Opinion | Meghan Markle’s ‘Archetypes’ subverts stereotypes

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Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, arrive for a service for the reign of Queen Elizabeth on June 3. Columnist Storey Childs believes that Markle’s podcast “Archwell” is worth the listen when it comes to labels on women.

By Storey Childs, Columnist

Meghan Markle is undoubtedly a public figure. She has taken on many roles in her life: actress, entrepreneur, writer, wife, Duchess of Sussex and most recently, mother. 

As she has stepped into public life and onto the world stage, she has become both a figure of respect and of harsh criticism. She has now taken on another role to talk about exactly that: podcaster.

Her podcast, “Archetypes,” is a mandatory listen. All you need is one hour and an open mind. 

“Archetypes” is available to stream on Spotify. Having dethroned Joe Rogan’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” as the top streaming podcast on the platform, “Archetypes” has gained immense popularity over its first weeks. 

“Archetypes” creates an environment in which listeners investigate, dissect and subvert the labels that hold women back. This goal is accomplished by Markle herself, as she builds a discussion where directness is mandatory, and empathy is essential. 

Markle conducts interviews to discuss the stereotypical terms that shape the public and professional lives of successful women. Before the discussion with her weekly guest, Markle reminds listeners that “Archetypes” is an open and honest space by sharing a story of her own. 

In the first episode, Markle tells her story of successfully subverting a common stereotype. After watching an indirectly sexist television commercial, she wrote letters to the company convincing them to change the message. At just 11 years old, witnessing this demonstration of sexism changed how she understood her place in the world. 

Her experience changed her viewpoint of the world. By listening to the ups and downs of others, Markle demonstrates that even women at the top of their fields suffer from the downs that inevitably stem from public life. 

Markle begins by discussing the “Misconception of Ambition” with her friend, legendary tennis player, mom and entrepreneur Serena Williams. Having officially announced her retirement from professional tennis, Williams discusses her process of evolving away from tennis and how that process has drawn attention to a negative connotation of what it means to be “ambitious.”

Ambition is a characteristic sought after in professional sports, especially in order for athletes to reach the level that someone such as Williams has. As Williams remarks, “Often women are definitely put in these different boxes when we are ambitious or when we do have goals or when we reach our goals, it’s a negative connotation on how we reach the goals.” 

Williams has experienced the difficulty of being boxed into societal expectations. But what she also knows is that even though ambition can be negatively connotated, it is still what makes her determined to move forward in tennis and beyond.  

The roles of women in society are circumstantially varied. As demonstrated through the experiences of successful women such as Serena Williams, stereotypes like being “too ambitious” are socially created roadblocks, installed to create a public perception of negativity.

Women are more than the characteristics and assumptions that have been attributed to them. So let’s listen to define ambition as a driving force. Let’s listen to learn about pushing beyond common labels. Let’s listen to what it means to not be the “typical woman.”

If you are ready and willing to experience something new, “Archetypes” will not disappoint. These conversations need to be delved into, and this podcast is one resource that can be utilized in our common goal of the freedom of autonomy of character.

If you want to find out who comes next in “Archetypes,” I suggest you tune in.

 

Storey is a junior in LAS.

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