Meghan Markle slams society's 'mistrust of women's emotions' citing Serena Williams' health battle

7 mins read


Society is too quick to ‘gaslight’ women over health concerns, dubbing them ’emotional’, ‘crazy’ or even ‘hysterical’, Meghan Markle has told listeners tuning into the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast. 

In the 55-minute podcast, entitled The Decoding of Crazy, the Duchess of Sussex, 41, referenced how her close friend, retired tennis star Serena Williams, also 41, was told by a nurse following the birth of her daughter Olympia, now five, that she was ‘talking crazy’ after expressing fears of blood clots. 

Markle said the concerns raised by Williams, who had previously suffered with blood clots, turned out to be true, but it took ‘too long’ for her to be taken seriously.

Fifth episode of Archetypes podcast, The Decoding of Crazy, saw the Duchess of Sussex, right, reference how close friend Serena Williams, left, wasn't listened to over blood clot fears after the birth of her daughter Olympia, now five, centre

Fifth episode of Archetypes podcast, The Decoding of Crazy, saw the Duchess of Sussex, right, reference how close friend Serena Williams, left, wasn’t listened to over blood clot fears after the birth of her daughter Olympia, now five, centre

Markle said when her friend had asked for a CT scan after feeling unwell, a nurse told the tennis star:'I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.'

Markle said when her friend had asked for a CT scan after feeling unwell, a nurse told the tennis star: ‘I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.’

The latest episode of the Archetypes podcast saw Markle interviewing Deepika Padukone, Jenny Slate and Constance Wu.

She also interviewed comedian Aparna Nancherla, and the pair discussed medical gaslighting, saying many women’s fears were dismissed by healthcare professionals. 

The Duchess explained, saying: ‘I think about my friend Serena Williams and what happened shortly after she gave birth to her daughter Olympia.

‘Now Serena, has a history of blood clots and she was feeling awful after her C-section. In so much pain. She was short of breath and she was beginning to lose feeling in her legs.’

She said when the retired tennis star asked for a CT scan, a nurse told her: ‘I think all this medicine is making you talk crazy.’

Markle goes on in the episode to say that Williams ‘knew her body’, and that a subsequent scan found that she did have clots. 

She says: ‘And thankfully, she did finally get the life-saving attention that she needed. But my goodness, it took far too long. Long for her to be listened to and it’s like that for so many women, particularly women of color the stakes with this, they’re huge.’

Meghan, seen with husband Harry in Windsor last month, says in the introduction to the latest podcast:'Raise your hand if you've ever been called crazy or hysterical or what about nuts?'

Meghan, seen with husband Harry in Windsor last month, says in the introduction to the latest podcast: ‘Raise your hand if you’ve ever been called crazy or hysterical or what about nuts?’

In the episode, the 41-year-old also speaks about feeling ‘lonely’ and ‘like I didn’t fit in’ at school, before describing how – as an adult – she often wants to ‘feel so deeply it’s like an Adele album’ but believes she has been conditioned not to show intense emotion in public.

Today’s 55-minute instalment, begins by Meghan addressing listeners. ‘Raise your hand if you’ve ever been called crazy or hysterical or what about nuts? Insane out of your mind, completely irrational, okay? You get the point,’ she says.

The duchess then continues: ‘Now, if we were all in the same room and could see each other, I think it would be pretty easy to see. Just how many of us have our hands up? By the way, me too. And it’s no wonder when you consider just how prevalent these labels are in our culture.’

Meghan then plays a series of quotes, including one from American sitcom How I Met Your Mother in which the character Neil Patrick Harris playing the character Barney says: ‘If she’s this crazy, she has to be this hot.’ This is followed by the conservative philosopher Jordan Peterson, who says: ‘I don’t think that men can control crazy women’.

The third segment comes from another American sitcom, Scrubs, in which the fictional female doctor Elliot (Sarah Chalke) comments: ‘I can’t take it, Carla! I cannot hide the crazy a minute longer! I’m just this big mountain of cuckoo is about to erupt and spew molten crazy, all over him and he’s gonna die like this.’

During today's episode, Meghan spoke about the uses of the word'crazy' with American actresses Constance Wu

Actor Jenny Slate also appeared in the episode

During today’s episode, Meghan spoke about the uses of the word ‘crazy’ with American actresses Constance Wu and Jenny Slate 

She was also joined by Indian actress Deepika Padukone, who is pictured at her wedding reception in Mumbai

She was also joined by Indian actress Deepika Padukone, who is pictured at her wedding reception in Mumbai 

After the segments air, Meghan says: ‘Calling someone crazy or hysterical completely dismisses their experience and minimises what they’re feeling. It keeps going to the point where anyone who’s been labelled it enough times can be gaslit into thinking that they’re actually unwell or sometimes worse, to the point where real issues of all kinds get ignored. Well that’s not happening today.’

At the end of the podcast, Meghan read from a poem, Breathe by Becky Hemsley, which she said was texted to her by a friend and has served as her ‘north star’ during Archetypes.

The strikingly personal passage describes a woman facing contradictory expectations who goes on to find solace in nature. Eventually, she decides ‘one day’ to ‘ask what was best for herself’… ‘instead of trying to please everyone else’.

The new release is described as an ‘in-depth and vulnerable conversation’ with Indian actress Deepika Padukone, American comedian Jenny Slate and American actress Constance Wu, who bravely revealed how she had once tried to take her own life.

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