Margaret Thatcher - Feminist Icon?

(244 Posts)
OnlyANinja Mon 09-Jan-12 11:06:58

The Guardian asks a number of influential women (apparently) but I'd rather ask MNers.

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 11:09:06

Not a feminist icon, not an icon at all. An absolute disgrace in fact, who caused untold damage to this country and now can't remember any of it! Shame the rest of us can...

OnlyANinja Mon 09-Jan-12 11:10:56

and now can't remember any of it

Rather below-the-belt to refer to someone's illness like that IMO.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 11:10:58

No. She was no feminist. Therefore she's not a feminist icon.

bakingaddict Mon 09-Jan-12 11:22:47

Not sure about this one.....

Although from relatively humble beginnings she strived and suceeded in getting to the top of her profession in a very male dominated scion of society she did have some seemingly feminist attributes BUT she never set out to further the cause of womens' rights or champion women in the workplace so I dont think she is a feminist icon, maybe an accidental feminist icon. While I admire anybody who has the drive and determination to suceed in acheiving their goals, I dont admire any of her policies, principles or what she stood for.

I also think she would probably not see herself as a feminist icon or have any support for the feminist movement

ShatnersBassoon Mon 09-Jan-12 11:22:57

She wasn't a feminist. Here's a letter copied and pasted from the Guardian a couple of days ago, sent in by a woman who ran refuge for women escaping domestic violence in 1979:

• Margaret Thatcher became prime minister in 1979 (Fiend or feminist?, G2, 6 January). I was running my refuge in Chiswick. What, as the first woman prime minister would she do for victims of domestic violence, I asked. I got a letter back to say that Margaret Thatcher was not interested in women's issues. A feminist icon? I think not.

Shakey1500 Mon 09-Jan-12 11:25:28

LittleGnu that was seriously uncalled for.

OnlyANinja Mon 09-Jan-12 11:26:15

Interesting, I wonder who wrote that letter?

It's unlikely to be her personally. I wonder if at some point an advisor decided that in order to get to the top a woman couldn't be seen as being interested in "women's issues" or else she'd get sidelined.

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 11:26:59

Completely agree LittleGnu. I could think of a better title for the film about her than 'The Iron Lady'

And certainly she was no feminist.

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 11:32:03

Shakey500 Nothing is "uncalled for" when it comes to that woman, she wrecked countless lives, that was very "uncalled for".

Shakey1500 Mon 09-Jan-12 11:33:58

Mocking someone's debilitating illness is extremely low. There is no excuse.

OnlyANinja Mon 09-Jan-12 11:34:41

So, for example, you'd think it was OK to use racist language against Idi Amin? hmm

Stuck to insulting/complaining about things that she voluntarily did.

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 11:37:51

Shakey500 It's not "mocking" you idiot, it's stating a simple fact, namely that she now can't remember what she did. Look up "mocking" in the dictionary...

Shakey1500 Mon 09-Jan-12 11:37:56

If "nothing is uncalled for" then what? You's like to see her stoned in the streets? Is that ok? Hung from the rafters? How about that, is that acceptable?

Fair enough to despise someone for their politics, the descisions they made, the effects they had. But to glibly throw in a remark about someone's illness is disgusting.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 11:39:24

It is enough to attack her for her actions. It is not acceptable or necessary to mock the illness too.

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 11:39:39

OnlyANinja Stating that Thatcher can't remember what she did is a statement of fact, not an insult...blimey!!

SillyOldBear01 Mon 09-Jan-12 11:40:29

No, the reason my parents had to move hundreds of miles to raise me and my sis in an inbred shithole , because she closed most of the shipyards in the north east.

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 11:41:12

Shakey500, you clearly don't understand the word "mock". The same with IslaDoit. Buy a dictionary!!

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 09-Jan-12 11:44:51

Little Gnu, if mock doesn't suit try bad taste instead.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 11:45:32

LittleGnu do you have to be so rude? You made a joke at the expense of the woman's illness. You were called on it. A more grown up response would have been to reflect and maybe apologize. Insulting others in the way you have on this just makes you look unhinged and loses any valid points you might have been making.

Maybe you could apologise for being a bit off and join in the discussion? Alternatively if you feel unable to do that perhaps another thread or logging off and making a cup of tea might be better ideas?

AlleycatD Mon 09-Jan-12 11:45:51

Feminist icon? I don't think so!! confused

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 11:46:32

No mock was correct <thumbs dictionary>

Shakey1500 Mon 09-Jan-12 11:47:15

I have a dictionary thank you. I do not appreciate being called an idiot. It is not just I that thinks you were unacceptable. You made light (is that better?) of someone's illness. Not on.

FWIW I disagree with many of the descisions she made regarding his country and I do not think she is a feminist icon. I do think, however, that she was an individual with a very strong personality, who could command attention and had courage of conviction (whether those convictions were right or wrong)

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 11:49:11

IslaDoit I'm not entering into a long debate with people who don't understand the word "mock". The point was perfectly valid, she was a despicable woman who now can't recall any of what she did. I wish she could!

EnjoyResponsibly Mon 09-Jan-12 11:49:49

I don't think that Mrs Thatcher could be called either a feminist or feminist icon.

I was 10 when she was elected.

My belief is that a woman can reach the top through hard work and determination.

A woman can lead.

A woman can be just as good, if not better, than a man.

There are many women I admire, but I can tell you that these are facts I learned from directly from Mrs Thatchers influence.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 11:50:44

<buffs English degree>

<resists temptation to point out one would look up "mock" not "mocking" because the verb is "to mock">

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 12:08:53

IslaDoit In a comprehensive dictionary, you can look up either "mock" or "mocking". I used the word "mocking" as that was the word used. But if you really need to look that word up, this is all rather irrelevant. But carry on making yourself look a fool by all means...

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 12:16:08

LittleGnu I've said everything to you that I want to already. Perhaps re-read my and the other posts because you don't seem to be understanding it is you who looks a fool flinging around your insults.

LittleGnu Mon 09-Jan-12 12:18:24

re-read my and the other posts

That about sums you up...

thunderboltsandlightning Mon 09-Jan-12 12:19:24

Not a feminist icon, but definitely a female icon.

She benefitted from feminism, being the right person at the right time. Ten years later or ten years earlier she wouldn't have been able to do what she did. The women's movement offered an opening of possibilities for women at that moment that hasn't quite been repeated, although women are still making great inroads. She would also probably never be able to admit to that - she had to imagine that she did it on her own.

She also demonstrated in a very concrete way that women could be leaders, women could make decisions, and that women were competent. Something that sexists had been disputing for centuries.

One feminist thing she did was put pressure on the police investigating the Yorkshire Ripper case because she thought they weren't taking it seriously enough because the victims were prostituted women.

It's not possible to write her off completely.

witchwithallthetrimmings Mon 09-Jan-12 12:24:13

two points, she was no feminist but the pure fact of her being a woman must have changed people's views of gender roles.
I did see quite a bit of mysogyny on the left though in the attacks on her. It appeared that her crime was being a strong and strident women as well as dissmantling the welfare state

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 12:30:01

I would agree with that witch. I do think she gets treated extra harshly because she is a woman.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 09-Jan-12 12:45:35

I'd cite her as an iconic woman and I'd put her in the same bracket as Barbara Castle and Shirley Williams ie. women that got to the top of politics at a time when it was even more male dominated than it is now. I'm old enough to remember how dismal the UK was in the early/mid seventies and what a breath of fresh air it was to have someone in the top job that wasn't some identikit ageing, white male. She didn't push an overtly feminist agenda - with the country being so far in the shit maybe she had bigger priorities at the time? - but I don't think that stopped her being an inspiration to other women. Same as Obama in the US at the moment might not be pushing the black agenda as much as some would like but who is still, by his sheer presence, an inspiration to black Americans.

I think a lot of the criticism levelled at the Thatcher government has a misogynistic element. She famously ran rings around men and they are still smarting about it. All political careers end in failure and Mrs T certanly fell victim to hubris and an over-reliance on ideology in the end, but I think a lot of nastier comments simply wouldn't apply if it had been 'Mr Thatcher' in power.

Will they be making 'John Major: The Movie' or 'Tony Blair: The Iron Man' in a few years' time?..... Says it all.

Chandon Mon 09-Jan-12 12:53:52

agree with thunderbolts!

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Mon 09-Jan-12 13:00:54

Well I couldn't stand the woman myself but I think you could be a feminist icon without being a feminist yourself - isn't Judy Garland a 'gay icon' for example?
I think the film might make some Americans and younger Brits think 'wow what a strong woman, pioneer in a man's world, etc etc) but those who know more about her record and attitudes to feminism probably aren't going to change their minds.

LieInsAreRarerThanTigers Mon 09-Jan-12 13:03:00

Cogito I think they could well make a Tony Blair movie. They have already done a TV drama. He wasn't our first male PM but he was the youngest (wasn't he?)

TheBreadstick Mon 09-Jan-12 13:08:11

I don't think she was a feminist icon. Policies aside, she never promoted one woman to her cabinet.

I think the 'right to buy' for Council tenants was about the only good thing she ever did, but failed to follow up the offer with building more affordable/social housing stock to replace that which was bought.

onelittlefish Mon 09-Jan-12 13:08:32

Not one to comment on feminism usually, however, how can anyone dispute the fact that she is a feminist icon? She made it to the top in a time when there were hardly any women in politics - I am sure she contributed a lot to women saying "I can do this", I can make it" even if you don't agree with with the politics or what she did.

