catholic Church but Sisterhood and Priesthood should not change because people of today are wanting change that fits into their life. Those nuns realized they could not change that tradition and did the honorable thing and removed themselves from the Order to live as they see fit.

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  7. Sheryl from BC Canada23 August 2022 at 22:37

    Well, that was even better than I thought it was going to be. She is totally amazing. Thank you so much Charlotte for linking the podcast on here. I have spotify on my phone and just can't seem to get it to work. This was easy peasy. :)

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  8. Along with everything else already mentioned and so much more, I found the history of Immaculate Heart interesting...it was truly the perfect match for Meghan, and seems to have been important in her development.

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  9. Wonderful to see this beautiful friendship between 2 successful women get highlighted in such a genuine format. Serena and Meghan together are inspirational. Thank you Charlotte for another great post.
    Renee

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  10. Looking fresh like always

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  11. Very educating

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  12. Meghan and Harry were on a diplomatic mission for the UK. Which pretty much requires you to not embarrass your host or put them in anything other than a positive light. She's chosen to publicly do that now and I'm not sure how she expects to be received by that country now and in the future. That's an upsetting experience she and Harry had and the hosts quickly resolved it. I'm not sure what else she wanted from folks at that time or now. Publicly discussing it at that time would surely have damaged the interest the public would have had in coming to visit and harmed the tourist trade immensely. Will her words harm South Africa now? Depends whose listening.

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    1. This has nothing to do with disrespecting South Africa, and everything to do with her very understandable response to a hazardous situation involving her child. She was very diplomatic when she was in South Africa as was evident by how well they were received there. It’s very important to work and to do your job as professionally as possible but a child will always come first and there is nothing amiss about that. I don’t understand this notion that discussing or showing any human emotion is embarrassing or disrespectful, it’s quite dehumanizing and cold. Some things are just more important than keeping up appearances.

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    2. I too found the South African comment very strange and unnecessary, so tone deaf. It has insulted the people of South Africa and the hospitality provided and added to the tensions between the country and Zimbabwe. It did not seem relevant to the topic of the podcast.

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    3. Dear Florida Moxie, yours is a great example why Meghan cannot do right. Sharing this years later in a totally different context is used to hold it against her. For me this horrific incident shows how vulnerable Meghan and Harry were at that time. There is a lot behind the polished surface of Royal life we completely underestimate.
      How can the the nursery of a royal guest not be supplied with a smoke detector? Especially if electric heaters are in use? The so meticulously planned Royal Tours?
      We have seen in the past that a lot is not the standard we would expect - for example the Kensington Palace Office. I am sorry for Meghan and Harry. Obviously they put duty first and - on very brave faces. Given the impressive African Tour we see that Meghan was a very loyal and hard worker for the Royal Family. Listening to this podcast I am happy she changed her mind. Thank you Charlotte for the excellent coverage.

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    4. What she wanted was to be with her baby after a scare. I think this is understandable. Surely there was a way to do this without creating a diplomatic incident at the time.

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    5. A diplomatic incident? Now? I don't think so. What is reported is "The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle recently gushed over her Zimbabwean nanny after she heroically saved her son Archie from a fire incident." Serena was talking about how she had "meltdowns" on the court but the men were "passionate." Led to being a mother -- Serena playing after staying up all night with Olympia. Meghan interjected something truthful. I blame the tour planners. Harry has said that whenever they needed someone to go where others didn't want to go, they sent him. H&M were not important. I don't see the damage to South Africa; I see Meghan being free tp speak. And feel.

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    6. Philly here. The editor isn't recognizing my URL.

      My my. I guess it's possible to read all sorts of things into anyone's remarks. I, however, saw no shade against South Africa in Meghan's comments. First, I think that people believe the royals get luxurious digs and the best of the best wherever they go on these global junkets for the Firm. It quite surprised me to hear that the conditions were not grand at all.

      Second, a mother whose child is that young is focused almost solely on that child and will continue to be so for the first few years of its life. The brain gets rewired to be that way about it. To put duty ahead of one's baby after a scare like that is a significant sacrifice.

