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Can We Talk About How Ridiculous Marie Claire Was Being About Meghan Markle’s Singular Grey Hair?


Apparently, Marie Claire thinks Meghan Markle’s grey hair (that’s right. Hair. As in singular.) is worth an entire post that confirms everything terrible about gendered beauty standards even as it purports to be “relateable.”

What’s hilarious is that, while the Marie Claire tweet screencapped above was deleted (after what was likely understandable backlash), the article remains in all its glory on the site. Its headline? “Meghan Markle Has a Single Gray Hair.” Yup, that’s it. That’s the story.

The subheader reads, “And it’s magnificent.” I guess that’s to let us know that it is indeed okay for women to have grey hairs, even if they are future royalty. Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally understand writer Sally Holmes’ impulse to be jazzed about seeing this. After all, Markle is gorgeous, a Hollywood actress, and about to become British royalty. She seems entirely too perfect, and so to see any signs of her being an actual mortal human being would be heartening to a lot of us. Privately.

My problem is that this was an impulse she then followed into an article for Marie Claire.

Holmes writes:

“Every few weeks I see a gray hair sprout up on my head, inevitably glinting proudly right on my part. It seems like the colorless ones grow faster and more determinedly than my non-gray hairs, but that’s besides the point—every time I see one, I think what do I do with you?

The options that come to mind are: Pluck that one pesky hair right off my head (even though I will never not be fearful of that old wives tale about five more growing back in its place), commit to dyeing my hair (but, for one or two grays?!?! Why bother?), or, just own it, because, hi, what’s the big deal?”

The thing is, it’s articles like this that create a culture that makes women paranoid every time they see a grey hair on their heads.

I get it. Marie Claire, in addition to articles about important issues facing women, also trades in the same beauty-industry garbage that far too many “women’s magazines” peddle. However, I guess I wanted to think that the magazine was above going full-tabloid and zeroing-in on a prominent woman’s one grey hair. Even though it’s being done to talk about how “normal” grey hairs are (and thus, how good it is that we can see that Markle has them), it shines a blinding spotlight on the fact that we look at women differently in the first place.

Men don’t tend to look at other men’s grey hairs for validation. No one is circling hairs on George Clooney’s head and being all Don’t worry, guys. It’s okay. Clooney  has grey hairs, too.

This Markle article is irksome, because it reinforces women being open about aging as a “revolutionary act.” The thing is…it isn’t. Or, it shouldn’t be. Yet, whenever we remark on it in a public platform, we reinforce the idea that it should be remarked upon. And nothing changes.

It’s one thing for a woman to allow herself to be photographed exactly as she is, with no touch-ups, make-up, or any other efforts to mask what her body is doing naturally. It’s quite another for a publication, a “women’s publication” at that, to point at her and say Wow. She’s so brave for leaving the house like that! That means I can be brave, too!

We shouldn’t be praising grey hairs on women as “magnificent.” We shouldn’t be talking about them at all. Where was Markle even being photographed that day?** Was she doing a charity event? Meeting up with her fiancee to do something important? I don’t know, because this piece chose to focus on a woman’s hair rather than her actions.

**Markle was visiting the Titanic Belfast maritime museum on March 23, 2018 in Belfast, Nothern Ireland with Prince Harry. In case you cared about things other than her having a grey hair.

(via Geek Girl Diva on Twitter, featured image: Andrew Parsons – Pool/Getty Images)

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