Also I agree with shakey - she has Alzheimers and is really sick. It is an illness I would not wish on my worst enemy (I have seen loads of people with it) so I strongly resent people using it to suggest how convenient it is that she can't recall her decisions.

WinkyWinkola Mon 09-Jan-12 13:11:27

I think as a woman to get as high as she did, she did amazingly.

She did nothing to help other women though. I cannot think of any policies.

Pity her having Alzheimer's as I do anyone.

Maybe she didn't promote women because the men were better qualified or no women applied.
Just a thought!

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 13:21:31

Those of us who were adults in the 70s, working and trying to run businesses have memories of what the 70s were like under Conservative Heath "the 3 day week" and then Labour Callaghan - Britain going cap in hand to the IMF for funds to bail us out - we were the Greece of the 70s. We were "the sick man of Europe", Jim Callaghan "crisis, what crisis?" millions of days lost through strikes, many of them wildcat, the "winter of discontent". Britain going down the toilet so fast with the Labour government completely impotent when it tried to do anything about it.

That is what brought Thatcher in - the need for tough decisions if Britain was not to sink into a morass of strikes and debt. So, yes, massive suffering via the mines, the shipyards etc. and of course there is ongoing hatred for the person who is seen as a destroyer by those who saw their livings destroyed. And misogyny too - the fact that a woman was tough enough to do what was absolutely necessary to rescue Britain from bankruptcy while the previous weak male PMs had presided over failure, didn't go down well.

As for the apparent "not interested in women's issues". It was clear why. She had the whole country to think about - the big picture. And if the economy goes down the tubes everyone, including women, suffer. A PM's job is to be PM for all - not any one class, sex or group.

She won't be seen as a feminist icon because she was not of the left. But she should be because she showed that women can succeed without special pleading, special status and tokenism.

SinisterBuggyMonth Mon 09-Jan-12 13:44:39

Does anyone remember her on Swap Shop? Setting a blinding example by saying she believed women "should remain at home with the children".

Just being female and in the public eye does not by default make you a feminist. If anything she was anti-feminist.

grumblinalong Mon 09-Jan-12 13:59:19

Thatcher as a feminist icon?

hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. Ahem...sorry whilst I pick myself up off the floor in hysterics.

This is the woman who did the washing up at one of her vote gathering staged media hyping events so as to ingratiate herself with women voters and show she was a 'real' woman. I mean wtf? Washing up promotion being a vote decider hmm. I know it was the 70's/80's but even then surely most women would have seen right through it.

An alpha female with determination and steel resolve maybe, feminist no.

ProfessorSunny Mon 09-Jan-12 14:10:24

What enjoyresponsibly said was spot on IMO. Regardless of my personal opinion of the woman, she did that at least.

I don't agree with a lot of what she did, however she was a strong leader for this country and she did what she thought was right rather than what she thought was always going to be popular.

I'd rather have her than an apathetic bunch of loonies who can't agree anything.

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 09-Jan-12 14:11:08

I saw the film on Friday and didn't recognise the Thatcher I remember from their sympathetic portrayal. She set back feminism for years due to her policies. Who would ever let a woman be in charge of anything if she had to be like Thatcher? I came out of the film thinking, stab, stab, stab! blush

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 14:16:27

Who would ever let a woman be in charge of anything if she had to be like Thatcher?

That's falling into a misogynistic trap. You might as well say "Who would ever let a man be in charge of anything if he had to be like Blair, Brown, Cameron etc."

EllenJaneisnotmyname Mon 09-Jan-12 14:26:15

No, sports. She was the first female Prime Minister. She was shite. The two should not be connected, but in any undecided mysogynistic mind they are likely to be. I hated her for failing women. I wanted the first female Prime Minister to be bloody marvellous, much like I want Barak Obama to be bloody marvellous.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 14:27:17

Maybe she didn't promote women because the men were better qualified or no women applied.

This raises several feminist issues. If there were no women applying or who were qualified when they make up 51% of the UK population then that begs the question why?

And once you get into the why (institutional sexism and a patriarchal society), then the next logical step for a feminist in a position of power is to try to fix that problem. Thatcher didn't do that. Therefore she is not a feminist because she did not display feminist ethics or introduce feminist policy.

Margaret Thatcher was an individualist and interested in advancing the aims and ambitions of Margaret Thatcher, not women.

vixsatis Mon 09-Jan-12 14:28:37

She wasn't a feminist; but the fact of her being Prime Minister was important. It became conceivable to men that a woman could do a "man's job" as well as a man and without "allowances" being made. She would not have been allowed to get to where she was if she had seen to be interested in "women's issues"

Women are now allowed into men's worlds and to participate in men's activities and environments to a much greater extent than in 1979 and that is to some extent due to the fact of her existence and achievement.

Whilst we are allowed to participate in the male world now; and that world is increasingly and erroneously seen as "gender neutral" we are a long way from men having any respect for what have traditionally been female or feminine activities/ways of thinking/concerns. The feminine is still seen as something to be belittled and dismissed. She did nothing to assist with this; but would have been well ahead of her time if she had.

ComposHat Mon 09-Jan-12 14:33:22

Thatcher a feminist icon? Daftest thing I've heard in a long time. As numerous posters have pointed out, she had no interest in gender issues and the policies of her government were by accident or design, deeply damaging for other women.

Don't buy the Rags to Riches bollocks either, he father was a local bigwig who owned a couple of Grocery stores, Mayor of Grantham, Magistrate, Chair of the Rotary etc.

She was also married to a millionaire who supported her during her countless attempts to get adopted as an MP and qualify as a Lawyer. Nothing wrong with that per se, but she seemed hell bent on denying similar opportunities to women who hadn't the fortune to have married someone fabulously wealthy.

That said, I would be delighted to pay for a state funeral for Thatcher - just so long as she is buried alive.

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 14:33:24

I agree Ellen about misogynistic men. So why did you connect them and put yourself into a misogynistic mind trap when you said "Who would ever let a woman be in charge of anything if she had to be like Thatcher"? Feminists should never ever make that connection. It's playing into misogyny.

You thought she was shite. Fair enough. A lot of people didn't. And why should a woman be held to different standards than a man e.g. why should the first female PM have to be bloody marvellous.

Women will ever only be equal when they are allowed to fail without someone drawing attention to the fact they are women.

Agree with thunder that she was a female icon. I also thought she enabled women to be in charge of their own finances i.e. allowed us to have mortgages/own bank accounts etc without having to have a male signatory. I may be off with my timing though, I was only 8 when she came into power.

But I don't think she was a feminist icon. She didn't have an agenda for women, she just wanted to show she could be as ruthless and agressive as the men. (well I am sure that wasn't all she wanted to achieve but you know what I mean).

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 14:43:33

There is so much visceral hatred against Thatcher on this thread. I wonder if those who hate her so much would have hated her to the same degree if she had been a man. Truthfully?

And if you do hate her more because she was a woman are you not falling into the trap of double standards - something feminists condemn utterly when it comes to other issues such as sexual behaviour (for example)?

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 09-Jan-12 14:44:50

To be fair, she never campaigned on a feminist platform, just a conservative one. She was ruthless and self-serving in the way successful male politicians are ruthless and self-serving. Ironically, the thing that was truly revolutionary about her in Tory terms, and which they had most trouble dealing with by all accounts, was that she was 'common' . Grammar school educated and a chemist by training rather than being from the usual old boys' club. So the washing up stunt may be about as anti-feminist as you can get but her trump card was that she could claim - more than public school educated Labour leader Michael Foot - to be ordinary. Her ideology was also strong on personal independence and I think, even though that's not specifically feminist, women value that quality having had it denied for so long.

yellowraincoat Mon 09-Jan-12 14:47:04

I hate her for destroying the working classes, doing away with social housing and generally being a grade A tosspot.

Think people hate her because she was a memorable figure, sports. Most influential PM in our lifetimes, I'd say.

I agree sportsfanatic. Yes she certainly wasn't my cup of tea politically but she has attracted more vitriol than any male PM, many of whom have fucked up royally. Blair took us to war for now, nearly a decade on a lie ffs.

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 14:47:12

HandDived. That predated Thatcher - mid 70s.

tiredemma Mon 09-Jan-12 14:47:15

'That said, I would be delighted to pay for a state funeral for Thatcher - just so long as she is buried alive'

Brilliant. I might get this quote put on a Tshirt.

mrsjay Mon 09-Jan-12 14:50:23

She isnt an icon never mind a feminist one , she was a terrible horrible woman who destroyed this country and seemed to have adistaste for scotland , and the thought of her being put on film as some sort of martyr makes me feel a bit ill ,

Thought it might be as I wrote it, sports!

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 14:53:10

I agree HandDived. Blair doesn't get the same amount of hate despite being a self-serving, lying toad, City sycophant, who did the square root of zero to help Labour's supposed natural supporters i.e. ordinary working people and those with less. Brown doesn't attract the same amount of hate despite raiding our pensions, spending money we don't have and selling off our gold at the bottom of the market to release cash to win votes over improving the NHS.

And you have to wonder why it's Thatcher that gets all the vitriol. It's 'cos she's a woman innit?

mrsbaldwin Mon 09-Jan-12 14:56:06

This is a question I haven't thought about since 1989. But I went to see the film at the weekend so it brought it to mind again.

I think a feminist is someone who consciously sets out to help improve women's lives in big or small ways.

So in that sense Margaret Thatcher not one. (Although I didn't know about the example re prostitutes and Yorkshire Ripper investigation someone mentions).