      Third, it shows the intransigence of the royal handlers. There's a complete absence of flexibility or planning for exigencies that might require a pause in the proceedings. No schedule should be so tight that no flex time exists when things go sideways--and something almost always does. I've planned international travel for groups. I know.

      However, it's Meghan. The trash talkers will continue to shirt all over her like the seagulls that they are. Serena gets more than her share of it too. I am so grateful for the rational coverage Charlotte continuously and conscientiously provides.

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    7. I have helped to organise several Royal tours. Their so-called handlers would include local people as well as their own staff and the Royal couple would have had the right to turn down any aspect of their tour. The arrangements must have been a bit flexible as on both the Australasian and South African tours Meghan took time off on several occasions. On the latter visit it was originally hoped that she would travel to Lesotho and Angola with Harry and visit one of the Sentebale projects which he is so proud about. ( Since they got together he has visited them several times, but she has never accompanied him although an open invitation has been extended to her.) I also recall that in Fiji the visit to the local market. was cut short because of "security concerns ". So planning obviously does allow for last minute changes. Remember on the recent Caribbean tour of the Cambridges there were last minute cancellations due to local protests.
      So Philly you are incorrect. in your assertions. .

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  13. Excellent podcast and coverage, Charlotte - good to hear this and excited about the upcoming episodes! - op

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  14. Interesting and insightful conversation. I just wish it wasn't a Spotify exclusive as I usally listen to my podcasts on Apple but for my favorite duchess I'll gladly move on to Spotify. As per usual wishing the Sussex royal family all the best, may they always be protected and blessed because they're such gems!

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  15. Finally. But I have to admit, I found the episode pretty flat? I was so excited, because especially Serena should have been able to contribute lots of interesting talking points. Maybe I had a wrong expectation, because I was not here for listening to lots of stuff about their lives that had no real connection to the topic. Those side topics swallowed up a lot of time for such an interesting topic. Let's see if the next episode will go more in depth with the topic.

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    1. I agree. I expected more substance, and perhaps defining the subject. Defining ambition, success...and the difference between stereotypes and archetypes. Why Serena is the archetype, the perfect example of an ambitious woman, how she challenges stereotypes. Ambition and fair play in women/men tennis and so on.

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  16. I can't believe how much I enjoyed this -- it seemed new and fresh. As USA Granny says, it was top notch. Meghan was just a delight. That whole control by the Palace people is just no way to live -- I think things would be OK if Charles got rid of them all and hired a new generation with a new focus, but I don't expect to see it happen. I am looking forward to the interview with Mariah Carey for one particular reason -- I have a very negative view of her personally. Of course I don't know her, so I'm looking forward to listening. Obviously Meghan feels there is value in talking with Mariah, and I'm looking forward to knowing the truth about her, not just tabloid stories. The woman has had a rough life despite her gift -- I think a lot of people worked to control her, and she recently said she had bipolar disorder. I am ready to admit I have done just what some people do with Meghan -- believe tabloid lies. I read that the podcast went to the top of Spotify's charts! And I also saw that H&M adopted one of those 4000 rescue beagles -- a 7-year-old, "Momma Mia."

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  17. I am "amused" at the need for UK commenters to say the podcast is all about Meghan! It's a lovely discussion between friends in which Meghan uses some personal info to bring out info about Serena. I was fascinated at how easy it is to listen.

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  18. What delicious Karma that Meghan's podcast is # 1 in all English-speaking countries, and in the top 10 in non-english speaking countries! The Royal Rota and the British tabloids have utterly failed to destroy her. They only look like the petty, mean, disgusting people that they are.

    I'm loving it.

    "You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise."

    ~ Maya Angelou from "Still I Rise"

    R

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    1. Thanks for your good comment.

      Delete
  19. (I'm not sure my comment posted, so I'll try again. If the first one went through, ignore this one.)

    What wonderful Karma that Meghan's podcast is # 1 in all English-speaking countries and in the top 10 in other countries! The Royal Rota and the British tabloids have failed to destroy her. They only look like the mean, nasty, vicious people that they are. I'm loving it.

    "You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise."

