ZOMBIE THREAD ALERT: This thread hasn't been posted on for a while.

Who else is expecting a tidal wave of self-righteous misogyny?

(99 Posts)

Given how much left wing men, in particular, love having what they consider justification for a bit of woman-hating, they're all going to be going into overdrive for the next few days...

Also, given that it's twenty two years since she left office, behaving as though she is solely responsible for present day social problems seems a bit dim, really. She had a team of ministers behind and alongside her at the time. There have been two Labour governments in the intervening years.

NicholasTeakozy Mon 08-Apr-13 21:56:48

I always found it somewhat ironic that she hated feminism when it was feminism that allowed her to get where she did. I didn't hate Thatcher, I hated and still hate Thatcherism, which Camewrong and friends are carrying on now. I loathe him, at least Thatcher was honest, this government couldn't lie straight in bed.

I lived in Finchley during the 80s, she was my MP. She was greatly disliked and stopped making public appearances at local events because she used to get heckled and people chucked veg. at her.

I was listening to a prog. about Thatcher's legacy on Radio 4 this evening. Lots and lots of nearly dead old white blokes talking about how she was stubborn, headstrong and irrational, and used to HANDBAG people!! shock And she ruled by INSTINCT not intellect (obv.) and was more comfortable with domestic than foreign affairs (obv.) And how she always responded to MASCULINE CHARM, and how she couldn't work with (male, obv.) ministers if that Speshull Chemistry wasn't there and how she didn't do Normal Feminine stuff. And then Baroness Thomas came on to sneer about her 'masculine' dress sense.

Look, I disliked Thatch as much as any lefty feminist vegetarian lentil-weaving old hippy possibly could, but honestly, I had to throw a pan of roasted veg switch off the radio.

Darkesteyes Mon 08-Apr-13 22:14:07

I have no doubt you will find misogyny out there amongst the great unwashed, and faceybebo will be just the sort of place for it to appear, given the type of people who use it. But many, many people has strong opinions of her as PM, her policies and her legacy. One thing I have not heard any mention of though - what she was like as an MP, from her constituents.

No mysogyny in this thread thankfully. Some classism though!

Darkesteyes Mon 08-Apr-13 22:20:15

So upper and middle class men dont show mysogyny and hatred towards women do they?
So things like domestic abuse NEVER happen in middle class homes.

And i guess i must have dreamed David Camerons "calm down dear" comment.

faceybebo. Never heard of that one myself.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 08-Apr-13 22:27:36

She is on record as saying she despises feminists.

For me the feeling is mutual, I don't personally believe she did women any favours, do you really think we'll be having another woman pm in the foreseeable?

Lots of twaddle being talked about how Ted Heath and Thatcher and Major were examples of the new 'meritocracy' who broke the mould of the old Nasty Posh Boy Tory partyhmm Like that's REALLY lasted eh?

Thatcher could AFFORD to despise feminists because she did the classic anti-feminist thing - she married money. Denis was a very rich man who supported her political career. No doubt he saw it as a harmless hobby to start with (doing good works for the local conservatives) which kept her out of his hair! grin

moreyear Mon 08-Apr-13 23:01:44

Oh my goodness I don't post in this section, though I often read it but I came on here to start something today but I see it has already been done. Thank you SGB

How do people feel it is in anyway not misogynistic to post things like 'Ding dong the witch is dead'. The level of vitriol is undoubtedly more (especially from leftleaning MEN) because she is a woman who did not think as/or believe in the values that women are supposed to believe in.

She is trivialised, her intellect denigrated, her achievements mocked and patronised because her epistomological world view is one that women are not allowed to have. Even in this thread her behaviour has been heralded as worse because she was a woman, that she is loathed that little bit more because she is a woman. She is cast as 'other' because she did not stick to the rigidly defined political values it is acceptable for a woman to hold.

FairPhyllis Mon 08-Apr-13 23:38:11

Lapsed Denis didn't support her to "go around doing good works" - he funded her to train as a barrister ffs. By the time they married she'd already been the first female president of OUCA and stood in two parliamentary elections.

I think Denis fully supported her career from the word go, which is more than you could have said of most men in the 50s.

For the record I think that many of her policies were fundamentally wrong and did lasting damage to the structure of this country.

But there's something a bit icky about footage of (mostly) men, many of whom were born some years after she left office, leaping about and shouting abuse at someone who has had no political power for 20 years. It's a bit fucking primitive, for one thing.

snowshapes Mon 08-Apr-13 23:58:19

Wasn't Thatcherism a form of neoliberalism though, and neoliberalism pre-datedThatcher by a couple of decades and was supported by a range of industrialists, economists as well as other politicians. I remember the 1980s and she certainly inspired hatred, but the policies she carried out were not hers alone. Agree that the grave dancing is in bad taste, also agree it is misogynistic, but think it is appropriate to look at the legacy of Thatcherism for the country and at the decisions she made.

AlbertaCampion Tue 09-Apr-13 00:04:00

moreyear I think you have summed it up beautifully.