However like another poster on the thread I was about 10 when she came to power. If you were an ambitious lower middle class teenager like me I think she certainly represented something to aspire to in the 'woman in a top job' sense.

On the various 'Thatcher the wrecker' views on the thread: I was interested that the film (which I hated BTW) made her fallings-out with the rest of the Cabinet more about her authoritarian personal style (as opposed to consensus-decision making that had driven previous Govts), rather than about differences of opinion re politics (although the two are related).

And on the film: although I'm not a Tory I hated the film for quite a lot of reasons, not least the dementia angle which I thought was a pretty cheap way of dealing with the Thatcher legacy. Dementia aside, you could have made that film about any head of state or political leader anywhere in the world at the end of their life, IMO. How about a 'regrets, I've had a few' 80s trilogy - next up Arthur Scargill, then General Galtieri for a grand finale.

So, feminist icon, no. A kind of inspiration for some (whether or not they liked her policies), yes. Film, 1 out of 5 (maybe bumping it up to a 2 for good performances from the Carol Thatcher actress and Jim Broadbent as Dennis).

Did anyone whose seen the film really like it (or is that another thread)?

CheerfulYank Mon 09-Jan-12 14:56:27

I really don't know anything about her beyond who she was. blush Anyone care to fill me in on a few salient points?

mrsbaldwin Mon 09-Jan-12 14:57:52

Oh yes and I also agree with everyone who says she attracts more than her share of vitriol for being a woman.

grumblinalong Mon 09-Jan-12 15:01:23

sports 'There is so much visceral hatred against Thatcher on this thread. I wonder if those who hate her so much would have hated her to the same degree if she had been a man. Truthfully? '

Truthfully? Yes. I hate all ruthless, self serving autocrats who pull apart working, fair systems in order to pursue their own ideology, regardless of their gender. I hate Cameron et al for picking apart and quashing child poverty action schemes and the Every Child Matters agenda. Not because he's male but because of his actions.

People judge leaders on what they do for/to their country. It is belittling, patronising and simplistic to suggest people on this thread hate her because she is a woman.

secretary Mon 09-Jan-12 15:01:27

I don't regard her as a feminist icon, because she didn't stand for feminism at all.

I am glad to have grown up in an era where a female PM was the norm - Mrs Baldwin, yes good to see a woman in the top job...just a shame she was so shit.

I liked some of the comments on that article... 'was she really made of iron? we ask an iron monger'.

Also 'it's been classified PG - unsuitable for miners'


lostlilly Mon 09-Jan-12 15:01:52

back to the original question...I don't think she is an icon, she did alot of damage and there are still consequences of that now. Her attitude and contempt towards margins of our society bred a very greedy, ruthless and selfish minority that have basically led us to the situation we are in now.

yellowraincoat Mon 09-Jan-12 15:03:11

I think the difference in this country before and after her time as PM is massive, much more obvious than the difference made by Blair or Brown. Yes, we all have more money, but it has cost us so much.

lostlilly Mon 09-Jan-12 15:08:42

we have lost of 'society' and as smaller communites we try and create what has been lost but essentially we are just an island filled with materialism, competition, hatred, resentment and fear. In the last few weeks over the christmas and new year period so many people have either been killed or killed themselves, we have massive debt and racism issues and our youth don't know which way to turn for the best..........Im ashamed of this countyr at the moment

geekette Mon 09-Jan-12 15:12:27

She is not your typical MNetter feminist, no, but I think she is one of the top feminist icons ever. Without banging on about it, she taught women (and the masses in general) to just get on with it.

Her politics may be questionable but she had a mind and wasn't afraid to use it and get other people to use theirs.

higgle Mon 09-Jan-12 15:16:19

Mrs Thatcher didn't believe in "society" so is unlikely to want to be labelled "Feminist Icon". Whatever you want to call her I believe she is a worthy Hero(ine). She rose to the top from a modest background.

She insisted on "business as usual" after the Brighton bombing - if you look at the footage of her the following day her composure and strength of character is mind blowing - can't imagine any of the current lot of politicians in any party being so strong.

She didn't hesitate when it came to supporting the residents of The Falklands.

She didn't ask for favours or concessions due to her sex, and was honest with her expenses to the point of wanting to use her own surplus domestic crockery at Downing Street.

She extolled the virtues of standing on your own two feet and not expcting hand-outs.

She was extremely detrermined!

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 09-Jan-12 15:41:36

On the often repeated accusation of destroying the working classes or communities. I think that depended on location. If, as I was, your town was overly dependent on an industry producing products available elsewhere in the world much cheaper, and if all that was artifically preventing that industry from going bust was vast amounts of public cash, when the cash ran out (which it did spectacularly in the late 1970's) the writing was on the wall, whoever was in charge. As investor Warren Buffet puts it...."when the tide goes out, you can see who's been swimming naked". The mines, the shipyards, the car plants, the steel mills etc. were 'swimming naked'. The mistake made in hindsight was to trust recovery to market forces and not intervene enough to replace the dying industries with new ones.

ppeatfruit Mon 09-Jan-12 15:45:42

I certainly would have disliked her policies if she had been a man for these reasons;
a. she mindlessly created more class hatred than ever in our society.(she is quoted as wanting to put the working class back in their place) shock


c. Closed down our home grown industries and opened the way for them and any other industry\service to be globally run

d. Did nothing for the environment at all.

Shakey1500 Mon 09-Jan-12 16:00:51

I'm truly aghast and saddened at the comments, directed in a disparaging way, about her illness and about being "buried alive".

Seriously? Dear me...

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 09-Jan-12 16:09:06

"Anyone care to fill me in on a few salient points?"

'Thatcherism', as it was later coined, was all about a small state. It demanded personal responsibility over state dependence, private industry/services rather than state-owned industry/services, companies run by management rather than unions, industries deregulated rather than monopolised, wider home-ownership and share ownership, lower personal taxation, a smaller public sector and an all-abiding belief that, if government steps back from every aspect of life 'the market' will step in fill the gaps. It's, by definition, a 'winners and losers' agenda which creates inequalities. Hence why opinion is so polarised.

It was a complete turnaround from the 'big state' ethos that governed in the 1970's and which turned out to be badly equipped to adapt to the challenges presented by a global oil crisis, high inflation and the advances in technology that were leaving us behind. So much of what we took for granted was built on sand and the economy by 1979 was in such poor shape that, rather like many European countries are experiencing today, we'd been largely written off & spending our way out of the problem was not possible.

duckdodgers Mon 09-Jan-12 16:14:51

The Conservative Party in Scotland have never recovered from her legacy. She used Scotland as a guineau pig for the Community Charge (Poll Tax) by introducing it here a year earlier than England and Wales, simply because she could. At the moment there is 1 Tory MP here - and that is 1 too many. She is hated in Scotland because of her policies and what she did, and I agree with grumbling and find it patronising that anyone could believe she is ahtyed just because shes a woman.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 09-Jan-12 16:15:12

There's a sexist stereotype that says women should be more 'caring' than men. By that measure, Thatcher wasn't just a ruthless, determined conviction politician, she was 'unnatural'. I think that lies behind a lot of the Thatcher hatred: the fact that she didn't bother playing 'nicey nicey' in an appealing feminine way.

Whether or not you like her policies, the fact that she steamrollered right over sexist stereotypes like that makes her admirable from a feminist perspective in my view.

duckdodgers Mon 09-Jan-12 16:15:31

ahtyed? hated even grin

ppeatfruit Mon 09-Jan-12 16:21:29

Cogito She deregulated the banks!!!!! since when is our country in such a good way? Great for bloated rich companies who avoid tax and the bankers yes!!

I don't think the highly nationalised companies were much cop but I certainly don't think the privatisation and semi- privatisation esp. of the N.H.S. that has gone on is any better.

ppeatfruit Mon 09-Jan-12 16:33:30

Another important point that is being ignored is her terrible snobbishness she looked down on people who travel by bus thus giving carte blanche to the lovers of congestion and car owners who reckon they rule the roost.

OTheHugeManatee Mon 09-Jan-12 16:42:24

Yes, but what does car use or snobbery have to do with feminism? Or do women have to be sainted, unimpeachable human beings in every possible way before we will deign to call them icons? hmm

OhdearNigel Mon 09-Jan-12 16:52:20

Margaret Thatcher was an individualist and interested in advancing the aims and ambitions of Margaret Thatcher, not women

Why is this anti-feminist ? How many high profile men go around working for the good of "men in general" ? Men are allowed to be individualists without it being perceived as a character flaw.

I think she is one of the great feminist icons. She was not defined by her "femininity" and is judged in exactly the same way a male Prime Minister was. Whatever you think of her policies and how it affected you, she brought no female agenda to that table. Saying that she was no feminist because she did not concentrate on "wimmin's issues" is surely one of the most antifemininist ideas possible

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 17:21:21

My dislike of her is not because she's a woman but rather because she had not s humanitarian bone in her body, she had a disgusting, bigoted attitude and was basically, a fascist.

YNK Mon 09-Jan-12 17:30:57

ppeatfruit - YES! that is a FACT, conveniently overlooked at the moment! Pfff, feminist icon, my fat arse!!! She was all for the boys, so busy brown nosing Ronald Reagan and the banks and between them they have created the situation we are in now by allowing the deregulation of the banking industry!!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 09-Jan-12 17:31:01

"Cogito She deregulated the banks!!!!! since when is our country in such a good way?"