    ~ Maya Angelou from "Still I Rise"

    R

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  20. Still I Rise
    BY MAYA ANGELOU

    You may write me down in history
    With your bitter, twisted lies,
    You may trod me in the very dirt
    But still, like dust, I'll rise.

    Does my sassiness upset you?
    Why are you beset with gloom?
    ’Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
    Pumping in my living room.

    Just like moons and like suns,
    With the certainty of tides,
    Just like hopes springing high,
    Still I'll rise.

    Did you want to see me broken?
    Bowed head and lowered eyes?
    Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
    Weakened by my soulful cries?

    Does my haughtiness offend you?
    Don't you take it awful hard
    ’Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
    Diggin’ in my own backyard.

    You may shoot me with your words,
    You may cut me with your eyes,
    You may kill me with your hatefulness,
    But still, like air, I’ll rise.

    Does my sexiness upset you?
    Does it come as a surprise
    That I dance like I've got diamonds
    At the meeting of my thighs?

    Out of the huts of history’s shame
    I rise
    Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
    I rise
    I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
    Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

    Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
    I rise
    Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
    I rise
    Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
    I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
    I rise
    I rise
    I rise.

    R

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    1. Wow thank you, I have not read this before it is so apt.

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    2. Beautiful poem, and so apropos! Thanks, R.

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  21. Excellent podcast and coverage, Charlotte it nice too see the duchess having the voice back these two fiends love their conversation like that this podcast gives motivation and a strangle of woman discriminations in Asian black in any form

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  22. I think Meghan made some very good points re women with ambition. And I think Serena's participation was because Meghan is her friend, so that was a gift. I learned that Serena was "ambitious" as a child, which is a powerful thought. And it's so good to discuss the conflicts that arise with being a mother that I know every mother has had to deal with -- you stayed up all night with your child and then had to play the Open. You want some time to be grateful that a tragedy didn't occur but you instead have to leave your baby. These ridiculous UK commenters saying that one must carry on forget those books in which Charles complained that his parents were not there for him.

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  23. In my opinion there was not enough about the topic 'ambition' or about/from Serena. As one of the greatest sportswomen ever, she has a lot to contribute. Most programmes that have a guest, concentrate on the guest

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    1. It felt to me that Serena had no need or desire to be interviewed other than to support her friend. Meghan drew out a lot of tidbits from Serena, on-topic tidbits. I feel like I've learned a lot about being a woman and having ambition -- it was a well-spent 40+ minutes.

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  24. We definitely need some more information about the fire which sounds very serious. First of all why were they staying in a housing unit when normally the British Royal Family stay in either the local Governor General's residence or with the British High Commissioner.? When neither are available they normally use first class hotels, so I am appalled that they had been relegated in this way. How did that happen.? The. South African Government should explain the circumstances as it is a serious blot on their arrangements which directly endangered the life of a member of the Royal Family and one who was seventh in the line of succession.
    Secondly, why was the royal baby not properly protected by the British Security personnel who were travelling with them. Prior to the tour they would have checked all the venues for any dangers and a fire in a heater definitely qualifies as life threatening. Was the local fire brigade called and how long did it take to get there? Some sort of enquiry is called for even if it is now some time ago.
    I did note from pre tour publicity that originally Meghan was hoping to travel to Lesotho and Angola, but in the end stayed in South Africa while Harry carried out that part of their tour. by himself. In retrospect she was obviously very shaken by the fire and wanted to stay near Archie. because she did not trust the local security arrangements. This is very understandable. Maybe the Queen's decision not to take her young children on overseas tours was the right one.

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  25. Saw that Meghan is featured on The Cut, and of course people will attack what she says, especially about Charles. I think it's been very troubling to her to see Harry hurt, and I'm glad she is continuing to say what she wants to say. I don't know how much will equal the lack of support while H&M were thrown under the bus, but she has a right to speak.

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Welcome to Mad About Meghan! We do so look forward to reading your thoughts. Constructive, fair debate is always encouraged. Hateful, derogatory terms and insults are not welcome here. This space focuses on Harry and Meghan, not any other member of the Royal family. It's not the place to discuss politics either. Thank you for reading, we look forward to your comments :)