Meghan Markle Is Getting Real About the "B Word"

She says it gives her "hives."

Meghan Markle White Hat Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee 2022

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On this week's episode of Archetypes, Meghan Markle got candid about another stereotype that women face, especially in Hollywood: being a bitch. While speaking with powerful businesswomen, including co-CEO of Ariel Investments and chairwoman of Starbucks Mellody Hobson, beauty entrepreneur Victoria Jackson, comedian Robin Thede, writer Allison Yarrow, and documentary filmmaker Lucy Cooke, Markle broke down the word that's used in many situations to describe a woman who knows what she wants.

The Duchess of Sussex said using the "B word" gives her "hives" — she even refuses to say it out right during the episode, adding that the word implies that a woman is "difficult." "Which is really just a euphemism — or is probably not even a euphemism — it's really a code word for the B word."

While she said it's not a word she can reclaim, she respects other women who do. "These women I respect, whose work I love, a lot of them are entirely comfortable with that," she said. "They want to do that, to take the power out of it."

Markle and Cooke, author of A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution and the Female Animal, talked about the connotation of the word. "Being masculine is being aggressive and dominant, and being feminine is being submissive," Cooke said. "It really annoys me, these labels, because actually being feminine, you know, amongst the animal kingdom, involves being aggressive and promiscuous and competitive and dominant and dynamic and varied and all the things that males are."

Markle then pondered Cooke's idea in a voiceover portion, saying, "So, perhaps the truth is that labeling a woman as the B word, or as difficult, is often a deflection, a way to hide some of her really awesome qualities: her persistence, her strength, her perseverance, her strong opinion, maybe even her resilience. Calling someone the B word, labeling them as difficult, it's often a way to insult and dismiss someone."

Markle also went onto reference a recent conversation she had with a friend who just coined the derogatory word as "convenient."

"I was talking to a good girlfriend of mine this past weekend, and when I saw her, she said something I had never heard before. She said, 'Well, isn't that a convenient villain? An assertive woman in a position of power, being called the B word? How very convenient,'" Markle explained. "But that's what happens when we label someone, a woman, especially, one of these words. It becomes a way to take their power away. Keep them in their place. A lot of times, it's tied to the very women who have power and agency, as my friend was suggesting, who aren't comfortable being silent, like businesswomen and entrepreneurs."

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