Duchess Meghan: ‘We must be global feminists and include men and boys’

Victoria Beckham seen arriving at her clothing store

Back in 2014, Emma Watson became a UN ambassador on behalf of the UN’s women’s rights program He For She, which has changed names a few times in recent years. I always remember that moment because Emma gave a perfectly lovely speech about mainstream feminism and the need to include men in feminist conversations, and I also remember the absolutely insane reaction to it. Emma was roasted by the MRAs on social media, and on the other side, Emma’s fans acted like she invented feminism. The whole thing was overblown in both directions. I also remember the criticism Emma got from feminists for what was seen as a heavy-handed focus on “men need to be included in feminism too!” I bring this up because the Duchess of Sussex talked about feminism during today’s panel discussion for International Women’s Day, and Meghan’s speech included something about how men and boys should be included in feminism.

During the discussion, pregnant Meghan spoke excitedly about ‘our little bump’ and joked that she could feel the ’embryonic kicking of feminism’ insider her.

‘I’d seen this documentary on Netflix on feminism and one of the things they said during pregnancy was, “I feel the embryonic kicking of feminism,”‘ Meghan said. ‘I love that. So boy or girl or whatever it is, we hope that that’s the case, our little bump.’

Sitting in the center of the panel, Meghan said: “If there’s injustice and a lack of inequality someone needs to say something — and why not you?” She added: “We must be global feminists and include men and boys.”

[From The Daily Mail & People]

Again, I’m not saying that Meghan is saying anything controversial. But as I learned from the Emma Watson thing years ago, it’s that whenever a prominent, famous woman starts talking about feminism and how men can and should be part of the feminist conversation, there’s always a reaction. Also: I’m too tired to wonder if Meghan’s words are some kind of signal about the sex of Polo Baby. My gut has been saying “boy” for a few weeks now, after months of believing that Polo Baby will be a girl. I don’t know.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex joins a panel discussion convened by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex joins a panel discussion convened by The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust

Photos courtesy of WENN, Kensington Palace.

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71 Responses to “Duchess Meghan: ‘We must be global feminists and include men and boys’”

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  1. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    Holy cow, that dress was a big mistake.

    • Scal says:

      Right?! That’s a lot of leg for anyone for a professional panel. Which is a shame as I like the print and the blazer together.

    • Thaisajs says:

      I love it, but I wish it were just an inch-and-a-half longer. It’s so problematic to wear above the knee during a panel session. (Or at least it is for us mortals who have cellulite.)

    • Kittycat says:

      Big mistake indeed.

      My first thought was yikes

    • Valiantly Varnished says:

      *Insert massive eye roll* Happy International Women’s Day – now let’s police other women’s hemlines.

      • otaku fairy... says:

        Right? Immediately it becomes a conversation about patriarchal standards of #Respectability.

      • Jamie says:

        Yep. First comment is about her clothes and not her words.
        Same as it ever was.

      • Valiantly Varnished says:

        @okatu fairy Literally the first comment. Not about anything she said…about her damn hemline. Smh.

      • lamaga18 says:

        Thank you, Valiantly. Was just thinking the same. JFC. This is about her hemline?? F being professional if how and when I flaunt my body is still a thing.

      • Jaded says:

        She looks amazing and she is amazing. Listen to her words, don’t nit-pick over 1-1/2 inches more on her hemline.

        Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

      • paranormalgirl says:

        I was also thinking the same thing.

      • solidgolddancer says:


    • Beth says:

      Looks really uncomfortable to sit in, and the print looks like molar teeth with cavities. Would’ve been much better in a solid color and a few inches longer

    • Elizabeth Suzanne Phillips says:

      I guess I’m blind. I think she looks gorgeous.

    • bonobochick says:

      I think the dress is cute.

      I saw on twitter a picture of Meghan in her dress next to a pregnant DoC in a short black and white polka dot dress, so there’s precedent there.

  2. Redburgandy says:

    Feminism is about equality. This is why I can’t take any of the royals seriously when they talk about equality while they benefit from & represent an institution that is anything but equal.

    • OriginalLala says:

      yeah, I struggle with this too….

    • Erinlove says:

      Oh the irony! They preach equality while having people curtsy to them and live in taxpayer funded palaces!

