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Watch 11-year-old Meghan Markle destroy a sexist TV commercial

Inside Edition
This mess ain't just a woman's problem.
  • Leah Fessler
By Leah Fessler

Reporter, Quartz at Work

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Meghan Markle is no stranger to bucking the status quo. As a woman of color, a divorced person, television actor and American who was raised Catholic, the Duchess of Sussex defies nearly every norm for British royalty. And long before she met Prince Harry or starred in Suits, Markle, barely a tween, was tearing down the patriarchy on Nick News, an American children’s show on Nickelodeon, shown from 1992 to 2015.

Her target: Proctor and Gamble, one of the largest public companies in America.

As Inside Edition reported, at age 11, Markle and her Los Angeles elementary school classmates were asked to evaluate the messages in commercials as part of their social studies curriculum. Markle was struck by an ad for Ivory Soap, a Procter & Gamble product, which showed a sink full of dirty dishes, with a voiceover saying, “Women are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Soap.”

The dishes were conveniently accompanied by a woman’s hand, wearing a wedding ring, of course!

Markle couldn’t believe the ad implied that cleaning was only a woman’s duty. “I don’t think it’s right for kids to grow up thinking that mom does everything,” she says in her first-ever TV appearance, in 1993.

Instead of letting the incident pass, Markle took matters into her own hands, writing a letter (in near-perfect cursive) to Procter & Gamble, asking them to change the commercial to say “people all over America are fighting greasy pots and pans,” not just women.

Much to her surprise, P&G complied.

“If you see something that you don’t like or are offended by on television or another place, write letters and send them to the right place, and you can really make a difference, for not just yourself but for other people,” said Markle, with uncanny pre-teen eloquence.

“It’s absolutely clear that this young woman was strong in her beliefs,” Linda Ellerbee, the host of Nick News, told Inside Edition. ”She believed in women, she believed in her own power, and she wasn’t afraid to reach out and say I want my power, I want my rights.”

You tell ’em, Meg.

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