DA federal council chairperson Helen Zille has again caused a stir on social media after commenting on a tweet criticising Meghan Markle for opening up about her miscarriage.
Meghan revealed she suffered a miscarriage in July this year, writing in The New York Times last Wednesday of the deep grief and loss she endured with her husband Prince Harry.
The Duchess of Sussex, who married the British prince in 2018, had the couple’s first child, Archie, the following year.
In the piece in The New York Times, she wrote that she had just changed her son’s diaper when she felt a sharp cramp and fell to the ground.
“I knew, as I clutched my firstborn child, that I was losing my second,” Markle wrote.
Writing of the “unbearable grief” of miscarrying, Markle said it was a conversation that remained “taboo, riddled with [unwarranted] shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning”.
Responding to the article, Spiked Online quoted its editor, Brendan O’Neill, as saying in an opinion piece: “Do we really need to know about Meghan Markle’s miscarriage? Some experiences, especially painful ones, should be kept private. The trend of emotional exhibitionism, where we’re all encouraged to publicise our pain, benefits nobody.”
Do we really need to know about Meghan Markle’s miscarriage? Some experiences, especially painful ones, should be kept private. The trend of emotional exhibitionism, where we’re all encouraged to publicise our pain, benefits nobody, says Brendan O’Neillhttps://t.co/SNtCqay6Aq
— spiked (@spikedonline) November 27, 2020
The opinion piece drew criticism from many, including Quillette’s founding editor, Claire Lehmann, who slammed the apparent British custom of criticising public figures who express vulnerability.
Am not the biggest fan of Markle, but the reflexive browbeating of any public figure who expresses vulnerability is a particularly British custom that I find intolerable https://t.co/nMPZ9XB5ja
— Claire Lehmann (@clairlemon) November 27, 2020
“It is very rare that I disagree with you, but this time I do. ‘Wokeness’ equates victimhood with virtue, and these public displays of suffering are intended to advance both. A bit of Stoicism is the real virtue that should be pursued,” responded Zille, who was quickly called to order by social media users.
It is very rare that I disagree with you, but this time I do. “Wokeness” equates victimhood with virtue, and these public displays of suffering are intended to advance both. A bit of Stoicism is the real virtue that should be pursued.
— Helen Zille (@helenzille) November 27, 2020
Zille, in her 2016 autobiography Not Without a Fight, wrote about her “private suffering” from postnatal depression, and Mbali Ntuli was quick to remind her.
“You’ve spoken about your postpartum, your rape, your anorexia. It was brave of you to do so and you gave a lot of women going through similar things a sense of feeling they were not alone. We need more kindness in the world not stoicism which keeps us from reaching to each other,” said Ntuli.
Additional reporting by AFP