Meghan Markle has debuted her brand new podcast 'Archetypes' on Spotify with her first guest being the legendary tennis player Serena Williams.
The 41-year-old actor and Duchess of Sussex called making the podcast an "awakening to the millions of ways, big and small, that our society tries to box women in, to hold women back, to tell women who and what they should and can be. I've never lost touch with that reality, and in the last few years, my desire to do something about it has grown. My 11-year-old voice has also gotten a little more confident — maybe a little louder."
Before she actually gets to the interview with Williams she recounts a story from when she was just a young girl and managed to force a major company to change a sexist advert.
When she was just 11, Markle was asked to assess the messages of various adverts for a class project.
The advert for Ivory dishwasher soap caught her eye because of its gender-specific language. The voiceover said: “women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans”.
The young activist-to-be found offence with the use of the word ‘women’, and with encouragement from her dad - who told her to write letters - she reached out to some people.
Markle says: "When I was 11-years-old I saw a commercial that changed the way that I saw my place in the world. Let me be clear, it wasn't because this ad was some kind of ingenious piece of marketing. Actually, it was just the opposite. I was in the sixth grade, I was in my classroom and we were watching TV when a commercial came on."
The ad was for Ivory Dishwashing Liquid but Markle took exception to the use of the language used in the commercial, which was specifically aimed at women.
See Meghan Markle on ‘90s Nickelodeon Show After Protesting Commercialwww.youtube.com
"Did I really just hear that guy say women?" Markle exclaims before revealing that she heard two boys in her class agreeing with the ad's message that women should be in the kitchen, which she said: "breathed life into her biggest fear."
Markle's exception to the advert became big news and she even appeared on Nickelodeon as a result, which you can see above. She also wrote letters to the soap’s manufacturer Procter & Gamble, as well as civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred, Hillary Clinton (who was the First Lady at the time) and Nick News anchor Linda Ellerbee.
Ellerbee responded to the letter by sending a camera crew to interview her.
The young Markle said: "I don’t think it’s right for children to grow up thinking these things, that mum does everything."
As a result of her letter, the ad's wording was changed, replacing “women” with “people”.
Markle went on to become a UN Women ambassador, and she mentioned this story during a speech for International Women’s Day in 2015.
She said: "My eleven-year-old self worked out that if I really wanted someone to hear me, well then I should write a letter to the First Lady. I also put pen to paper and I wrote a letter to my news source at the time, Linda Ellerbee, who hosted a kids news program, and then to powerhouse attorney Gloria Allred because even at eleven I wanted to cover all my bases.
"Finally, I wrote to the soap manufacturer. And a few weeks went by and to my surprise, I received letters of encouragement from Hillary Clinton, from Linda Ellerbee, and from Gloria Allred. It was amazing.
"The kid's news show, they sent a camera crew to my home to cover the story, and it was roughly a month later when the soap manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, changed the commercial for their ivory clear dishwashing liquid.
"They changed it from ‘Women all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans’ to ‘People all over America’. It was at that moment that I realised the magnitude of my actions. At the age of eleven, I had created my small level of impact by standing up for equality."
Now she has recounted the story again which you can listen to in the intro to the new podcast which is available now.
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