Criticising a woman for having boundaries is a great way to convince her to reinforce them
Hadley Freeman– The Guardian
Thomas Markle has taken to the airwaves, again complaining to the world’s media about his “controlling” daughter and marvelling, again, why on earth she might not want him in her life. Because nothing says “loving father” more clearly than a man who denigrates his pregnant daughter on morning TV.
Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, has been remarkably dignified through her father’s media rampage, which has now lasted six months, never complaining or explaining. But, of course, she doesn’t need to: I think we are all getting a pretty clear view of what Meghan’s childhood was like every time Thomas decides his need for attention outweighs his concern for his daughter’s wellbeing and rings up Piers Morgan to complain about her some more.
It is interesting how Meghan, very much despite herself, has become such a lightning rod for so many controversies, from the royal family’s – shall we say – race issues to the British media’s obsession with pitting women against one another, with claims that she and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, are at one another’s throats. And now Meghan has become a high-profile example of some men’s inability to understand that women are allowed to say no.
On top of her father refusing to accept his daughter’s limits, Piers Morgan, the James Boswell to Thomas’s Samuel Johnson, has similarly been raging this month about Meghan “sacking [him] like a sack of potatoes”. In this case, Meghan’s crime was not becoming Morgan’s BFF after their one drink, once, in a pub several years ago. Tellingly, perhaps, Morgan had a somewhat different take on his and Meghan’s relationship exactly a year ago, when he wrote about “my beautiful friendship with the amazing Meghan Markle”. True, he acknowledged, he hadn’t seen her in a while, but, he concluded at the time: “All will be forgiven if I get an invite to the wedding.” Guess it was lost in the post.
In both these cases, we have men acting like they have some kind of right over a woman: they are entitled to Meghan’s time, and their feelings about being ignored by her are more important than her feelings about them slating her all over the media. They are the equivalent of the man from Kristen Roupenian’s viral short story, Cat Person, insisting again and again that a woman explain why she doesn’t want to see him, only to demonstrate why by verbally abusing her. Hot tip, men: women are allowed to have boundaries and you insisting she is wrong to have them is a really great way to get her to reinforce them.
Quite why Meghan has become such a symbol for controversy, in the way her mother-in-law was before her, is a question for another day. But, on an individual level, here is an adult woman who has estranged herself from her father. And, with every interview he gives, he proves she was right to do so.