Supplied  Meghan Markle - Girl Up Global Leadership Summit. Picture: Girl Up
Supplied Meghan Markle - Girl Up Global Leadership Summit. Picture: Girl Up

Sorry, Meghan. You’re not helping feminism

It's hard not to be embarrassed for feminism right now.

Take the Queensland academic, who is focused on a fresh battle for women's rights.

Is it to stamp out sex trafficking, address the underfunding of domestic violence services or increase equal opportunity? Awkwardly, no.

It is the far more woke feminist cause to rename body parts that honour male scientists.

What rational person has the time or energy to care about the possible gender discrimination lurking behind the origin of some archaic, centuries-old name?

I couldn't give a toss that Gabriel Fallopian and Ernst 'G spot' Gräfenberg were blokes. All that matters to me is that the medical professional who is tending to a body part knows what she or he is doing.

Anatomical terminology is the latest feminist target.
Anatomical terminology is the latest feminist target.

It's as daft as the movement by woke mothers to force their daughters to use correct anatomical references to empower ownership of their bodies. "Saffron, you don't have a sore tummy, it's a pain in your descending colon."

Somehow, I've made it this far in my life without having to use the word vulva, yet I still manage to understand what it is, thank you very much.

But if there ever was more of a confirmation that the feminist movement has become it's own worst nightmare, it was Meghan Markle's empowerment speech last week.

From the privacy of Tyler Perry's $30 million, 12-bedroom Beverly Hills villa, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have sought refuge and wish to be left alone, Meghan delivered her keynote digital address to 40,000 viewers around the world.

Certainly, the qualifications of the speakers at the Procter & Gamble-sponsored, United Nations Foundation's Girl Up Leadership Summit were impressive.

There was Iraqi human rights activist and 2018 Nobel Peace Laureate Nadia Murad, historian and Iranian women's rights advocate Dr Nina Ansary and UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

And then there was Meghan Markle, whose description simply read "Duchess of Sussex".

If she really is so devoted to the feminist cause, why does she continue to clutch the pearls of a royal title that comes from an institution she has abandoned and derided?

Let's be honest, "former TV supporting actor" doesn't seem to have the same publicity appeal as royalty.

What use is education or experience as a philanthropist or human rights activist? All you need, ladies, is to marry a prince. Hooray for feminism

Then just waffle on for nine minutes about conviction and compassion, throw in a Dalai Lama quote and your female empowerment icon status is cemented.

"Women have always historically gotten a lot of, 'Well, that isn't how it's done' or 'Yeah, that's an idea, but let's do this instead.' But when do we hear that as women? We hear that in the moments we challenge the norms," the Duchess explained in her soothing Californian yogi voice.

Meghan Markle and her hair during the Girl Up Global Leadership Summit. Picture: Girl Up
Meghan Markle and her hair during the Girl Up Global Leadership Summit. Picture: Girl Up

She also took yet another swipe at the Queen by encouraging girls to make those in power "uncomfortable". So much for the sisterhood.

"It's that those in the halls and corridors and places of power, from lawmakers and world leaders to executives, all of those people, they depend on you more than you will ever depend on them. And here's the thing: they know this," Ms Markle explained.

But her inspiring invitation for a young feminist uprising didn't seem to quite go as planned.

It was her hair, not her pep talk, that made global headlines.

"The Internet Is Freaking Out Over the Length of Meghan Markle's Hair," one headline shouted.

While others claimed her new glossy locks (described by one British paper as "the new Rachel") were a symbol of her new-found independence.

Sadly, it seems her speech did more for GHD sales than female empowerment. Move over, Malala.

It's excruciating to watch the cringe-worthy recuperation of feminism as a woke identity label.

Because, if we learnt anything from Hillary Clinton, feminism should never be used to promote the career success of one, single female.

Hillary Clinton chats with Harvey Weinstein at the TIME 100 Gala celebrating TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World in 2012. Picture: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for TIME
Hillary Clinton chats with Harvey Weinstein at the TIME 100 Gala celebrating TIME'S 100 Most Influential People In The World in 2012. Picture: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for TIME

The former US secretary of state continues to push the fantasy that she was the "gutsy woman" who took on those mean MAGA misogynists and inspired a future wave of brave female leaders (so long as we ignore her friendships with convicted sex offenders Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein).

Feminism should be about fighting for the tough and non-Instagram-friendly issues of equality - workplace and education rights, healthcare reform, domestic violence victim support, legalising sex work and preventing genital mutilation.

A real feminist doesn't use the movement to surreptitiously push her own personal aspirations of power and success. Then that would make her yet another influencer.

And the world certainly doesn't need any more of those.

@lucycarne

Originally published as Sorry, Meghan. You're not helping feminism


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