The topic turned to Harry when the newly returned American royal, who has moved deeper into a politically and socially active lifestyle, referenced a greeting between her husband and Steinem (though Harry did not participate in the chat posted Wednesday by Makers, a Yahoo-hosted site).
“As I’ve gotten older I’ve been able to understand that it’s not mutually exclusive to be a feminist and be feminine,” Meghan, 39, told Steinem, 86. “And to own that and harness your femininity and your identification as a woman in all of the different layers.”
“Well, you can be a feminist and be masculine and a guy,” replied Steinem.
“Like my husband!” exclaimed the duchess. “I love that when he just came in he said, ‘You know that I’m a feminist, too, right, Gloria?! It’s really important to me that you know that.’ “
The royal continued: “I look at our son and what a beautiful example that he gets, to grow up with a father who is so comfortable owning (feminism) as part of his own self-identification. That there’s no shame in being someone who advocates for human rights for everyone.”
A short black-and-white video clip posted to Twitter Tuesday that teased the interview showed Meghan and Steinem sitting across a table from each other outdoors and socially distanced. It is not clear when the encounter took place, though the interaction with Harry (and the presence of the royal couple’s dogs) suggests it could have been at the couple’s new Montecito, California, home.
“Meg, welcome home, I’m so glad that you’re home,” Steinem told Meghan at the start of the interview.
“Me, too, for so many reasons,” Meghan responds.
The pair delved into a variety of issues, including representation.
While talking about the importance of voting, Steinem said: “Really, we’ve been rescued by women of color in all of our recent elections because of a vote of conscience and compassion. The heart of the Democratic Party has been Black women, actually, and now there is a potential vice president who is Black and that’s exciting.”
“I’m so excited to see that kind of representation,” Meghan replied, before moving to more neutral political territory. “You know, for me, being biracial, growing up, whether it was a doll or a person in office, you need to see someone who looks like you in some capacity. As many of us believe, you can only be what you can see.”
Makers, describes itself on its Twitter account as dedicated to “accelerating the women’s movement through stories of real-life experiences that ignite passion and action.”
In other words, right up Meghan’s current alley now that she and Harry and baby Archie, 1, have left behind the United Kingdom and constrained royal life and moved to Southern California in search of privacy and financial independence.
For Meghan, that has meant being able to speak out about issues such as voting rights, women’s rights and women’s empowerment, which would have been more difficult in the U.K. under traditions barring royal involvement in politics.
In her interview with Steinem, Meghan also spoke out about threats of voter suppression, saying she’s “really concerned” about it ahead of this year’s presidential election.
“We can already see all the different challenges that we’re facing,” said Meghan. “I had the chance to speak with (Georgia Democrat) Stacey Abrams about this to try to get a better understanding of what to do, for example, if you’re a person of color and you’re in line, for potentially hours on end, and during that time someone tries to intimidate you to tell you that you should get out of line because you might be under surveillance or any number of intimidation tactics that are so scary.
“And then you think: ‘You know, it’s not worth it.’ You decide to step out of line and relinquish your right to vote. That’s bad enough, but then there’s a ripple effect because whoever is in the back of the line says, ‘Whatever they did to them … I don’t want that to happen to me.’ That, I think, is so frightening. But I wonder how we circumvent that and how we get people to feel empowered.”
Last week the duchess appeared via video at an online event to encourage more people to vote. “We all know what’s at stake this year,” she said.
This kind of open activism by Meghan has inspired some gnashing of teeth in British tabloids; Piers Morgan, co-host of “Good Morning Britain,” a Daily Mail columnist and one of Meghan’s sharpest critics, called for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to be stripped of their titles because of her “brazenly partisan” involvement in America’s election. As an American citizen, Meghan can continue to vote in American elections.
Ten days ago, while participating in a similar conversation with the co-founder of a new women-oriented media platform, Meghan mentioned she had been talking “recently” with her new friend Steinem.
In the clip posted to Twitter Tuesday, we got to see Meghan’s dogs, too: Guy the beagle and Pula the black Labrador, who trotted into the shot, sat down at her feet and could be heard panting loudly.
Guy is one of the dogs Meghan adopted and lived with in Toronto for the years she was there filming “Suits,” the USA TV series she was co-starring in when she met Harry in the summer of 2016. Pula was adopted by the couple after she moved to London in 2017, before the couple married in Windsor in May 2018.
Before she met Harry, Guy was a star on Meghan’s lifestyle blog, The Tig. She shut down the blog as her relationship with Harry grew. Pula has rarely been seen until now.
In the interview, Meghan seemed to be excited about talking with Steinem.
“People forget how hard women like you and so many others like you fought for us to be where we are right now,” she told the legendary feminist.
“If you don’t vote you don’t exist,” Steinem said. “It is the only place where we’re all equal, the voting booth.”
Meghan had a wide-brimmed sun hat and was dressed in white, including wide-legged pinstriped pants. Steinem was all in black.