Joanna Williams

Meghan, Harry and the truth about sexist adverts

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (Credit: Getty images)

Do Harry and Meghan need rescuing from their Montecito mansion? Being part of the royal family and living among California’s elite makes for a rarefied existence. But it appears that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex lack all access to the newspapers, films, television shows or websites that could provide clues about life beyond the perimeter fence. For surely only social isolation can explain their latest focus on pushing advertisers to ‘break the gender binary’.

Harry and Meghan have thrown their support behind Equimundo, a charity that ‘works to promote gender equality’. Its newly-released ‘State of the World’s Fathers’ report calls on the media to ‘portray men and boys as caring and competent’ and, more specifically, to show ‘men doing cooking and cleaning and women doing tasks like mowing the lawn or fixing the sink’. Equimundo also wants better representation of ‘diverse family formations, including LGBTQIA+ parents and non-nuclear families’.

Perhaps Harry and Meghan really do live in a Montecito bubble of old school sexism

Equimundo might have a slick website but those in charge are clearly stuck in the 1950s. They appear to imagine a world where the only contribution fathers make to housework is occasionally washing the car while mums, on the other hand, rarely leave the kitchen. What’s more, the charity’s researchers assume we live like this because it’s what we see on screen. In this ‘monkey see, monkey do’ world, us ignoramuses task women with household chores because that’s what adverts tell us to do.

The Equimundo researchers clearly missed the recent adverts from cosmetics company Maybelline featuring bearded men experimenting with lipstick. They didn’t see the #MeToo-inspired Gillette campaign which aimed to sell razors by urging men to behave better. Or Nike’s sports bra advertisements featuring transgender Dylan Mulvaney.

They also evidently didn’t see the RAF recruitment adverts that show women ready for combat.

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