The Blair/Brown government were quite happy to use the money generated by the deregulated financial sector to finance their lavish spending plans of the last 15 years. We all benefited, now we all pay. If anything is to blame, it's not deregulation per se it's the collective mismanagement and misunderstanding of what unfettered deregulation meant in practice. I have a feeling that even those allegedly running the banks - rather as Barings Bank and Societe Generale discovered separately - didn't understand how dicey their practices were until it was too late.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 17:37:01

I think there is confusion about femininity, being a woman and being a feminist. The first is a social construct. The sex a biological classification and the third a term used to describe those who subscribe to a particular ideology about the advancement of women and equality for women.

You can be either or both of the first two and not be the third just as one can be a man and male and a feminist. MT did not agree with or support the ideology. Ergo she was not a feminist.

Does that help explain further how I believe she was not a feminist OhdearNigel?

GeorgeT Mon 09-Jan-12 17:38:20

Feminist Icon, you have to be joking. she adopted a masculine style, didn't do women's issues. Yes she was a grocer's daughter but she benefitted from her husband's wealth and while some good was done, her legacy was atrocious. no society.... Even David Cameron has reneged on that. if someone compared me to Thatcher I would be appalled but that may say more about me than her.

YNK Mon 09-Jan-12 17:43:44

Cogito, the banks had carte blanche after deregulation to look the other way and insure themselves against the losses created by offering all these loans so that they didn't suffer. On the contrary so long as the loans were taken up their big obcene bonuses rolled in....leaving the mess we are all paying for now!!!
This is the legacy left by Maggie and Ron! Disgusting behaviour.

sportsfanatic Mon 09-Jan-12 17:48:02

grumblin I'm sorry if you think I am patronising, belittling and simplistic by suggesting people on this thread hate her because she was a woman, though actually what I indicated was that it was the level of visceral hatred, not hatred per se.

This country has been damaged just as much by the Brown/Blair duo with their warmongering, economic ineptitude, and collusion with the bankers - but I repeat - they do not seem to attract the same level of vitriol as Thatcher.

I stand by my view that she attracted extra opprobrium because she did not turn out to fit the stereotype of woman as caring, sharing and compassionate but was someone who saw what had to be done and got on and did it.

But then I admit I may be biased as someone whose own business was nearly bankrupted in the 70s by knock on effects of irresponsible union action and a pathetic Government who hadn't got the backbone to deal with the situation.

mammanetta Mon 09-Jan-12 17:58:30

power-crazy control freak - yes.
not the same thing at all smile

mammanetta Mon 09-Jan-12 17:59:43

well put GeorgeT btw

LineRunner Mon 09-Jan-12 18:06:44

I remember the benefit gig for the miners' strike in Newcastle - Department S, the Poison Girls and a colliery brass band.

Thatcher's destruction of the mining communities was ... spiteful.

I don't use that word about her because she is female. Cameron is spiteful, too.

JustHecate Mon 09-Jan-12 18:09:49

There is a feminist issue here, I think.

We have had some godAWFUL prime ministers. Some have really done shitty things. We have all been screwed by many of them, in one way or another.

Yet none are remembered with such hatred as her. If she had been a man, would this have been true? Loathed on a personal level? Name me another prime minister who is hated as a person by so many. Yet they have all done their share of truly shitty things. Do we even remember them as we do hers?

I lived through the strike. My dad stuck it out till the end. We really suffered under that government. I have never and will never vote Tory. I think her government did some terrible things and we're still suffering now because of them. But I do believe that she would not be as hated on a personal level as she is if she was a man.

I have no evidence to support this theory grin none at all. My gut just says it's so.

talkingtomyselfhere Mon 09-Jan-12 18:13:24

I was a teen and young adult in the 80's and grew up vehemently opposed to Maggie's policies. I marched against many of the things the conservatives did at this time and still feel that they did irreparable damage to our society and we will be dealing with the fallout for many years to come.

She did nothing for women in politics ( in fact she never promoted any female to her cabinet in the entire time she was prime minister, although I am sure there were several suitable candidates) Having said all that she worked her way to the top of a male world, starting out with everyone against her and despite every obstacle imaginable worked her way to the top.Speaking as some one who works in this kind of environment - that takes balls (even when you don't have a pair of your own) I wish she had done more to advance women in the workplace but she was always adamant that she didn't see this as her role.

However, you don't have to like someone or even respect them to appreciate the hard work they put into acheiving their success and I do acknowledge she was personally successful.

YNK Mon 09-Jan-12 18:17:24

I certainly don't single her out because she is a woman - I lump her in with her croney Reagan as the architects of social destruction!

LineRunner Mon 09-Jan-12 18:22:41

Hecate, I think Cameron's getting there, in the hatred stakes. But he won't serve as long as Thatcher, so maybe he won't be quite so painfully remembered.

Cupawoman Mon 09-Jan-12 19:16:02

As I remember she criticised working for mothers for not prioritising their children and spoke with horror of the 'creche' generation, yet she had children, employed a nanny and went back to work. Pity for the rest of us.

manfrom Mon 09-Jan-12 19:40:36

Which all begs the question: Can a feminist be Thatcherite - espousing free market economics, against organised labour/trade unions, libertarian?

I would think probably not, but it's an interesting idea.

miacis Mon 09-Jan-12 20:28:58

She was no feminist and would have been horrified to have been called one.

There's more to being a feminist than being a successful woman.

Is she hated more because she is a woman - possibly - simply because so many of us who have fought for women's rights over the years feel her reign saw so many backward steps for those rights, their advocates and our communities.

BlueIvy Mon 09-Jan-12 20:31:53

Yes, I suppose she is, although she did nothing for women while she was in power (positively the opposite, actually).

But just by becoming the Prime Minister and wielding such power for so many years, I suppose she must be admired <said through gritted teeth>

I always admired the fact that she needed only a few hours sleep a night. I would love that sort of physical stamina.

maizieD Mon 09-Jan-12 20:46:26

There are similarities between Maggie T and Queen Elizabeth 1st. They both were women in a very male dominated world and they both used their sex to manipulate the men around them. I think Maggie T had no women in her cabinet because a woman would have told her to get knotted whereas the men all loved her dominatrix style. They were all panting for her. I heard an interview very recently where a former (male) colleague breathlessly described how she had once patted him flirtatiously. Still drooling after all these years[shocked]

I hugely admired QE1, who would make no windows into mens' souls but despised Maggie T who believed in looking after No 1. I was brought up in a very christian household and everything she said and did violated all I had been taught to believe in. Conservatives still make me feel ill for that reason.

EdlessAllenPoe Mon 09-Jan-12 20:50:51

she evidently had some feminist beliefs. she would never believe she couldn't do science, or law, because she was a woman. Chemistry was a challenging field for a woman to enter when my sister did in the early 2000s....never mind when she did.

she never believed she was unfit to rule, because she was a woman. She never backed down from being a woman, used it in her rhetoric, played it as a strength - she embraced the 'iron lady' moniquer. no-one called her Reagans 'poodle'!

she showed no interest in womens issues - true - there may well have been political reasons for that (and indeed, doing things like increase child benefit was hardly in line with her general economic thrust) nor did she actively seek to promote women (but this just means she didn't favour positive discrimination)

there is a strong association in the minds of some between socialism and feminism but i don't buy that: a feminist is someone who thinks men and women should enjoy equal chances in life. how you do that ...well there are many ways, and scattered across the political spectrum.

she championed individualism, certainly... there is something feminist about that.
it is when people make generalisations and ignore the individual in front of them, that chauvinism triumphs.

actually Meryl Streeps quote on woman's hour was insightful...'people didn't hate her policies, they hated her. Many of the architects of those policies are still in political life. They are men however, so the hatred she raises my hackles as a feminist' (or words to that effect)

nurter Mon 09-Jan-12 20:53:35

Undoubtedly, Thatcher is the only female and the greatest Prime Minister since WW2. She took an economy that was a basket case that had needed IMF assistance and turned it into one of the strongest in Europe, she stopped the union barons holding country to ransom as well as successfully defending our sovereign territory when it was invaded by Argentina. Her influence exists to this day as Mandelson said "We are all Thatcherites now"

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 21:03:40

At what expense though nurter?

I have noticed that people who support Thatcher seem to have silly, misplaced, snobbish ideals about the so called British Empire (zzzzzzzzzz). Like we need to prove how superior we are. It's pathetic.

I agree it's not on to bring her illness into it. Illness should never be joked about whoever it is. The woman was a monster though, I don't see how anyone could think any different.

People who have zero empathy surely have psychopathic tendencies. I don't think so called strength and determination is enough to deservedly win you a place in history as an icon, when ethically sound decision making is a concept that escapes you entirely.

nurter Mon 09-Jan-12 21:09:10

Its nothing to do with the empire, look at the 1970s Britain was an absolute mess with a backwards and uncompetitive economy and she turned it around.

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 21:14:27

Tell that to the people whose lives she couldn't have given a monkey's arse about........

Nanc123 Mon 09-Jan-12 21:16:16

her actions killed people, people died and lives were ruined, industries destroyed and areas on the country totally decimated and still to this day haven't recovered. Her values didn't cover any 'isms' racism feminism humanism she was a cold hearted socio path and people who would celebrate her need to be better informed or look at their own morals.

Nanc123 Mon 09-Jan-12 21:17:19

hitler had power of his convictions...should we herald him too??

tethersend Mon 09-Jan-12 21:20:30

Irrespective of whether you agree(d) with her policies or not, it is testament to the dire state of play WRT women's position in politics that Margaret Thatcher is hailed as a feminist icon by virtue of having a vagina.

She is held up as a feminist icon because she is the only female Prime Minister we have ever had. That in itself is a disgrace.

