Here’s my take on this weeks events.
Monday saw the much anticipated return to school for my children which was delightful not only for me but for my poor bloody kids who have been stuck with just us for the last few months.
Monday was also coincidentally International Women’s Day – this may have been overshadowed some what by the repetitive reporting and discussions surrounding the Meghan and Harry interview. The reactions and reporting says so much about how our society views women and it is upsetting and angers me deeply.
I watched the interview as, like many other thousands of people I was intrigued to hear their take on recent events and I understand the importance of actually watching interviews; to hear the truth of what is said straight from the person’s mouth instead of an edited version of their words relayed through someone else’s opinions. I would highly recommend watching this interview instead of, for example, relying on my take / retelling of someone else’s words – because let’s make this very clear, what I will be discussing is merely my opinion.
I found the interview a little annoying in places, but I do think that this might be because I generally find overtly American interviews a little sycophantic, the need to demonstrate their friendship and respect for one another is always very prevalent. This familiarity can come across a little false and sickly sweet. However, aside from my obvious bias going into this interview the subjects discussed were, not exactly a revelation, but certainly gave clarity. It was nice to hear them explain that while they wanted to step back from their senior Royal positions – for reasons completely justified and understandable, they never demanded complete silence about them from the media. They merely wanted truthful, respectful reporting of them and their son. This is not actually asking for much and while as royals nasty reporting is often viewed as par of the course, there should not be complete fabrication of fact.
Enter Piers Morgan, his words Monday morning about the suspected falseness of their words and the fact that he didn’t believe there were racists within the royal family, and more worryingly in my eyes, that he didn’t believe that she was in fact suicidal was incredibly frustrating to listen to. Piers perfectly encapsulates what the UK media have been orchestrating for the last 5 years. He is attempting to drive his own narrative from the truths that Harry and Meghan have relayed.
The facts are that a comment regarding race, however unintentional, has caused hurt and upset for a woman in a fragile, fraught situation. I can not imagine how hard it must have been for a mixed race woman to step into the highly white privileged environment of the British aristocracy, she must have felt like the ‘other’ on so many levels. Not only is she from a different educational background, she is from a different country and she is from a different ethnicity, all of these aspects make a flippant comment about how dark a baby’s skin will potentially be all the more hurtful . It will be seen, rightly so, as a highlight of how culturally unaware at least one person in a senior royal position is and that really needs to be addressed.
Hearing her speak honestly about having suicidal thoughts is an extremely brave thing to do. Someone who is feeling suicidal may hear that and it might just give the person the strength to seek help. To have a puffed up disgraced failed journalist, failed editor, and now failed news reporter dismiss these claims as lies and attention seeking is not only insulting, it is down right dangerous. Someone speaking about mental health should be given the space to speak and be heard, the reaction should be empathetic with an attempt to understand, not display contempt.
Piers Morgan is known for ‘speaking the uncomfortable truths’ some even hold the opinion that he says what everyone is too afraid to say. There are several reasons why I wholeheartedly disagree with this, which I will attempt to break down but firstly lets get one thing absolutely clear. Pier Morgan is and has always has been a misogynistic bully. He picks fights with women in the media because he knows he can get away with it and he also knows that he will be fully supported by the tabloids. As an ex-editor (albeit disgraced) he knows the tried and tested technique of how to create the right kind of narrative that sells. Sadly our UK media is complicit in this repeated portrayal of women: Step 1 build them up and make them someone who is a darling, someone who perpetuates absolute perfection. Step 2 saturate the media with them create any story they can relating to them, quote their instagram stories, their podcast interviews and any comments in any articles, re-word it like they are repeatedly selling their stories and opinions to the media, encourage people to be sick of seeing them and hearing about them Step 3 knock them off the impossible to maintain perfection pedestal that the MEDIA have put them on. It could be anything, wanting to protect their unborn child from racist reporting or having a breakdown that is then sold to the tabloids, it has to be something to highlight that this woman is not perfect, the more negative the spin the better. This technique sells and the media absolutely loves this narrative.
Piers Morgan has for many years shared an open dislike for Meghan Markle, whilst some may write this off as amusing or justified, I can guarantee if it was a woman repeatedly putting down and berating another woman in this way the reaction would be entirely different. Did you know that Piers was ‘friends’ with Megan and he has accused her of ‘ghosting him’ after she met Prince Harry thus ending their newly found friendship. He has maintained that this fleeting friendship gives him an insight in to who Meghan Markle truly is. His open hatred for her is a direct result of her publicly distancing herself from him and he should be highly embarrassed by his petulant reaction to this.
This kind of negative reaction optimises the relationship that women in the public eye must maintain with the UK media in order to not get ‘taken down’. If you scratch my back and behave like a nice little lady who knows her place, then we will not turn on you and make everyone hate you. A women who expresses an opinion or talks too much is dangerous to a patriarchal society, one that the billionaires running the media groups rely upon to stay powerful.
We are all subjected to this kind of behaviour, and we are manipulated without even realising it to think and behave in a certain way. Have you ever thought why don’t I actually like this woman that I have never met? Why is my opinion so strong about someone that I have never nor will ever meet? Once you start to break it down and open your eyes you can not un-see it. I would highly recommend checking out Jameela Jamil’s instagram who explains the continuous media gaslighting of women adopted by the tabloids far more succinctly that I can. She also has first hand experience of this as they are currently attempting to do the same with her – Piers Morgan in particular has attempted to publicly shame her and stir up controversy surrounding her.
One final thing I want to end on is the ‘calling out’ of Piers Morgan yesterday by his colleague live on air. Whilst I applaud Alex Beresford and agree wholeheartedly with what he said, I can not help but wonder what the reaction would have been if a woman had made these points to him, or better yet a woman of colour. Would she have been hailed a hero for calling out the disgraceful behaviour? Or would she, more likely, be dismissed by some quarters as angry and emotional. A mere woman who doesn’t really understand because their words, their truth is somewhat less than that of an opinion of a man. The response you have to this loaded question should make you feel a little uncomfortable, you don’t need to get defensive and attempt to squash that thought, sit with it, think about it and perhaps use this to change your response in the future. Knowledge is power, but truthful knowledge is the most powerful of all.