      • Eliza says:

        Harry preached conservation yesterday after talking a private plane/heli to Germany. Will has 3 kids and preached about over population and irresponsibility of big families.

        Royals: do as i say not as i do.

      • Anatha. A says:

        Never mind that Harry met with a friend in Germany to go hunting afterwards.

    • JustSayin' says:


    • Milla says:

      Well the fact that you were born with a fake title hence you are better… royals are made up. It is hard to take any one of them seriously. So, you just go with it.
      I mean, Meg was a selfmade woman but she left everything to marry a prince who did nothing all his life… her choice; but it is kind of ridiculous.
      Harry, chuck, wills, all of them born into it, they live in a fairytale. The untouchables. It is better sometimes not to think about this stuff.

  3. Mindy_dopple says:

    Why shouldn’t it include men since they’re our biggest opponents? Every time I think, if a man would check a foul mans sexist/violent behavior instead of looking the other way, we wouldn’t have the issues we have today. It’s not us versus them. It’s those who understand equality and sensitivity versus those who want the status quo to remain.

    • Himmiefan says:

      Preach it.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      Right. Both sexes have to work to change the way girls and women are treated.

    • jan90067 says:

      I really like the fact that pretty much all of the young men in my nephews’ group of friends (ages 18-21) consider themselves feminists. This gives me hope that the message is starting to get through to young men.

    • Dee says:

      “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence…
      I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too – reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.” – Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

    • KidV says:

      Exactly. Men need to learn and it needs to start early.

  4. Case says:

    I’m hoping the baby will be a girl. But her statement is so true regardless — in order to create a society that is truly structured to treat women as equals, men and boys must be feminists as well.

  5. Anne says:

    I’m happy she (and others) are talking about this. Today’s movement to really empower women, to raise girls to be strong and vocal is a glorious sight to behold. The only way to achieve that is to also raise our boys differently than past generations. I have 5-year-old son and I sometimes feel like the focus today is so much on providing resources for girls (which is of course a good thing) that I’m left wanting to see more of an effort to bring boys and their parents into the conversation.

  6. Ann says:

    Sad when the the first thing about feminism is how it affects men and boys. The reason why there is a need for feminism is that for centuries men and boys have excluded women and continue to exclude them and could not care less. Women and girls need to think of themselves first and foremost.

    • Anne says:

      I respect your position, fellow Ann/e. Here’s where I’m coming from. My only contribution to the next generation is male (I’m done having kids). I feel like it’s the responsibility of boys’ parents to raise boys differently than in the past. I can only speak for myself, but this is why I consider how best to include boys in conversations about feminism. I don’t want my son’s female peers to have to fend for themselves. It’s not right to them, it’s not right for the world, and it’s not acknowledging the possibility that the men of the future don’t have to be toxic if we act now.

      • lily of the Catty says:

        Mom of two sons here and I totally agree with/ get what you are saying.

    • otaku fairy... says:

      True. I think feminism should definitely include men and boys, but center women and girls.

    • Jamie says:

      It is frustrating, but I guess that’s how progress is made to a certain extent. It reminds me of the case that RBG took in the Felicity Jones movie about her life/work. The “women’s rights” case was actually about a man who was denied benefits that were only designated for women/mothers. She made a point to show that inequality among the sexes hurts both men and women.

    • Glor says:

      Yes Ann my reaction too, as an older woman I guess.
      There was such urgency about straightening out egregious actual *legally enshrined* injustices against women (in GB) 40+ years ago, that it pretty much had to take separate precedence imo. You absolutely had to aim your artillery where it would have immediate results for the greater number.
      That never obviated involvement in other battles (against racism, violence, privatisation of resources…far from it.) Maybe at the time it was taken for granted that feminists were of course on the side of social justice and enlightened progress in all respects. Nowadays that is not necessarily the case, and perhaps therefore younger women have to emphasise this.
      Annie Lennox, same age as meself, must have had a poignant moment on this panel, recalling how she was bashed badly and repeatedly for trying to articulate this position (not that I did a good job here) in heavy discussions slamming the intentions of white feminists. Very tricky terrain, and I’ve never doubted that Lennox was and is utterly devoted to broad-based progress.
      (Btw this comment hasn’t nothing to do with Meghan’s ethnicity whatsoever ….just a general observation)
      In other news….the British model next to Meghan, in the beret…..now that’s my idea of style! She’s so fabulous

  7. OriginalLala says:

    men should be feminists – but I’ve been so let down in the past by many of these so-called “feminist” men who are actually not at all woke. If men want to support us, be allies, etc thats great, but in my experience, many of these “allies” still want to experience the perks of the patriarchy and will attack women when they feel their male privileges being challenged..
    but maybe I just have been surrounded by jerks?

    do not #notallmen me….not today satan.