I keep seeing this "feminism is poison" quotation bandied about. I would really like to see it in context. Linky, anyone?

ThingsThatMakeYouGoHmmmmmmmmm Tue 09-Apr-13 01:03:18

I saw this quote on another thread.
"she betrayed her sex on behalf of her class"

Which class was that, then?

Dervel Tue 09-Apr-13 05:34:16

Interesting thread, but I'm not enjoying the marmite like quality of the media reports (you either loved her or hated her). I suspect the truth as with a lot of things does not lies at the extremes. At least not entirely.

She did inherit a godawful mess following the winter of discontent. Trade Union influence did need addressing as it was holding the country to ransom, with undemocratic practices. West German coal was being heavily subsidised by US money under dollar imperialism designed to ensure economies "our side" of the iron curtain flourished under capitalist democracies, and short of crippling the rest of our economy to subsidise British Coal, I'm not sure what else we could have done to save it.

That said I objected to her glorification of selfishness and acquisition to the exclusion of all else. In my view she was incredibly naive in thinking people's better nature would win out. You encourage a cult of the self, and selfishness is precisely what you get out.

As to her legacy through the lens of feminism, whilst she certainly didn't set out to champion the cause of women. Freezing child benefit did NOT help my own mother much at all (I come from a single parent family). As someone pointed out earlier without feminists she would never have gotten where she was, and wether she meant to be or not she is a symbol of a woman with the top political job in the country, and also holding onto it for 11 years.

She worked and succeeded in an environment that was (and still is sadly), dominated by men. She beat them at their own game with more ambition and force of will than any of her male contemporaries could muster. I am also a little sick and tired of hearing how people describe her as being more male than female. Ambition, forcefulness, competitiveness and leadership are not "male" traits, they happen to be a set of human qualities that when in found balanced with those traditionally viewed as "female" make a complete human being.

At some point we split them up assigned one set to men and one set to women, and then compounded our sin by utterly and comprehensively devaluing the set attributed to women in order to subjugate and oppress. Now we reap the whirlwind of an utterly unbalanced and sick society. When in actuality we not only need to be whole as individuals, but we need to make society whole as well.

LeBFG Tue 09-Apr-13 08:32:16

I was too young to have understood her policies and effects they had on communities at the time. But what has always struck me was how un-gendered she seemed. This in spite of the fact she came to power in what was still a pretty sexist time. I wonder how much of the current sex-based commentary is of our time now? i.e. how much of 80's media coverage centered on her sex?

I think it's clear she rejected feminists and they rejected her. She suceeded by being bloody good at her job and led through talent and respect so that gender was no longer an issue (at least that's how I remember it). I wish more women MPs in the UK fell into this category. However, she also suceeded by doing the job like a man (in a skirt) - what so many feminists seem to want to emulate. So I don't know really why feminists rejected her (other than perhaps feminism and lefties go hand in hand and they really just didn't like her politics?).

vesuvia Tue 09-Apr-13 15:07:01

AlbertaCampion wrote - "I keep seeing this "feminism is poison" quotation bandied about. I would really like to see it in context. Linky, anyone?"

I believe that the source of the Thatcher quotation (‘The feminists hate me, don’t they? And I don’t blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison.’) is a 2011 International Women's Day article on the alleged failure of feminism, written by Paul Johnson, in The Spectator. He used her comment to him as supporting evidence for his view that all the successful women he has known in politics have been anti-feminist.

www.spectator.co.uk/features/6766663/failure-of-the-feminists/

Blistory Tue 09-Apr-13 17:12:06

I think that the feminism that she rejected was of a very specific nature and her comments were of their time.

She recognised that women were disadvantaged and indeed in her quote about not anticipating a woman PM being appointed in her lifetime, she goes on to state that it’s because men are too prejudiced. She recognised that strong women were the backbone of society hence her comments 'If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman’. She didn’t respect weak women, but she didn’t respect weak men either.

She comments over and over in her autobiographies about how politics was very much a man’s world and a middle/upper class, white one very much dominated by the old boy’s network. If I remember correctly she wasn’t allowed into one of the male only areas of the House of Commons at the time and it frustrated her as this was where the real discussions were being had over a glass of port and cigar. Her way around it was to ensure that her voice was heard so she had lessons in how not to be ‘shrill’, how to use body language, dress, mannerisms etc.

She was an incredibly principled, hard working politician with a tremendous intellect and one who coped in a very isolated working world where she didn’t have to prove that she was worth any man; she had to prove that she was better in order to get any respect.
And it’s not just the public who are spouting sexist comments, many politicians, both domestic and abroad, refer to her by her looks, her sexiness, her mothering. There are references to her having ‘the eyes of Caligula but the mouth of Marilyn Munroe’. WTF ?

Many of her colleagues refer to her seductive charisma, so obviously it wasn’t her wit or intellect that won them around, they were seduced by her because heaven forbid that they may have been swayed by the words of a woman. A lot of quotes from male politicians who were of that era simply couldn’t admit that she was as good as one of them and that they respected her as a politician – her sex is referred to in almost every quote.

