On Thursday’s taping of The View, Whoopi Goldberg rejected sentiments expressed by Meghan Markle on the most recent episode of her podcast, Archetypes.
Meghan opened up about her time on the game show Deal or No Deal, saying she disliked the feeling of being reduced to just her looks.
“I didn’t like feeling forced to be all looks and little substance,” Meghan said. “And that’s how it felt for me at the time, being reduced to this specific archetype: the word bimbo.”
She also described not being too happy about the message the game show sent young girls.
“Before the tapings of the show, all the girls would line up and there were different stations for having your lashes put on, or your extensions put in, or the padding in your bra. We were even given spray tan vouchers each week because there was a very cookie cutter idea of precisely what we should look like,” she said.
To me, this doesn’t sound like a bad time. You want me to get glammed up to go stand on a stage and open briefcases for Howie Mandel? And you want to pay me? Sign me up!
To be clear, I totally understand that this is not everyone’s idea of a fun time. I also understand how problematic it was for the show to only have one body type represented. But having spent a few years as a TV producer, the lashes, the spray tanning, the emphasis on looks, all of that is status quo, even for the women who do get to express their intellect – another thing Meghan touched on.
“I was surrounded by smart women on that stage with me. But that wasn’t the focus of why we were there. I would end up leaving with this pit in my stomach knowing that I was so much more than what was being objectified on the stage.”
If she’s admitting that the level of intellect of these women were not the focus of why they were there, I can’t help but wonder – what was she expecting? If the job description accurately reflected the role she was being hired for, is she within her right to have this retroactive ick?
There have been several scenarios where we learn, much after the fact, that women were treated horribly while on the job. In those cases, it makes sense for them to speak out months, even years after their employment. Take Playboy for example. Earlier this year I watched the miniseries Secrets of Playboy and got sick to my stomach at a few points hearing about the abuse women suffered at the hands of Hugh Hefner and the hundreds of men who spent time there. Men like Bill Cosby, who was found liable in the sexual assault against a teenager at the mansion. But according to other former Deal or No Deal castmates, the women were treated well.
Former “briefcase opening assistant” Claudia Jordan chimed in on Meghan’s comments after the podcast was released.
“Deal or No Deal never treated us like bimbos. We got so many opportunities because of that show,” Claudia said on her Instagram stories. And she’s right. She went on to appear on The Price is Right, Celebrity Apprentice and Real Housewives of Atlanta.
“For clarity – yes, getting a modelling gig on a game show isn’t necessarily about your intellect, but every show the executive producers picked five models with the most outgoing and fun personalities to place mics on, who they knew would engage with the contestants,” Claudia continued.
At the core of Meghan’s message, there seems to be a lot of projection. And Whoopi pointed that out.
“I don’t know if the people who are sitting there are thinking about you like that. They’re thinking: ‘I want the money’. The objectification might be coming from you and how you felt about how these women were being portrayed,” she said on the panel.
At many points in my life, I’ve leaned on my sex appeal to land gigs. I’m by no means some killer vixen and I could probably use a visit to the bra padding station they had at Deal or No Deal if you catch my drift. But I’ve been the cheery bartender. I’ve been paid to model mas and “mingle” with the patrons. I’ve been the server to go along with the lame jokes because I know you mean well and you’re a good tipper. Have I looked back at times and felt the same ick Meghan seems to be describing? Sure. But was it worthwhile for me? Absolutely. Can I see how Meghan, who literally married a prince and brushes shoulders with some of the richest and most powerful people in Hollywood and beyond, might look back and think I’m better than that? Also absolutely.
A lot of young women – young people in general, and as the economy turns to crap, people of all ages - find themselves in situations where they needed to make certain moves and accept certain jobs in order to make ends meet. For me, these stints are the reason I was able to pay off my massive student loan debt within six months of graduating university, so I can extend myself some grace for doing what I needed to while honouring my own comfort level and being able to sleep at night. And I hope someday, Meghan can extend herself that grace, too.
In the meantime, she has every right to express her feelings about her time on the show. But as Whoopi points out, she should get real about how much of that was on the audience and how much of it was on her for accepting a job she felt she was better than.