  8. Ebi pickles says:

    Depressing when the first comment about a discussion of the feminist way forward is a pearl clutching complaint about what Duchess Meg is wearing and how much leg she’s showing. We still have a lot of work to do.

  9. Aims says:

    I am a feminist. I’m also a mother to boys who have seen their mother be a leader in her life inside our home and outside our home. I have lived my life without restrictions and,hopefully been an example to them that a women’s place is wherever SHE choses to be. We have had extensive conversations about a women’s right to choice in all facets of her life. So I think the conversation with our boys should start from when they can understand that women are equals in everything. Men should be our allies. It starts with me and their father to start that mindset for them.

    • bonobochick says:


    • Ol' Miss says:

      Thank you for referring to men as our allies!! Above they were referred to as “our biggest opponents”. If women continue to think in an “us and them” mentality, we will be at war forever. Can’t we just consider all people equal regardless of gender, race, views etc? I believe that equality takes time, and more is learned by working with other groups…not declaring war. Peace people…

  10. Eliza says:

    Feminism, equality, can only occur if everyone is on board. So I agree with her statement.

    Feminism kicks of a fetus…? I don’t understand the statement, but maybe in context it made more sense.

  11. Salty says:

    It’s not policing a woman to mention that her dress might be too short. Imagine if it were Harry at the conference and he was wearing shorts, short shorts, and we could see all the way up his leg. If we discussed it would that mean we were policing his body. No. It’s fine to say we don’t agree with what someone wears it’s not policing

    • lisa says:

      Agreed. I work for a female executive who does frequent panels and we make sure on those days, her skirt is below the knees. Because the audience is BELOW you. Look at the picture of Meg with her legs crossed….the guy with the sandy hair in the front row is eye-level with her bits.

    • Silas Marner says:

      A man in shorts would be praised for being bold. Harry and William have both worn too tight or unstylish clothes and have been taken seriously.

  12. f says:

    sexist men don’t listen to women. these supposedly feminist men need to speak up for women

  13. Amy Too says:

    I think that when people push back against Emma or Meghan for their statements it might be bc they’re misunderstanding what’s being said. I can read Meghan’s quote, “we must be global feminists and include men and boys,” to mean “we must be global feminists (and fight for everyone to have equal opportunities) including men and boys,” or as “we must all be global feminists, and that includes men and boys.” It definitely means different things depending on how it’s interpreted. I think people who are reading/hearing it the first way, feel like people are telling them that their feminist push for equality can’t just be about women and that they need to think about THE MENZ because everyone has hardships, and they’re like “can’t we just have this one thing be about us without having men intrude on it!?” And we’re so used to hearing that and getting pushback and having men and boys intrude on everything that it’s easy to hear a sound bite about feminism including men and boys and read that intention into it. I feel like people could be more clear in how they express the idea that they think men and boys should be feminists, too. “Men and boys should be feminists, too,” is better than “feminism should also include men and boys.” The first sentence puts the onus on men and boys to do something: be feminists. The second sentence puts the onus on feminism to do something: include men and boys.

    • Sunnee says:

      I read it as “men and boys have to be trained as feminists and allies in the struggle.” As a mom of three boys ( and two girls) I used to despair over their apparent lack of feminism. But now that two sons are in their early twenties I am proud. They are feminists and allies of LGBTQ. They realize their privilege and when they make mistakes, I snd my daughters remind them. So yes, we are training our boys and men to be feminists.

      • Ader says:

        “men and boys have to be trained as feminists and allies in the struggle.” — This is how I heard it too.

        And, well, it is essential that men better understand the issues. Think of it this way: Who had to vote to grant suffrage to all women? A bunch of white men. Who needs to better understand implicit bias racism and how it infects society? Black and brown folks already understand it and live it; but nothing will change without white people doing the work to understand and change, too. Same applies here.

