On the ninth episode of her podcast Archetypes, Meghan Markle focuses on the word “difficult” and perceptions that powerful women are aggressive or overly demanding. Before she got into that territory, she started with a bit of conversation about her obsession with TV and her love for one show in particular.
“Jeopardy was my favorite show growing up,” Meghan said, “and I would eat my dinner on a TV tray in front of the screen, watching each category and clue with bated breath and intense focus, trying to absorb whatever facts they were firing off in the form of a question.”
She said the show helped her develop her love for words. “My obsession with this show was so deep,” she said. “You guys, when Alex Trebek passed away, I started to receive texts of condolence. I didn’t know him, but everyone who knew me knew how meaningful Jeopardy – and its host – were as a daily part of my life.”
For the rest of the episode, Meghan discussed her hatred of the word “bitch” and also comedian Robin Thede, investor Mellody Hobson, and entrepreneur Victoria Jackson how they have handled stereotypes in their careers. “Perhaps the truth is that labeling a woman as the b-word, or as difficult – is often a deflection,” Meghan said in the episode’s introduction. “A way to hide some of her really awesome qualities: her persistence, her strength, her perseverance, her strong opinion, maybe even her resilience.”
“Difficult” is also clearly a loaded word for Meghan. Though she never references “Duchess Difficult,” the tabloid nickname she was given after spats with her palace staff went public, she does mention that being called names prompted her to do some soul searching. “Of course, names hurt,” she said. “But what happens when we use that pain to fuel purpose? When the B-word is shouted with one intent, but you’re able to let it go.”
She also said the idea for the episode came from conversations with her friends about the word. “It gets thrown around so casually now,” she said. “My friend said to me… there’s a certain point when you come to terms with the fact that not everyone’s going to like you. The goal can’t be for everyone to like you, but the goal can be for them to respect you.”
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