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 21:21:43

Quite, Nanc

smallwhitecat Mon 09-Jan-12 21:21:46

Message withdrawn

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 21:30:32

I disagree, her gender has absolutely nothing to do with it.

ItsGrimUpNorth Mon 09-Jan-12 21:32:16

"Its nothing to do with the empire, look at the 1970s Britain was an absolute mess with a backwards and uncompetitive economy and she turned it around."

Really? I remember some very very dark economic days in the '80's and '90's.

She isn't/wasn't a sociopath though. Just very driven, cold and committed to the free market economy. Just like a lot of business men. Only the bottom line matters. Except she wasn't really because the privatisation of say, water companies hardly opened up the market to competition.

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 21:32:39

She revelled in her capacity to not give a f*ck. What a badge of honour.

rosy71 Mon 09-Jan-12 21:57:43

I think Mrs Thatcher has to be admired purely because she reached the office of Prime Minister. She was also a Prime Minister who made radical changes - something that not every Prime Minister has done. I'm quite shocked at some of the comments on here; I agree that she is probably so vilified in some quarters because she was a woman. It's ironic that women who identify themselves as feminists can hold such views. Are all women in public life/office supposed to be whiter than white, caring and compassionate whilst men can be a wide range of things? That doesn't sound very feminist to me.

I wouldn't describe her as a feminist. She was obviously a very driven individual who was extremely successful, against the odds really. As someone else pointed out, she was also a scientist - another unusual thing for a woman. I imagine she didn't see being a woman as a disadvantage, therefore didn't see that feminism was relevant.

Whether you agree with her politics or not, it can't be disputed that becoming Prime Minister was an amazing achievement. In the 1980s my dad was talking to his class and mentioned a previous prime minister. One little boy said, "are men allowed to be Prime Minister too then?" I don't think any child would think that today!

LadyHarrietDeSpook Mon 09-Jan-12 22:05:12

I am a Yank and was only 8 when she got elected. But I have always wondered if anyone would have dare asked HER the snivelling question they always ask women executives or politicians:

"Maggie, is it possible for a woman to "have it all???"

Somehow, I think not. Unless I'm missing something.

The majority of discussion around her concerns her policies, which were contentious- of course. But what I think is great is that it is not GENERALLY about the fact that she was a woman. In the history books it's going to be Margaret Thatcher, responsible for xyz, first, and Margaret Thatcher, first woman PM, second. A close second, but second.

tethersend Mon 09-Jan-12 22:05:43

"Whether you agree with her politics or not, it can't be disputed that becoming Prime Minister was an amazing achievement."

Aye, there's the rub- the fact that this is still the case makes me very, very sad indeed.

I think she was utterly evil; however, I think it is dangerous to align feminism with left wing views.

Her policies do not proclude her from being a feminist icon; any more than having a vagina makes her one.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 22:17:01

"[Margaret Thatcher's] policies do not proclude her from being a feminist icon; any more than having a vagina makes her one."

Quote of the week?

tethersend Mon 09-Jan-12 22:23:34

Jesus, no- I meant pr*e*clude blush

WetAugust Mon 09-Jan-12 22:23:47

I was 22 when she came to power.

I well remember the dying years of the Callaghan governemnt - Winter of Discontent etc. Many of you criticising Thatcher are too young to have had any personal knowledge of what it was like to live in those times.

The country needed a strong Prime Minister in 1979 to sort out the mess that Labour had left. It got it with Mrs Thatcher.

Where she went wrong was to believe utterly that she was always right and to fail to take advice from her Cabinet / political advisors.

She became out of touch and we ended up with poorly thought out policies e.g. Poll Tax.

She was no feminist.

But you are juding her by the standards of today and not those of 30 odd years ago when she was PM.

Those were very different times in terms of equality and diversity.

IslaDoit Mon 09-Jan-12 22:24:59

I was not born when she came to power but even by today's standards she's no feminist <gavel>

edam Mon 09-Jan-12 22:41:23

Wetaugust - I remember Maggie only too well. Growing up in South Yorkshire during the miners' strike, it was kind of hard to miss her. We were effectively living under martial law, with the Met up on overtime having licence to give anyone they didn't like a good kicking, or worse. My family aren't miners, btw, so I had no personal grudge - just saw what she did to people, at the time and for generations afterwards. She suspended the rule of law and the London media didn't even notice.

Maggie was strong all right - strong in the belief that she could do what the fuck she liked. We have been paying for it ever since - the current crisis is the direct result of her policies, tearing up any regulation of the City, destroying primary and secondary industries in favour of a 'service economy'. (And no thanks to the governments that came after her for continuing the love affair with the spivs in the City).

edam Mon 09-Jan-12 22:43:44

Btw, I saw the Maggie film a couple of months ago - entirely fails to mention her support for apartheid S Africa (and Denis's dodgy business dealings with that vicious regime). Of course they had to leave it out, because if they'd been honest, audiences would have lost a lot of sympathy. These days it's hard to believe the Young Conservatives used to sing 'Hang Nelson Mandela' at Tory Party Conferences for a laugh.

WetAugust Mon 09-Jan-12 23:05:18

Edam - that's why I said she went too far and became delusional.

When i was a teenager in the 1970s it was just one big round of strikes. The electricity workers would strike resulting in power cuts, Then the miners would strike, resulting in a lack of coal and more power cuts. that strike would be settled and then the car workers / train drivers dockers etc would strike. Settle those and it would be the power generators turn again.

The WofD had hospital workers out - operations cancelled, refuse collectors out - rubbish piling high in the streets, transport workers out - food supply shortages, steel workers out - manufacturing industry ground to a halt, etc.

The dead even went unburied.

It was just one round after another of strikes holding the country to ransom as each scetor of the workforce attempted to keep up with the settlements of strikers.

What Thatcher did was break that pernicious behaviour. Heath and Callaghan had both tried and failed.

The miners strike was a dreadful period. She knew was she was doing when she stockpiled coal before taking them on. The Police in those days were violent - that existed long before Thatcher's time and there were many miscarriages of justice. Thatcher brought in PACE.

I'm no fan of hers. I couldn't wait for her to leave office. That Thursday morning she announced she was stepping down was fantastic!

I just get a bit riled when people who have no personal experience just trot out hatred about her. You're not one of them.

perceptionreality Mon 09-Jan-12 23:11:38

Sorry but just because some of us were not around in the 70s does not mean we are not allowed to disagree with what she stood for.

yellowraincoat Mon 09-Jan-12 23:14:20

Oh come on, how many people on here are young enough to not have been around when Thatcher was PM?

Besides, I have no personal experience of Hitler, but I'm not a fan of him either.

WetAugust Mon 09-Jan-12 23:26:48

Of course you can disagree with what you consider she stood for.

I'm just giving you the context from the perspective of someone who was an adult in the 70s.

Personally I have more hatred of Blair than any other PM I've lived under. Heath would come a close 2nd.

tethersend Mon 09-Jan-12 23:35:24

I just checked with my mum who says Thatcher was evil, and she's 65.

Do I win £5?

Mention her name around here <Scottish ex-mining community> if you really want to hear foul and abusive language.

She is hated to this day.

Maggie Thatcher is and always will be a in my opinion.

perceptionreality Tue 10-Jan-12 00:00:07

a what?

Well I put cunt but in asterisk's.
Then the asterisk's disapeared.
I hate the woman.
I will not put anymore, I have no wish to offend fellow mners.

I'm not offended in the least


LineRunner Tue 10-Jan-12 00:18:11

WetAugust, I remember Thatcher all too well, and I remember her gleefully fucking over the manufacturing base of the UK; gleefully facilitating the sinking of the Belgrano, full of teenage conscripts, when it was outside of the exclusion zone and sailing away from it; and encouraging the 'business interests' of her son, Mark Thatcher (who went on be a person of interest to various law enforcement agencies).

And I wonder what first attracted Maggie to the millionaire Dennis Thatcher?

karetta Tue 10-Jan-12 01:08:07

Thatcher is the best Prime Minister the country has had since Churchill, she modernised the economy and sorted the union bully boys out. The change the Labour party have undertaken since her time in office is the greatest sign of her success.

LineRunner Tue 10-Jan-12 01:23:26

Sarcasm, right?

WinkyWinkola Tue 10-Jan-12 05:27:28

Not to mention her great friendship with that other humanitarian champion, General Pinochet.

She's a woman of great integrity. hmm

KateSpade Tue 10-Jan-12 08:48:30

IMO to me Thatcher is an Icon, for the fact, she was our only (so far) female Prime Minister, and she was also a wife and mother.

For me that shows an enormous amount of things

I'm too young to remember her, but have an avid interest in politics, in no way do i agree with the thing she did.

bottleofbeer Tue 10-Jan-12 09:59:04

If she'd achieved a lot of what she did without tearing communities apart and decimating the North then yeah, she'd have been great.

I was born in 78 so although too young to understand at the time she was PM, her reign spanned my childhood. We never had a bean and my parents attribute much of that poverty to her and her government. I'm going to assume they know what they're talking about as they are intelligent people who just never had a hope living under her rule with a young family in the 80's.

bemybebe Tue 10-Jan-12 10:39:19

I think Thatcher can be considered an icon, only this will never be acknowledged in this country.

Rightly or wrongly she was an influential figure and allowed a lot of people to view women in politics not as some token representatives of their gender but a formidable force.

Gorbatchev is at best irrelevant and at worst a hate-figure in Russia, yet his positive influence on the world is indisputable. Thatcher is similarly an iconic figure in the world of international politics and changing attitudes towards women, even if her domestic image is so controversial.

