Meghan Markle just wore trousers. And that’s headline news

Photo: Getty Images 

It’s 2018, guys! Who knew women wore trousers?

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By Hannah Banks-Walker on

If you haven’t seen the headlines generated by Meghan Markle’s public appearance in a pair of trousers on Wednesday, you can probably imagine them: “Feminist Meghan wears the trousers.” Woah. Have you ever heard of anything quite so radical as a young woman wearing a pair of trews? So radical, in fact, that chances are you didn’t even notice. But the press did, don’t worry. And they really want us all to know that Meghan is a Feminist, OK?

On Wednesday, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle went to visit Reprezent FM in Brixton, a youth radio station set up 15 years ago in response to a rise in knife crime. And, as you may have gathered, Meghan wore a pair of trousers for the visit. They were black trousers – pretty unremarkable, other than the fact that they were made by Burberry. But it seems that they are now acting as a signifier for Meghan’s own perspective on the world. One piece in The Times was meticulous in its scrutiny of the issue: “Yesterday it emerged that in the love nest that is Kensington Palace, there is one person in charge – and no, it isn’t the fifth in line to the throne.” According to reports, when Harry was asked a question by the station manager he pointed to Meghan and said “She answers the questions”, to which Meghan replied “Yes, talking of gender equality”.

Is society’s view of women and their role in the world still so backward that a pair of trousers is a radical statement?

Obviously, any woman in the public eye is subject to extreme scrutiny. What she wears, what she says, what she does – it’s creepy, to say the least. So, when Twitter practically imploded because Meghan was also wearing a jumper from M&S for her Brixton visit, I got it. People really care what she wears and, as we’ve seen with the Duchess of Cambridge, modern Princesses seem to have a selling power unlike any other. But, as a clothes enthusiast (to put it quite lightly), not even I understood why her trousers were such a big deal. When you think about it, however, you rarely see Kate Middleton in a pair of trousers for an official engagement – she’s predominantly in dresses. Not that it matters – she, like every other woman in the world, has the right (or should have, anyway) to wear whatever she chooses. But why are we all still so obsessed by it? Is society’s view of women and their role in the world still so backward that a pair of trousers is a radical statement?

Clearly, it is. What is perhaps most infuriating, however, is the fact that Meghan Markle has been so outspoken on the issue of gender equality in the past, advocating for women’s rights. But, in the articles I’ve seen reporting on her Reprezent visit, not one mentions anything she has actually said on the issue. Not one references the speeches she has made, including one at the UN’s Women’s Conference in 2015. They simply reduce her to a pair of trousers. How’s that for irony?

@hlbw 

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Photo: Getty Images 
Tagged in:
meghan-markle
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Hannah Banks-Walker
Kate Middleton
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