In response to this Siren article: Margaret Thatcher: There Was No One Else.
Being grateful for the presence of a woman who actively rejected and attacked the concerns of the marginalised is being grateful for the crumbs from the master’s table. But we’re allowed to like things that are deeply problematic and the crumbs were all we could get.
Let me see if I can summarize this properly: “Margaret Thatcher was a wretched politician. GURL POWER.”
Really? In an age where – though imperfect – we do have strong feminist role models? Sure, we’re allowed to celebrate a woman whose politics and person shat all over social progress. You can celebrate whoever you want. The happy meal deal of being free means you can print little swastikas all over your bra and no one can make you burn it. I bet it’s cute.
But don’t mistake all powerful women for trailblazers. Some make damn sure not to leave a trail. As soon as Thatcher crossed that bridge, she set it on fire. Ain’t no room for you, gurl. By virtue of being a female misogynist*, she lent misogyny a lethal legitimacy. Because when a woman devalues women, she speaks with the counter-intuitive credibility of being a woman. And the fact that, in this fourth month of the year 2013, you’d still lick crumbs off the floor when you can have a whole granola bar?
Gurl. You can do what you want. But know that I am shaking my head – not at the sorry state of global nutrition, but at the sorry state of your personal diet. You should eat better. And you can.
* I’ve been asked, so should clarify: In Thatcher’s case, it’s really what she didn’t do that makes her misogynistic.
Thatcher is rather infamous for “pulling up the ladder behind her”, having done little to advance any woman other than herself. When pressed to respond, she claims that no other women have been qualified for top political positions. Given her decades in politics (11 years at the top) and the many ill-qualified men she promoted, it’s doubtful that she never encountered a good female candidate. So, what happened? Self-serving sleight-of-hand? Willful devaluation of women? Either way: Misogyny.
For reference, read this article.
I could go further, to discuss her well-documented disregard for Women’s Liberation and feminism. She filled her tank with the fuel of Women’s Lib, rode it to the top, then dropped it like a hot potato. But I don’t want to conflate anti-feminism with misogyny – after all, one could argue that second-wave feminists pushed agendas that excluded many women. I’ll give Thatcher benefit-of-the-doubt – maybe she didn’t hate the moral ideal of feminism so much as its execution during her years in the game.
But she devalued women. Her every statement about the strength and efficiency of women was a statement about herself – she could care less and think less of other women. And that’s misogynistic.