If you're like me, fifty percent of your news is purely based on headlines and titles from major publications, the other fifty comes from word of mouth and the articles you take the time to read. So when I saw all the headlines entitled “Megxit” or generally pertaining to the royal family's semi-dramatic breakup, I was relieved and curious. Seeing Megxit in big bold letters is way less threatening than War In The Middle East, so naturally , I read one article, which turned into five, and was honestly confused by the catchy name that seemed to have taken flight. The breakup of the royal family stems from a variety of characters and issues some of which pertain to Megan Markle, but the fact of the matter is that she’s only part of a larger institution. So why is she getting all the hate for this royal departure? Honestly, that question compelled me to look up the origins of the name, where it started and how it became popular. So, let's break it down.
Megxit started as most things do on the internet, and because it started in group chats and expanded on broader platforms, it's safe to say it has at least some negative connotations tied to it. Megxit started as a call for Megan to step down from her royal duties and to cut ties with the entire royal family. The name exemplifies racist and sexist beliefs about the adequacy of her “mixing” with the British royals. The term Megxit has been used as a derogatory way to request that the royals didn’t mix blood, or invite someone of African American descent into the royal family. It was also used to call for her removal on the grounds that she was a woman of subpar morals, essentially calling her a “seductress” intent in leading the royal family astray.
The name was so commonly used on these types of platforms that it is undeniably inadequate that major publications are now using it with such ease and brevity. Sure, the name is catchy and falls in line with most major headline titles; it has a comedic edge to it and pokes at what some might see as a serious issue with sarcasm and cynisism, which I think we all enjoy reveling in every so often. The Royal break up has turned into a familial drama, a telenovela, a soap opera, and a worldwide sensation, and it all happened overnight. Our problems in the Middle East for a second seemed to disappear and for a second the scandals that generally plague our political field seem quailed in light of this grandiose news.
So, what does this coverage say about our country? Nothing we didn't know already, in fact, it seems to have confirmed a variety of things about our current society:
We love gossip. (Duh)
We don’t think about the messages we send out subliminally or overtly, if it's catchy, it's printed.
We don't have a worldly perspective, or we do and we don't want to face up to our current political climate.
When it comes down to it, Megxit was for me a welcome distraction from the scandal and political turmoil that surrounds the current presidency, so I get the appeal, but shouldn't it be the job of major publications to represent the most important news not the most appealing. The freedom of the press is amazing; it allows us to write about issues that might otherwise be filtered.
I believe that because we have that right, it means that the major publications should have to honor that to the fullest extent. Large publications shouldn't print the most tabloid-esque story, but rather the most impactful. If we want to read about the latest gossip, we can pick up a gossip magazine. I don't think most publications mean to publish a potentially racist and sexist header, I just think it was unconsciously done. The term “Megxit” was used to promote the exclusion of racial mixing, female social-political movement, and general snobbery.
It’s the responsibility of our news to represent what the majority of the American population needs to know to be well informed and active citizens. It should improve our worldly understanding and give varying perspectives on important topics. I am aware that the idea of importance is subjective and therefore it will vary from person to person, from publication to publication. So, I think that an article like this should be more intentional, if you're going to use the term Megxit you should have an understanding of what that implies, you should check whether it's an accurate representation of the material and whether it's warranted. The reclaiming of a name, title or phrase should be done consciously, and thoroughly. If you don't want the negative connotations to be tied with your work check the history, do your research and think twice before you follow along with a trend just because it's catchy and sardonic.