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It’s been a wild handful of years for Meghan Markle. The former star of Suits started dating and later married Britain’s Prince Harry. The two then kinda sorta broke up with the Royal Family, moved to Canada and are now getting back into the entertainment space with a Netflix deal. It’s been quite the whirlwind, and it’s been all the more chaotic because both members of the general public and members of the media have sounded off with personal opinions every step of the way. In fact, there’s been so much commentary on Markle’s life that she was apparently the most trolled person in 2019.
The exact metrics of how that’s measured is unclear, but her position in the pillory certain passes the eye test. There have been extended periods on the Internet where it feels like you can’t navigate anywhere without accidentally stumbling upon some recycled hot take about whether she’s a hero, a homewrecker, too much of a feminist, not enough of a feminist, a good wife, a bad daughter or practically any other wild take you can think of. Meghan Markle hasn’t spoken a ton about what this has done to her mental state, but she dropped by the Teenager Therapy podcast for a pretty candid conversation and addressed the topic head on. Here’s a portion of her quote…
If you’re not in school… you’re finding yourselves on your devices or online more, and there’s a lot of vulnerability there that I think so many people are experiencing. Yes, it’s a great way to connect but it also ends up being a place where there’s a lot of disconnection. I can speak personally too. I’m told that in 2019, I was the most trolled person in the entire world. Male or female. Now eight months of that, I wasn’t even visible. I was on maternity leave or with a baby. What was able to be manufactured and churned out, it’s almost un-survivable. That’s so big you can’t even think of what that feels like. I don’t care if you’re 15 or 25, if people are saying things about you that aren’t true, what that does to your mental and emotional health is so damaging… We all know what it feels like to have our feelings hurt. We all know what it feels like to be isolated or othered.
There’s always a period of adjustment when people first get famous. Most don’t handle it super well, but they eventually settle in and understand some criticism is part of the job. There is a big difference, however, in people criticizing artistic choices in a professional manner and giving unsolicited opinions about people’s personal lives in a mean-spirited fashion. That happens constantly with random users on social media, but unfortunately in Meghan Markle’s case, it also happened extensively in the press, which they've discussed in the past. The tabloids were particularly vicious toward her and did everything from make stuff up to nitpick over every little thing. There have even been lawsuits.
That being said, though, as she pointed out in her quote, it’s ultimately a more heightened and aggressive version of something everyone has gone through. We’ve all had times in which we’ve talked about someone else, and we’ve all had times in which we’ve been the ones talked about. Life is too short to spend it gossiping and trying to put other people down. So, here’s to hoping Meghan Markle can continue to find happiness in the life of her choosing, and here’s to hoping her words can bring comfort to all the people going through miniaturized versions of the same struggle.