In this op-ed, writer Mekita Rivas unpacks the sexist reaction to Meghan Markle's thigh-high slit dress and explains why it's never OK to shame women for their clothing.
Now that she’s expecting her first child with Prince Harry, Meghan Markle is in the spotlight like never before. Currently, the parents-to-be are currently embarking on a tour of several countries belonging to the British Commonwealth. Their first stop? Australia, where it just so happens to be springtime, a season that typically calls for breezy dresses and sleeveless tops. So, it makes sense that Meghan chose to wear a maxi dress with thin straps and a thigh slit from Reformation during an appearance.
Unfortunately, some people wasted no time in criticizing Meghan’s apparel, calling it “inappropriate” and “disrespectful” on the official Kensington Palace Instagram page. Overall, critics argued that the dress is too revealing for a royal engagement, with someone going as far as calling it “trashy.” But it wasn’t all negativity coming from naysayers. Many did come to Meghan’s defense, including one person who told a critic that "she’s free to wear whatever she wants.”
Another person wisely pointed out that she looked completely appropriate for a walk on the beach on “a hot day.” One Meghan fan put it as directly as possible: “Absolutely nothing wrong with Meghan’s dress, those who say it is inappropriate need to get a grip! They are a new generation of royals who are young and are most probably trying to appeal to the future generation. Love the dress!!”
[Shaming])https://www.teenvogue.com/story/alyssa-milano-kavanaugh-hearing-dress-shaming) women for their clothing is unfortunately nothing new, and the Duchess of Sussex has definitely received a lot of heat for breaking archaic royal fashion protocols in the past. She’s worn wedges despite the fact that the Queen reportedly dislikes the shoe style. She’s also gone bare-legged when the rules state that she’s supposed to wear stockings with dresses and skirts.
Royalty or not, it’s always a bad idea to police women’s bodies and wardrobes. And it’s especially bad when a woman is targeted as she’s preparing for motherhood. Pregnancy can be a stressful and overwhelming experience in and of itself — Meghan probably has a million other priorities that matter more than her wardrobe. While she’s solidified herself as a fashion icon whose style will be talked about for decades, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to shame her for simply making a personal style choice that prioritized comfort and ease over perceived “appropriateness.”
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