Meghan Markle helped change a sexist TV ad when she was just 11. Seriously.

You've probably heard a lot about actor and humanitarian Meghan Markle in the news lately.

Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images.

Because, yes, that's right — there's a royal wedding in the works!


On Nov. 27, Markle and Prince Harry announced their engagement, sparking a wave of media intrigue into Markle and her past.

Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images.

If her name didn't ring a bell when the engagement news broke earlier this week, here's the gist of her life in the public eye: She's most recognizable from her role as Rachel Zane on the USA Network series "Suits," which premiered in 2011 — and, more recently, for dating Prince Harry.

But she's also been a champion for women and human rights throughout the years, working as an advocate for the U.N.'s Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and becoming a global ambassador for World Vision Canada in 2016.

As it turns out, though, Markle's devotion to gender equality began long before fame came her way.

In an video unearthed by "Inside Edition," an 11-year-old Markle explains why rampant sexism in TV ads is so terrible.

The video, which was produced in 1993, features Markle and her classmates in a Los Angeles school discussing the implicit messages sent through various television commercials.

The ads they saw were promoting products like cleaning supplies, cough medicine, and dish soap. The commercials' scripts and the actors pushed the notion that the items advertised were for women to use for their families.

Markle wasn't having it.

GIF via "Inside Edition"/YouTube.

One ad in particular stood out to 11-year-old Markle: a commercial selling dishwashing liquid.

In the ad, the narrator explains: "Women are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Clear."

"I said, 'Wait a minute,'" Markle recalled. "How can somebody say that?'"

So she picked up a pencil and paper and wrote a letter to Procter & Gamble, the company behind the product, urging them to rethink the use of the word "women" in their ad.

After all, men can certainly clean up after themselves too.

GIF via "Inside Edition"/YouTube.

Sure enough, the company listened to Markle and the news coverage that came with it. Soon after, the script was changed to "people are fighting greasy pots and pans with Ivory Clear."

The experience left a lasting impress on Markle, who's continued to fight for what she believes to be right in the decades since.

"If you see something that you don't like or are offended by on television or any other place, write letters and send them to the right people," a young Markle explained in the video. "You can really make a difference — for not just yourself, but lots of other people."

Watch the segment on "Inside Edition" below:

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

Keep Reading Show less
Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less