Besides whatever destruction she is blamed for, I do think that she would not attract the same level of condemnation was she a man. It just wouldn't happen.

bemybebe Tue 10-Jan-12 10:40:00

scratch "never" from the first sentence

Walkinginwonderland Tue 10-Jan-12 12:28:07

About as feminist as Bernard Manning when it came to other women. No, actually, less so.
I bet she's not languishing in a pool of her own pee and poo unlike lots of other pensioners or waiting for some grumpy careworker who is being paid peanuts to spoon gruel into her mouth. But one can hope.

Thermalsocks Tue 10-Jan-12 13:36:08

She would have been horrified to be considered a feminist, let alone an icon.
She got where she did without any special measures, tokenism, just determination in a man's world.

I was an adult in the 70s. I was from humble origins with Labour voting parents and voted Labour myself but I was horrified at what was happening to this country. The old heavy manufacturing/mining industries were doing a pretty good job at destroying themselves well before Thatcher. They were inefficient, unproductive and dominated by Communist led Unions who were holding the country to ransom --"Everybody out" was the catchphrase of the decade. They were only kept going by huge public subsidies which we no longer had.

We were indeed the Greece of the 70s going cap in hand to the IMF while Callaghan froliced in the Seychelles -- "Crisis, what crisis"/Winter of Discontent etc. I was working in Germany for a while and we were truly "the sick man of Europe" and a laughing stock. Our German friends had a catchphrase "British Leyland" which they attributed to everything that was shoddy.

So it was a breath of fresh air to have someone in power who stuck to her principles and not sway with every opinion poll. She was determined that these Communist led unions should no longer bring the country to a halt, causing three day weeks and the lights to go out (we were even running out of candles!). Heartbreaking though it is to see these old industries and their communities die, they were well on the way to dying well before Thatcher.

No leader trying to revive an economy is going to deliberately destroy any industry that is actually productive.

A lot can be learned by how how other countries perceive us and I personally saw the change and the growth in admiration and respect that was felt for this country and Thatcher in particular. As such she was an inspiration for women all over the world.

ProgressivePatriot Tue 10-Jan-12 13:38:32

i really don't think littlgnu was doing anything other than stating a fact.

Thatcher was, and probably still is utterly heartless, i really wouldn't waste your compassion on someone opposed in principle to that quality!

sportsfanatic Tue 10-Jan-12 15:20:30

10 million days lost to strikes in 1970 alone - closed shop rules, demarcation disputes, many wildcat strikes with flying pickets - even the TUC could not control the unions. The unions, not the democratically elected Labour government, were running the country in the mid and late 70s. Businesses - not directly involved at all with the industries involved were going bankrupt because of knock on effects of strikes.......without the IMF the country would have been bankrupted. The unions, sadly, were the architect of their own downfall and as responsible as the Government for the destruction of much industry (and I say that as a former union member).

They were disastrous times to live through - a different world and in no way comparable to the 80s and 90s.

It couldn't go on and this is why Thatcher acted as she did. (And there were many things she did that I found indefensible and hubris brought her down in the end). But in the early days she did what she had to do.

It could easily have been a male PM who took the action she did but I still say that the level of visceral hatred - not just on this board - but on many message boards - would not have been quite so high had she been a man.

poloi Tue 10-Jan-12 15:39:59

She is definitely an icon she turned around the British economy which in the 1970s was almost universally called "the sick man of Europe", into one of the strongest in Europe. She didn't destroy industries she just stopped subsidising uncompetitive and unproductive ones. Endlessly susidising backward industries is lunacy of the highest order and the reforms she made should have been done 10 years before she came to office but Callaghan and Heath were too weak to make the necessary changes.

dstevenson Tue 10-Jan-12 16:47:17

No chance, how can somebody who ruined the lives of many of her own people be an icon? She is famous but for not many good reasons... much like a Dictator is infamous!

ecude Tue 10-Jan-12 17:01:34

Whether you like her or not and I don't she was the most important PM she has revolutionised politics in Britain and showed remarkable strength and courage to overcome the odds and become PM. This does make her a feminist icon in my opinion as she broke down the door to an otherwise male only position.

biryani Tue 10-Jan-12 18:06:43

An icon to some, not so to most. Feminist icon? I think not. She reached the top, sure - bankrolled by a rich man.

WinkyWinkola Tue 10-Jan-12 18:14:31

She herself said she owed nothing to women's lib.

LineRunner Tue 10-Jan-12 19:23:09

Thatcher got where she did because she could.

Part cobra personality, sure: but being wealthy was also necessary.

She took an economy with a strong manufacturing base and industrial relations problems, and destroyed the economic base to get rid of the industrial relations problems. That was fucking stupid. The finance-based smoke-and-mirrors economy she replaced it with is the real sickness.

edam Tue 10-Jan-12 20:32:40

Her government had a right go at single mothers - never fathers, of course. Strangely she never fessed up that she was Denis's second wife. I don't think he had any children, but she behaved as if divorce was a dirty word - highly hypocritical.

Gladyss Tue 10-Jan-12 20:45:33

How can a woman who has lead quite a privaledge life, that was famous to handing out the economic medicine. Taking away the tax benefits of pension funds and removing the restrictions of movement of money out of the uk. Thus making it harder for the working class in the uk making life alot harder for us working mums be seen as our icon?

Greythorne Tue 10-Jan-12 20:46:54

What I find puzzling is that both men and women who are not feminists often say, "feminists don't want equality, they actually want to be better / have more / be superior to men". And we feminists always say it is not about women being better, it is always only about equality.

But Margaret Thatcher challenges that assertion because she was a woman who proved herself the equal of going to war, being traditionally tough, sending servicemen into danger, promoting men based on them being men, sidelining women etc etc etc.

And yet, I cannot bring myself to describe her a feminist icon. And yet, she proved women are equal to men in leadership.

It has really made me think about what I do mean by feminism. I think now that it is not about pure equality but also about prioritising women's issues and needs.

smallwhitecat Tue 10-Jan-12 21:10:34

Message withdrawn

LDNmummy Tue 10-Jan-12 21:24:37

Knew this would happen. They make a Hollywood film to glorify and a past Tory leader in order to bring some shine to the new Tory government in a time when their popularity may be waning.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cameron commissioned the damn thing.

Mumcentreplus Tue 10-Jan-12 21:31:22

She was quite evil imo...feminist icon my arse...

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Tue 10-Jan-12 21:57:39

It's funny how the caring, sharing left are always so compassionate towards those who don't share their views 100 per cent

lunaticow Tue 10-Jan-12 21:59:42

Some might argue that she was a psychopath as she felt no remorse or guilt.

tb Tue 10-Jan-12 22:51:45

Just a correction - it was Gordon Brown who removed the tax benefits of pension funds by abolishing the tax credit on dividend income, thus reducing pension fund income by 25%.

Also in the final days of the Callaghan govt, not only were bins unemptied, the dead unburied, there was also a tanker drivers' strike. Filling up a car with petrol was damn-near impossible unless you were known at the garage. Also bakers' strikes, and every economic decision ostensibly taken by the government had to be agreed with the IMF first.

edam Tue 10-Jan-12 23:16:19

tb - and it was Nigel Lawson who allowed employers to stop paying into pension funds at all. Calling it 'pension holidays'. On the grounds that pension funds had far too much money to meet their future obligations. Looks as if he got his maths a bit wrong now, doesn't it? Oddly enough none of the ministers or actuaries or industry figures involved are offering to put back the money that's missing...

dappleton Wed 11-Jan-12 09:21:19

I grew up with a Thathcher government, she was elected the year I was born. Never once in my childhood did I doubt what a woman can achieve. What she did while in government will always be a hot topic for debate but the fact she got where she did shows women can be equal to men in the workplace - which has surely got to be a big step forward for women. So even though she'd probably hate to be called a feminist icon in my opinion she is.

mrsbaldwin Wed 11-Jan-12 09:43:54

Just catching up with this thread.

LDNmummy - did you see the film yet? I saw it at the weekend - I didn't think it did glorify her, quite the opposite. The trailers that have been on TV are a bit misleading I think.

Several posters have remarked that she was bankrolled by a rich man. Yes. Unfortunately, so were and are many others in politics, including on the left. In the same vein many successful businesswomen got a start because they were bankrolled in some way too, even if they've now paid the money back and are standing on their own two feet.

To take another example many successful female authors/journalists or indeed film directors (thinking of the film which has inspired this thread) are or have been supported or bankrolled by their other halves in some way too.

(By the same coin) a 'roll back the state'-type Tory might point to women on maternity leave and claim they are being bankrolled by the state

I say all this not as support for Margaret Thatcher but to point out, as others have, that some of what has been said here is not really Maggie-specific.

creighton Wed 11-Jan-12 09:53:23

mrs thatcher is not a feminist icon in my opinion. she got ahead due to working hard and having a rich husband to support her. she disliked most of the people in this country. she would have little sympathy for you if you or a member of your family were ill, so i am not bothered if someone mocks/comments on her current illness.

her part in the closing down of heavy industry in this country is one of the reasons why we now have no manufacturing base.

creighton Wed 11-Jan-12 10:47:09

there is supposed to be 500 years worth of coal in the mines of this country. i heard that not only did she close the pits/coal industry, but that she had the mines flooded so that they could not be easily opened again.

she was a dose of bad medicine that the country needed, i.e. pulling the unions into line. but too much of a strong medicine can be poisonous, which is what is was.

with hindsight, her invasion of the Falklands was the right thing to do as it stopped the fascists in Argentina using the islands as offshore prisons to abuse their oponents.

i agree with the poster who said that she, like David Cameron, was moved by spite towards large numbers of the population.

smee Wed 11-Jan-12 11:47:36

Says it all really. sad

snowballinashoebox Wed 11-Jan-12 12:06:49

I don't think not having the Falklands to use stopped the junta from committing appalling human rights abuse.