And no, I’ve never seen words as gendered or as emotive being used to describe male politicians as they are with Mrs Thatcher. Vile, evil, witch, bitch, murderer.

She was a hell of a woman if she single handedly changed the course of this country and international relations, for better or worse. Why is she held to a higher standard than anyone else ? Perhaps because she was a woman who didn’t know her place. And for that, and that alone, she’s a feminist icon for me.

Unami Tue 09-Apr-13 17:59:59

Sorry, Blistory but dismissing Thatcher's statements about feminism as "of their time" seems like nothing but wishful thinking to me.

Feminism or womens lib has a rich and varied history extending far beyond the specificities of 1980s gender politics. Being a woman and being singleminded about getting what you want does not mean that you are a feminist. For me, feminism is about safeguarding the rights, health and wellbeing of other women - not just about ensuring your own success.

Blistory Tue 09-Apr-13 18:14:10

I'm not dismissing them - I'm considering them in the context of when they were said and how they were said. It was one comment in a very long political career and I won't judge her for not setting herself up as an easy target.

It's very easy to look at things with hindsight and see it as a missed opportunity for a woman of power to have made a difference but that doesn't take into account the fact that she was in power at a time when there were other things more important to her political beliefs.

I can't see Thatcher as having gotten the generally favourable response back then that the Australian PM got when calling out sexism - it would simply have been another stick for her to be beaten with.

I also didn't call her a feminist - I said she was a feminist icon to me. My formative years were spent with a female PM in office - that was empowering to me, as was the fact that she was a strong woman being successful in a man's world. Her politics themselves are another matter but as a woman, she was a role model to me in terms of her abilities and her achievements.

Blistory Tue 09-Apr-13 18:29:40

Thinking about this some more, I don't see any male politicians being condemned for letting men down or any obligation on them to stick up for men just because they're men.

Margaret Thatcher gets vilified for betraying her sex, for not putting women's rights higher up on her political agenda, for adopting what are apparently masculine traits. She was a leader of a political party, there was only so much leeway that she had. Maybe she decided that to do otherwise would cost her the job and that the best way of advocating for women was to stay as PM and show that it could be done. Maybe it didn't cross her mind at all but either way, no one's calling out Obama for not having racism at the top of his agenda, no one's calling out Bush for what a crap example of a man he was and how he let down all American men.

She was a woman and is condemned for not being womanly, for not being a saint, for being masculine. A fair critique of her lifeswork does not need to involve her sex. By all means condemn her right wing policies but I don't see why she should be condemned more for being a right wing woman.

FasterStronger Tue 09-Apr-13 18:54:41

I completely agree Blistory.

the first women PM in the UK is an amazing achievement. politics was (is) an old boys club, across the political spectrum. and the unions were (are) just a different boys club.

while I do think she went power-crazy, she did more for equality than the rest of us ever will. its unlikely that we will ever have a PM who is a truly great person. too many compromises to be made climbing the greasy pole.

I want women to have equal power with men because I don't want us to be born into, and live our whole lives as, the second sex. but women who get power, will always fail if held to a higher standard than men. because that is why women are held to a higher standard - so whatever they do they can be criticised.

so she was good enough, despite her faults, to be a women who inspires me.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 09-Apr-13 19:04:45

There are some great posts on this thread - I agree with Blistory and Faster.

I don't think Thatcher did an awful lot for equality, but that's not really the point. She was no feminist, but her ability to get where she did in a man's world was inspirational to me personally because she had to fight so hard to do it. I might not like what she did with that power (mostly) but it took exceptional determination and drive.

LeBFG Tue 09-Apr-13 19:34:30

I find it refreshing that a political woman hasn't just been sidelined into 'wimmins ishoos'. One of links upthread says how MT had tried to push some women's policies early on in her career but had realised these were not getting her the sort of political respect she was after.

I also read how she stood up to the Labour MP's Common's heckling campaign where they chanted 'ditch the bitch' everytime she spoke - double shock.

Unami Tue 09-Apr-13 20:01:03

I simply don't think that "determination and drive" are worth respect or praise in themselves. There are a lot of world leaders who have shown considerable "determination and drive" all to the detriment of others. Those who seek power must be judged by what they seek to achieve with that power.

Unami Tue 09-Apr-13 20:10:21

:Blistory: I sort of agree with you when you say "By all means condemn her right wing policies but I don't see why she should be condemned more for being a right wing woman."

But I still don't see how she could be considered a feminist in any sense when she openly disavowed feminism and did very little for feminism as a collective cause on the level of policy. It's one thing to suggest that feminist policies might not have been very popular, but MT didn't really seem to care very much about whether her policies were popular. If you want to consider her a personal feminist icon while agreeing that she was not a feminist then that's up to you, of course, but it is a very strange position.

I find it interesting that in the press and on tv right now most of the commentary about the way in which her gender shaped her role are actually coming from her supporters...

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