One of Meghan Markle’s first jobs was to wear a short dress, put on a lot of makeup and hold a briefcase.
She’s shocked, shocked to discover she found the experience objectifying.
In the latest episode of her podcast, “Archetypes,” the Duchess of Sussex monologizes about her time on “Deal or No Deal,” the NBC game show in which she and dozens of other beautiful young women vacantly smiled as contestants played to win $1 million.
She admitted it was a pretty decent gig for an aspiring actress, complete with benefits and a union membership.
But although she told listeners she’s “grateful” for the experience, she went on to blast the show for objectifying her and reducing her to a “bimbo.”
“It was solely about beauty and not about brains,” she lamented. “I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach, knowing I was so much more than what I was being objectified on the stage. I didn’t like being forced to be all looks and little substance, and that’s how it felt for me at the time being reduced to this specific archetype: the word ‘bimbo.’ ”
While the optics of scantily-clad 20-somethings standing behind Howie Mandel might be a little cringey by today’s standards, being praised for your looks is . . . well, literally the job description. I don’t think any briefcase girl showed up expecting to be celebrated for her brains.
Markle, who was on the show in 2006, chose to capitalize on her beauty and flaunt what she’s got —and, hey, more power to her. A pretty face was her foot in the door. Thanks to her stint as a briefcase girl, she got her name out there and was able to ascend the ladder in Hollywood. Not long after, she secured a starring role in the show “Suits” and later landed the world’s most eligible bachelor.
That all makes it a little hard to sympathize with the implication that she was somehow victimized as a briefcase girl, a job she as a then 25-year-old consenting adult chose to take. Beauty sells — it’s a fact of life — and Markle chose to profit off it. She shouldn’t be ridiculed for that decision, but she shouldn’t expect sympathy, either.
Meghan is right that bimbo is a powerful word that can be weaponized to cut down women. But context is everything. When candidate Donald Trump called Megyn Kelly a bimbo, it was to dismiss her hard questions and belittle her. Kelly is an influential political commentator who happens to be a beautiful woman, and to call her that is appalling.
Kelly showed up to host prime-time news. Her looks had nothing to do with the job. Markle showed up to smile, clap, and open briefcases. Her looks were the job description.
Kelly took the comments in stride and moved on. Markle, on the other hand, is pulling the victim card 16 years later. In this case, the only thing she is the victim of is self-objectification.