Which the leads me neatly to her long friendship with Augusto Pinochet.


smee Wed 11-Jan-12 12:13:58

Falklands conveniently covered up her lousing up everything at home.

snowballinashoebox Wed 11-Jan-12 12:16:07

yep, never happier than when we are waving flags.

creighton Wed 11-Jan-12 12:42:58

no, i agree that the lack of the Falklands did not stop human rights abuses, but it seems that the war did help to bring down the regime whereas letting Argentina keep the islands would have bolstered the regime allowing its violence and arrogance to grow.

fridascruffs Wed 11-Jan-12 13:06:20

I think being feminist is not necessarily about becoming a strong leader- i don't think of Elizabeth I as a feminist particularly. For me it's fundamentally about the attitudes to women- why women workers are paid less than men for similar work, for instance; or why women who have children are marginalised in the workplace, either directly which is becoming more rare) or indirectly- becasue for instance they work part time or flexibly. women constitute an army of unpaid workers, they are more likely to volunteer, far more likely to be the domestic lynchpins in any household, they do more of the childcare- yet all these are trivialised and undervalued because they are not the concerns of men. Being a strong war leader is not the point- it's not about 'being as good as men' (ha!) it's about the everyday expereinces of women having equal importance as those of men.
Helen Suzman, South African MP and campaigner against apartheid, when a fellow (male) MP told her that he admired her because 'she had the mind of a man': "i had to laugh; his was not a mind i admired."

fridascruffs Wed 11-Jan-12 13:07:19

(sorry for typos)

smee Wed 11-Jan-12 13:07:30

Think you're right, Creighton as it definitely undermined themilitary regime and they went back to a democratically elected government not long after, but let's face it that wasn't why Thatcher started the war..!

sportsfanatic Wed 11-Jan-12 13:52:52

Purely on a point of accuracy. Thatcher did not start the war.

"The Falklands War began on Friday 2 April 1982, when Argentine forces invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands and South Georgia." Source: Wikipedia (or any other historical site).

edam Wed 11-Jan-12 14:08:17

Yeah, but she took the decision to withdraw (or cut, can't remember which) the British garrison to save money, despite being warned the Argentinian dictator would take that as nod that it was OK for his country to occupy the Falklands. Then, having caused the war, she had the cheek to pose as a victorious leader, fighting to defend British interests!

smee Wed 11-Jan-12 14:15:57

Ah, but invasion is a precipitant of War, but if Thatcher hadn't sent the troops there would have been no war iyswim, so actually in a way she did start it.

Interesting all of this, but it's little know that there were repeated warnings before invasion that Galtieri was plotting to try and take the Islands back. All of which we ignored. That's a failure in itself, but it also allowed the Argentinians to think we wouldn't oppose them if they invaded, so they did. After they landed, there was no real diplomatic effort to resolve the crisis. Thatcher quickly decided we alone could solve it by force. She was right of course, but over 900 people lost their lives.

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 11-Jan-12 14:28:18

Thatcher is definitely not a feminist!

She got to - and wielded - power by behaving exactly like a man (and displayed the worst attributes traditionally associated with men such as ruthlessness, stifling emotion, showing no signs of weakness).

When in power her policies did nothing to help women - particularly poor and vulnerable women.

I would love to see a female PM ruling the country while displaying the best attributes traditionally associated with women, ie leading in a collaborative way, following an ethic of care, valuing the repetitive and lowly paid jobs most often undertaken by women (caring for the elderly, cleaning hospitals, teaching assistant).

sportsfanatic Wed 11-Jan-12 14:32:59

You don't "cause" a war by withdrawing a naval support vessel from regular patrolling duty (which was what actually happened) however ill-advised it might have been.

The defending British garrison, which was still in the Falklands after Argentina invaded was easily overcome by Argentina's 5,000 troops.

Just disliking Thatcher does not justify accusing her of "causing" a war. She has sins enough to accuse her of accurately without resorting to distorting facts to demonise her even more.

Aontrim Wed 11-Jan-12 14:36:23

Feminist Icon? Definitely not! Unlike most real women she was intractable and had no negotiation skills. Much as I would like to see Meryl Streep's wonderful acting, the idea of having to watch Margaret Thatcher's life re-enacted would make my stomach churn. Manufacturing destroyed, Anglo Irish relations destroyed. Greed encouraged, walking over people to get what you want was her style. Yet, she cried at the end of her "reign". I still remember a protester trying to make a statement and she said with great disdain "well, you can't blame him, it is always better where the conservatives are!" That was the big turn off for me. I would like to hear why people think she was an icon?

smee Wed 11-Jan-12 14:45:04

Put it another way Sports, if instead of sending in the task force, she'd used diplomatic channels to pressurise Galtieri to withdraw or negotiate, there might have been no war; merely a diplomatic wrangle which led to the Argentinians withdrawing. Potentially with no bullet fired and 900 people still alive. Now okay who knows if it would have worked or not, but she could have tried a bit harder or even at all. So yes she did cause a war - she took an inciting incident and turned it into conflict. The validity of rights/ wrongs depends on your pov. Personally I don't think a few small islands were worth 900 lives though.

sportsfanatic Wed 11-Jan-12 14:47:43

Smee - Ah, but invasion is a precipitant of War, but if Thatcher hadn't sent the troops there would have been no war iyswim, so actually in a way she did start it.

That is the most tortuous logic I have ever heard. Under that logic Germany didn't start any wars because it only invaded half of Europe and it was half of Europe resisting that started wars.

Invaders start wars. No invasion = no war.

So you really think that if we had said to Galtieri we will oppose you if you take action he would have said "oh, OK then, I was only kidding"? And you really think it could have been solved diplomatically without selling out the islanders?

If you look at the history of Argentina and the fact that General Galtieri needed a big national event to boost his unpopular regime, the last thing he would have done would be to back down if Britain had said "we will oppose you". He could not have afforded to lose face.

Anyway, gotta go and apologies for derailing thread....

sportsfanatic Wed 11-Jan-12 14:49:11

Sorry Smee X posted. No I don't think it could have been solve diplomatically. Galtieri was bent on taking over the Falklands.

Anyway gotta go as I

SkaterGrrrrl Wed 11-Jan-12 15:04:10

These days it's hard to believe the Young Conservatives used to sing 'Hang Nelson Mandela' at Tory Party Conferences for a laugh. shock shock shock

smee Wed 11-Jan-12 15:05:02

My apologies for de-railing thread too, but sports no, of course I don't think Galtieri would have stopped if we'd said 'please don't', but I do think they would have maybe listened if Thatcher had got Reagan to plough in. Lots of pressure could have been exerted by the US, but they stayed neutral throughout. She could have at least tried is all I'm trying to say.

I like your logic on my logic (fun this!), but you can't seriously compare Germany invading whole nations with the Argentinians trying to take back small islands which lots would argue they had a claim to. Yes it was an incitement to war, but invasion doesn't necessarily mean war. Depends very much on the circumstances.

Irony is that yes Galtieri invaded to boost his popularity, but Thatcher did the same - took her from trailing in the polls to winning the next election by a landslide. No comfort to those who died on either side.

Aontrim Wed 11-Jan-12 15:16:39

No one has mentioned her disastrous effect on Ireland as well as Scotland....Mo Mowlem was such a different character. She was a feminist icon! and sooooo worthy!

OTheHugeManatee Wed 11-Jan-12 15:34:44

There's an odd overlap here between 'feminist' and 'whiter than white' IMO. As though you can only be admirable from a feminist perspective if you're morally unimpeachable. Is that really what we believe?

There's also a lot of slippage between 'Was Maggie a feminist?' and 'Was Maggie a feminist icon?'. Clearly she wasn't a feminist as such, indeed was pretty clear about not having much time for quotas and all that jazz; but thanks to Maggie, young women growing up since 1979 will have her as proof that it's not compulsory to be in possession of a penis in order to get the top job in this country.

To my mind, those of us who want girls to grow up with the belief that they can achieve great things could at least acknowledge that we owe her that much, whatever we may think of her policies. I think some of the carping on this thread, about how Maggie has nothing that can be admired from a feminist perspective, because she was mean/evil/spiteful/a sociopath/not morally pure enough/whatever, is really appalling.

Or is this just about the fact that it's not considered permissible to call oneself a feminist without also being a lefty?

bemybebe Wed 11-Jan-12 15:46:22

I agree with you manatee

"mean/evil/spiteful/a sociopath/not morally pure enough/whatever"

"whatever" is also "bankrolled by her husband" amongst others... what an accusation to throw at a woman that was making her carer in politics in the 50s, 60s and 70s!...
Incidentally Karl Marx was "bankrolled" by Friedrich Engels, does not make him any less a revolutionary socialist and, dare i say it, theorist of communism, whatever our views on the result of his work throughout the world in the XXc.

Xenia Wed 11-Jan-12 15:51:00

A hero not only for all women but feminists too. I am a capitalist feminist, free market libertarian. Thatcher did so much good. We were lucky to have her.

OTheHugeManatee Wed 11-Jan-12 15:51:41

On a related note, there's an interesting Grauniad article here about Tory feminists.