        It’s not that we “need” men; it’s that the current structure of our society / culture requires their participation to turn things around.

  14. Iknow says:

    I so agree with this! As parents, with all of the ideas of how to be a man, hurling at our boys, we have to teach them from young to be feminists. We have to raise our daughters to be strong, smart warriors. But we also have to teach our sons how to be good men. I have both a boy and girl. My boy was my first child and I made a promise to him that I would give him the tools to learn how to be a good man. Not just be a responsible “provider”, but how to have healthy relationships with women. When he got to a certain age, I noticed that he stopped talking to girls in school. I realized that he would ignore the girl he had a crush on. I had a talk with him and told him that his behavior wasn’t wasn’t acceptable. She was a person, not just an object of his affection. By not talking to her, he’s showing her that he doesn’t care about what she has to say or about what she thinks. I think being open and teaching him these lessons have helped him to form healthy relationships with girls. Now that he’s a teenager, and I have seen the way he’s handled certain situations – heartbreak and such – he’s always been respectful of the girls. As a mother, I’m most proud of that. My daughter is only 10, but she commands respect from her brother and the boys in her class. She demands nothing less from them and my son gives it willingly, knowing that being respectful of women, doesn’t take anything away from his manhood. A woman can be soft and still command respect and a man can be strong and still give respect.

  15. Lexa says:

    Is Meghan referencing the Lily Tomlin quote?

    “Feminism was like an unborn fetus in me, only for a long time I didn’t know I was pregnant. I would feel these little embryonic kicks of consciousness, flickerings of feminist feelings. But I stayed in labor for years.”

    I think she’s sort of twisted the original context to fit her current situation, but I appreciate what Meghan is trying to say.

  16. Veronica S. says:

    Feminism is about equality, but you’ll pardon me rolling my eyes every time I hear some variation of this quotation. I get what it’s trying to say, but as far as the society I live in goes, men still hold much of the power. Men are the ones making most of the decisions that harm other men lower down on the economic food chain. The term should include them, but they’re the ones who need to start including themselves in the process. The responsibility isn’t on feminism to improve the world. It’s on the backs of the privileged to stop hoarding their power.

  17. Digital Unicorn says:

    Am glad she is using her platform for this esp as just today a woman was convicted of FGM here in the U.K., the first time someone has ever been convicted of it here. A woman performed it herself on her 3 year old daughter. I guess it was fate that her sentencing was on this special day for women and girls. I would love Megs to team up with Cams on this one.

  18. jules says:

    Meghan is really shining at this talk. She is clearly in her element, knowledgeable and comfortable talking.

  19. Fluffy Princess says:

    Meghan is ramping up and just getting started. I bet after Polo baby is born, she gets right back to work in a couple of months–and then watch out. I predict that she and Harry will remain global megastars for quite awhile.

    She has made Harry an even better man. I think Harry works hard to earn and keep his wife’s approval and admiration. 😉 I wonder if one of the reasons that he Lurves Meghan so much, is maybe because for the first time, he is the center and focus of attention. She loves him, she values his opinion, she probably dotes on him–and for once, he’s not the “spare,” the “sidekick”, number two or shunted aside for whatever William wants/says/does. He is now #1 in Meghan’s life, soon to be Polo baby’s #1, and he might relish being in this position, and the reason for his “glow-up” when she is around.

    • Digital Unicorn says:

      ITA and I thinks it’s also because he has what he always wanted a family of his own with a woman who is his equal, not his doormat. None of Harry’s ex’s were doormat types. It seems their personality types compliment each other which is good to see.

      Yes she is def the type to be right back at work after the baby is a few months old.

      And I like the dress, she looks fab.

      • Fluffy Princess says:

        I think she looks fab too. She’s damned no matter what she wears, so she should wear what she wants.

        And yes, I think Harry loves having a real life partner. He’s never minded that Meghan is so popular, I think to him, it just affirms his choice.

  20. TheOriginalMia says:

    Unfortunately, we can’t do it on our own. We need men to be fellow feminists and allies. Nice speech, Meg. Love the dress. Very pretty.

  21. Herta says:

    The Duchess is storming ahead with a good example. The men and boys feel both tittillated and invited by the sight of Meghan’s generously exposed naked calves.

  22. sereneeirene says:

    Ups. She’s having a boy.