I think it's fair to say that many women are familiar with the scrutiny that comes with being, simply, a woman existing in society. God forbid we appear in public with disheveled hair, or a less-than-fashionable outfit, or without smiling enough at strangers. And as someone who's going to marry into the British Royal family soon, Meghan Markle faces a level of scrutiny from the press and the public that I will never be able to comprehend as a mere commoner. But sometimes, if you ask me, the coverage of her appearance or what she's wearing or how she acted at an event is absolutely ridiculous. Such was the case when it was recently pointed out that Meghan Markle might have a gray hair, because can you even imagine a woman daring to do that? I kid, of course, and as it turns out, I'm not the only one who found the whole thing quite silly, because Twitter straight up dragged the "story" about the hair.
Here's the deal: Markle visited the Titanic Belfast maritime museum in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on March 23 with Prince Harry, according to The Mary Sue. And during that appearance, she possibly, maybe, might have had one gray hair. Early coverage included a headline that made a big deal out of her "single gray hair." And Twitter was... not pleased, to say the least.
In all fairness, at least one subtitle of one of those early pieces called the hair "magnificent." Interest did seem to be on how Markle chose to "own it," rather than try to pluck out the single hair, or dye it. But the "look at her gray hair!" focus frankly didn't have great optics on social media.
No matter what early coverage looked like, and whether people or outlets tried to clean up headlines and shift the perspective, the internet is forever, and the people of Twitter had already had their say.
The damage was done.
Even though Markle initially seemed to be getting praise for appearing in public with a gray hair, Twitter had a lot of feelings about it being noteworthy at all in the first place.
At the heart of all of this is the fact that anyone cares at all whether a woman has a gray hair. A lot of attention is paid to how public women like Markle age in the public eye. I mean, think of how many breathless articles there are about how a particular actress is aging "gracefully," or whether she's had work done to combat the ravages of time.
That's why Twitter's response to the uproar was so great. It says a lot about how people choose to react to coverage about women aging now, since society and media coverage has often been so bad about handling the subject in the past.
"Going gray" can still be a very emotional thing for women, and there have been plenty of articles about why women choose to do it or not in the past. It's kind of refreshing to see that this time around, people on Twitter did a collective shrug to the news that a future royal could ever deign to grow a gray hair and not be rid of it immediately, and even rose up in her defense when some people made a big deal of it.
It was honestly pretty awesome to see so many people defending Markle for something totally natural that happens to almost every living person. All of the supportive tweets, including the numerous ones that poked fun at the focus on her single, misbehaving piece of hair, truly made me have some faith in social media again. I guess it's not all Russian bots and corny advertising campaigns after all.