By Cortney O’Brien, featuring Julie Gunlock, director of the Center for Progress & Innovation at Independent Women’s Forum

Mothers and media analysts knocked Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle’s debut children’s book “The Bench” for serving to disrupt the traditional notion of fatherhood.

Markle told NPR in her first interview since her and husband Prince Harry’s sit-down with Oprah Winfrey in March that her book is dedicated to Harry and their first son Archie. She also said the book intentionally challenges the traditional view of masculinity and that she worked with illustrator Christian Robinson to depict a softer side of fatherhood that would “capture the warmth, joy, and comfort of the relationship between fathers and sons from all walks of life.”

“I wanted him to just try something a little bit new and work in watercolor,” Markle said. “And that was specifically because I just felt that when you talk about masculinity and you talk about fatherhood, it can often not come across with the same softness that I was really after for this book. And I just wanted this to feel almost ethereal and light and Christian was able to use that medium and create the most beautiful images.”

At least one of those non-traditional images of fatherhood include a father donning a pink tutu to match his son’s fashion sense.


Julie Gunlock, director of the Center for Progress & Innovation at Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative nonprofit, said she would have taken Markle’s message more seriously had she taken a different approach.

“If Meghan Markle really wanted to be provocative and challenge people’s views, she would push back on men who abandon their wives, partners, and children and reject the destructive narrative that tells boys and young men that their natural behaviors are inappropriate, toxic, dangerous, and in need of reform,” Gunlock said in a statement to Fox News. “Markle thinks she’s produced something new, but she’s done nothing original or even interesting. Masculine behaviors in boys and young men and traditional fatherhood aren’t the problem. What is a problem in this society is children growing up without fathers and boys being told they are inherently bad or damaged.”

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