'Difficult' is a codeword for 'b*tch' used to gaslight strong women, claims Meghan Markle

8 November 2022, 13:07 | Updated: 8 November 2022, 15:41

Meghan Markle said the 'b-word' is used to dismiss women in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast
Meghan Markle said the 'b-word' is used to dismiss women in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

'Difficult' is used as a codeword for 'b*tch' and is used to gaslight strong women, Meghan Markle has said in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast.

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Meghan discussed the 'b-word' with comedian and actress and Robin Thede.

"[The word] is sadly, for whatever reason, really easy to resort to for a lot of people," said the Duchess.

"It's just one of those labels that feels like it's thrown around constantly, and while its usage certainly have undertones that say a lot about the person who's speaking, there's still a specific type of woman who tends to be the recipient."

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Ms Thede said it is used to describe a woman who "goes after what she wants, who has an opinion that's different from a man's, who turns you down at the club".

Meghan then said: "What these people are implying when they use that very charged word, is that this woman - oh, she's difficult.

"Which is really just a euphemism, or is probably not even a euphemism.

"It's really a codeword for the B-word."

Meghan Markle discussed the usage of the 'b-word'
Meghan Markle discussed the usage of the 'b-word'. Picture: Alamy

She said many women are "reclaiming" the word - including Ms Thede.

"If we're going to hear it anyway, if we're going to hear it in violent situations God forbid, we're going to hear it in songs where it's not being used positively... then we have to offset that, just numbers-wise," the comedian said.

"I love that women have used this phrase 'bad b*tch' as a positive thing."

The Duchess of Sussex, however, refused to say the word on the podcast, referring to it only as the 'b-word'.

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"As you may have guessed, I have zero interest in reclaiming this term," she told listeners, adding it was used to gaslight women who know what they want.

"Perhaps the truth is that labelling a woman as the b-word, or as difficult, is often a deflection," she said.

"A way to hide some of her really awesome qualities - her persistence, her strength, her perseverance, her strong opinion, maybe even her resilience."

In the episode, titled To 'B' or not to 'B'?, she discussed the word with Starbucks chairperson Mellody Hobson and entrepreneur Victoria Jackson.

Meghan tackled the word in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast
Meghan tackled the word in the latest episode of her Archetypes podcast. Picture: Alamy

The Duchess of Sussex has discussed a wide range of topics since her podcast launched in August.

In last week's episode, she revealed she found the British citizenship test "so hard" and even the Duke of Sussex had "no idea" of some of the answers.

Meghan said she turned to Harry for help while practicing for the official government quiz, but she also appeared to suggest the British-born duke - who is fifth in line to the throne - was also stuck on the questions.

When Meghan's engagement to Harry was confirmed in 2017, Buckingham Palace announced that the former Suits star would become a British citizen - something she later abandoned.

Chatting to actress and director Pamela Adlon, who recently became a British citizen, Meghan said: "That citizenship exam is so hard. I was studying for it and I remember going 'Oh my goodness'.

"I would ask my husband 'Did you know this? Did you know this?' and people went 'Oh, I had no idea'."

Adlon, best known for voicing Bobby Hill in the animated comedy show King Of The Hill, joked: "I think they made it harder for you. They were like 'We're gonna really throw up walls on this one'."

Meghan laughed and said, "You think?"

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The Duchess also chatted with her "dear friend" Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the First Lady of Canada - wife of the Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.

Meghan spoke about how they spent time together in the summer with their children, and how she bought an "inflatable pizza slice" pool float online which proved to be a "big hit".

"This wasn't our day of being the wives and moms, all perfectly quaffed with up dos and pearls and demure smiles," the duchess said.

"This was the other version of us, both with wild curly hair and swimsuits and loose linen and huge belly laughs, big cuddles with our little ones and quiet whispers of girl talk on the terrace, giddy like absolute school girls.

"We were just having so much fun."

Meghan said Harry found the citizenship test hard in the last episode
Meghan said Harry found the citizenship test hard in the last episode. Picture: Alamy

Meghan described the episode - called Good Wife/Bad Wife, Good Mom/Bad Mom - as digging into the roles women play on the home front and looking at how to "break out of the limiting version of these moulds society has carved out for us".

Meghan also spoke about her family's "whirlwind" morning routine and how she makes breakfast for Harry, Archie and Lilibet every day, saying it is important to her and she loves doing it.

The Duchess said: "Lili has just started walking. She's a year and a couple months old, and Archie's just over three years old, so... I'm in the thick of it. Toddling."

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She went on: "So the morning rush - I'm sure it'll only get more chaotic as they get older.

"But for me, it's, you know, both monitors on for the kids to hear them, always up with Lili, get her downstairs, then a half hour later Archie's up.

"Start doing his lunch box right before he's up, while I have her, getting her a little nibble.

"My husband's helping me get him downstairs. I make breakfast for all three of them. It's very important to me. I love doing it.

"For me it's just feels like the greatest way to start the morning. And then it's like, feed all three of the dogs because we just got another dog and then get Archie out the door to school and, you know, but it does, it feels like a whirlwind."