Samir Hussein/WireImage Meghan Markle and Prince Harry
Meghan Markle is bringing the men into the conversation.
For the final Archetypes podcast episode of the season, the Duchess of Sussex welcomed three men — Andy Cohen, Trevor Noah and Judd Apatow — onto the show for the first time. And the idea to chat with men about the stereotypes that hold women back actually came from none other than her husband, Prince Harry.
"Now, if you've been listening to the past 11 episodes, you may have noticed that you haven't heard many men's voices. In fact, until now, outside a pop-in from my husband in the first episode, this show has featured exclusively women's voices," Meghan said, referencing when Prince Harry stopped by to say hello to Serena Williams. "And that's by design. It was important to us that women have a space to share their authentic and complicated, complex and dynamic experiences. To be heard. And to be understood."
She continued, "But through that process, it also occurred to me — and truth be told, at the suggestion of my husband — that if we really want to shift how we think about gender and the limiting labels that we separate people into, then we have to broaden the conversation… and we have to actively include men in that conversation and certainly in that effort."
Meghan said she "enlisted very some very thoughtful men in the effort, men who've been behind some of the most successful movies and TV shows, but also, who are part of cultural conversation in such an impactful way through their roles in media, and also, for some of them, their roles as husbands and dads."
During her chat with Noah, Meghan spoke about writing the children's book The Bench, which was inspired by Prince Harry's bond with their son, Archie Harrison, now 3.
"I wrote a children's book that came out a year ago or a couple of years ago and is basically about this softer side of masculinity," she told The Daily Show host. "And how I've seen my husband as a dad and the example of that, that's the person that the young boy can look to and say, 'Oh, this is what it means to be a man. This is the example of that, that's the person that I can go to when I'm crying and that's the person that will sit with me. That's the person that can put the Band-Aid on my knee. And that that level of being nurtured can come from a male figure in, in your life just as much as it can from a female figure, but also for those male figures that it feels really good. To be able to provide that and to be able to show that part of your personality, that it doesn't make you less of a man in doing so."
Samir Hussein/WireImage Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
At the end of the episode, Meghan reflected on the 12 episodes of her podcast and what she's learned.
"I don't know what I'd been expecting, but what's come out of it for me has been illuminating. And also ironic. Because while this format is only audio and each week I use my voice, you can hear my thoughts without any visual, I feel seen," she said. "I had never considered that in using my voice, that I would feel seen. But I do. And so much of the feedback throughout the season from women is that they feel seen as well. As we heard today, that men see our experience differently now, too. They see us. They see us more clearly."
The Duchess of Sussex continued, "The guests I've had join me have been so generous with their time and vulnerable in sharing their stories. And I found that in listening, really listening, I learned so much – about them, of course, but also about myself. Finding common ground and discovering that people that come from different worlds and have different life experiences still share so many of the same feelings. I learned how much more similar we are than different. So for example, I'm not Asian, but my goodness, did I connect to what I heard on the 'dragon lady' episode. And I don't identify as ever wanting to dumb myself down. But in talking to Paris Hilton about the label 'bimbo,' I learned that she didn't either. Mariah taught me about her definition of being a diva. We celebrated the choice to be single with Mindy, and we talked about business and the B-word, how our mental health is weaponized against us, the pressures we feel to be a wife and a mom. The loaded misconception that often comes with being a woman of color and the courage that it takes to step out and speak up, even when it puts everything on the line. I learned so much. And I loved it."