I think it's very interesting the way feminism has come to be associated so solidly with the Left. IMO the question of whether Thatcher has anything to offer as a feminist icon is to an extent about this really; maybe there's room for a debate here rather than just calling her a psychopath.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Wed 11-Jan-12 15:54:07

Totally agree manatee

You can be a feminist icon without being a feminist, it the fact you achieved extraordinary things as a woman (whether your opponents like it or not) not that you achieved extraordinary things for women.

And by the way, I think Gordon Brown did a lot to ruin the country and so do many but I have never seen an internet thread declaring that therefore he deserves to die submerged in his own urine etc, or that we should have a party when he dies. Those kind of sentiments seem to be reserved for the empathetic left.

OTheHugeManatee Wed 11-Jan-12 15:59:20

As an interesting historical factoid, it was the Labour Party who turned Emmeline Pankhurst down because she was a woman. She ended up standing for Parliament as a Tory MP.

Personally I think we'd do well to question the near-automatic assumption of a link between feminism and left-wing views.

WinkyWinkola Wed 11-Jan-12 16:58:30

"Those kind of sentiments seem to be reserved for the empathetic left."

Cobblers. For example, Hang Nelson Mandela was a sentiment proudly espoused by many young Tories in the '80's. I'm pretty sure the right wing also have vile sentiments of their own.

And who says the left are empathetic and caring anyway? That's rot too.

Thatcher was not pro women. She was pro herself. I cannot see how as a feminist, one can applaud that when she did nothing for women really. She behaved as she had to behave to get to the top - like a man. Is that admirable? I guess in a way it is because she made it. But as a feminist? Nope.

WinkyWinkola Wed 11-Jan-12 16:59:48

Feminism is about all women's rights, not just one. So how can she be a feminist icon? I just don't believe she is worthy of that tag.

WidowWadman Wed 11-Jan-12 17:02:54

Skatergrrrl - isn't accusing Thatcher of having behaved exactly like a man pretty sexist?

bemybebe Wed 11-Jan-12 17:07:05

"She behaved as she had to behave to get to the top - like a man.Is that admirable? I guess in a way it is because she made it. But as a feminist? Nope."

But this is where I would disagree. There were only men in top politics then, so did she behave "as a man" or did she behave "as a person to wants the top job"? She did break through into this layer as a "herself", but her action allowed other women to gain positions into the top politics, because the argument "she is the woman, so she is not able to perform in this role" is no longer relevant.

And what is all this about "ruthless" as a man's characteristic and "caring" as woman's? Gender stereotyping much?

bemybebe Wed 11-Jan-12 17:08:07

"as a person WHO wants the top job"

WinkyWinkola Wed 11-Jan-12 17:13:34

But there have been female M.P.s for a long time. I don't think Thatcher has particularly facilitated any more women in politics, much less another female P.M.

Plus she was in a role where she could have tried to introduce more legislation to improve women's lot in the world of work etc. I'm not aware she did anything of the sort.

Whether men are ruthless and women are compassionate is irrelevant in terms of stereotyping. What matters is what qualities we value and if it took ruthlessness and coldness to reach the top, are those qualities admirable? I don't necessarily think they are, whether 'male' or 'female' qualities.

I believe feminism represents a third way. Not the same old ways, the old boys ways. And because of that and Thatcher's reinforcement of those old skool values, she is not a feminist icon.

WinkyWinkola Wed 11-Jan-12 17:15:11

And to suggest that the unions and the Labour Party have historically been feminist is tosh too.

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Wed 11-Jan-12 17:24:38

So no one, male or female, who reached the top by being ruthless is an icon, winky? The problem, which Thatcher faced and other leaders face, is that unless you are ruthless you never get anything done. Every political decision is going to upset somebody.

bemybebe Wed 11-Jan-12 17:27:06

"But there have been female M.P.s for a long time."

She was not concerned with "facilitating anybody as another PM", but she did make it easier for another woman nonetheless because it is no longer a shock if a woman becomes a head of the government.

Just as it is no longer a shock-horror that a black man can become the president of the USA and Obama's privileged background and his not-so-black skin (to quote some) is irrelevant... (I was actually hoping Hillary to take this top job as someone mentioned to me the girls with a name ending with "-y" are not "high achievers" bollocks...)

bemybebe Wed 11-Jan-12 17:28:25

sorry, copied a wrong quote (damn keyboard)
"I don't think Thatcher has particularly facilitated any more women in politics, much less another female P.M. "

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Wed 11-Jan-12 17:50:23

By the way, Dennis's first wife left him and left him devastated, all before her left Maggie, so to suggest she was also a husband stealer is quite wrong.

WidowWadman Wed 11-Jan-12 18:17:46

winkywinkola - what would that "third way" be then? I don't think that if you really want to argue equality you can go on about how different women allegedly would do it.

WinkyWinkola Wed 11-Jan-12 18:58:00

The third way is equality, Widow. That is what feminism is about.

Equality is not what Thatcher espoused in any sense of the word.

And equality is certainly not prevalent in the 21st century. For women, the disabled, for people of colour. It's still disgraceful.

perceptionreality Thu 12-Jan-12 11:02:43

Why do people keep saying this is about her being a woman?? Her gender has nothing to do with it. It's not about whether it's inappropriate for a woman to be ruthless rather than caring.

What it's about is her entirely unprincipled decision making. Same as the current bunch of tories.

bemybebe Thu 12-Jan-12 12:54:41

I am not sure I understand what do you mean by "her entirely unprincipled decision making". Do you mean she declared certain principles but her decisions did not support them?

perceptionreality Thu 12-Jan-12 14:18:19

Everyone knows what unprincipled means.

bemybebe Thu 12-Jan-12 14:49:36

i know what is "unprincipled" is...
I don't understand what is "unprincipled decision making"

areyoutheregoditsmemargaret Thu 12-Jan-12 14:54:50

Yes, I know what unprincipled means, it means not having any principles

Mrs T most definitely had principles. They are not your principles. They aren't mine, as it happens. But you can't say someone's decision making was unprincipled when we're talking about a woman whose most salient feature was sticking unwaveringly to what she believed.

perceptionreality Fri 13-Jan-12 11:17:26

No, it means lacking a moral compass. It means unscrupulous. She knew what the consequences of her policies would be but she didn't care. That's what's unprincipled. I'm sure Hitler had what he would have called principles as well...

WinkyWinkola Fri 13-Jan-12 11:25:08

Oh no. Don't bring Hitler into it.

OnlyANinja Fri 13-Jan-12 11:29:28

Do you think, though, that often people will call someone "unprincipled" when what they actually mean is "I do not agree with their principles"?

perceptionreality Fri 13-Jan-12 12:14:44

No, 'unprincipled' does not mean 'has no principles'. That's not the definition of the word.

'Her attitude and contempt towards margins of our society bred a very greedy, ruthless and selfish minority that have basically led us to the situation we are in now.' - that's how I see her influence.

Hitler has already been mentioned I think along with quite a few others.

bemybebe Fri 13-Jan-12 13:13:30

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

perceptionreality Fri 13-Jan-12 17:36:43

It's really rude to refer to someone as nuts.

perceptionreality Fri 13-Jan-12 17:39:55

oh and I didn't specifically compare her with Hitler but I do think she was evil (I'm not the only one on this thread either). She also had dubious allies (Pinochet??)

WinkyWinkola Fri 13-Jan-12 17:44:00

Unprincipled actually means lacking some moral compass.

I do believe that can be applied to Thatcher.

It does not mean not having any principles.

Ah yes, Pinochet. They were very good friends, weren't they? If you can be buddy buddy with a mass murderer, then where exactly do you stop? That imo is like being friends with Hitler. That is a valid comparison.

Hence, she is unprincipled.

WinkyWinkola Fri 13-Jan-12 17:49:39
GirlWithPointyShoes Thu 19-Jan-12 20:18:43

As someone quite new to exploring the depths of feminism (thanks to you lot) I'm still shakey on the ins and outs of our history etc. But from what I have learned in this short time is basically what Winky said. We want Equality. I don't think that's what Thatcher was about either.

So in my humble opinion no she was not a feminist icon.

qwerty5 Fri 20-Jan-12 01:58:02

Of course Thatcher was not a feminist. If she had been, she'd have been expending all her energy on perceived slights against women instead of embarking on the rather more holistic activity of politics.

GirlWithPointyShoes Fri 20-Jan-12 02:16:40

I have always assumed that equality was a political issue.

WinkyWinkola Fri 20-Jan-12 08:43:37

By perceived slights, do you mean the gender pay gap? For example? How silly of feminists to think this isn't right.

Gladyss Sat 08-Dec-12 00:58:24

No definately not a femail icon. A woman who handed the 'medicine' for other to take whilst doing untold damage to the country. Taking away the tax benefit involved in company pension schemes was the down fall of final salary pension schemes, allowing money to be moved out of the country allowing more global movement of money- no loyalty to where it has been earned. and finaly disempowering the unions which now means lack of protection against bad employers (even when the unions had over stretched their power) She should be ashamed of her legacy.

sashh Sat 08-Dec-12 01:49:57

Mocking someone's debilitating illness is extremely low. There is no excuse.

Normally I would agree, but for MT I will make an exception.

Evil, pure evil.

rosabud Sat 08-Dec-12 08:55:45

I haven't read the whole thread, and there is very little that Thatcher ever did that I don't absolutely abhor, BUT - I think that today it's easy for people to forget how different women's experiences/lives/prospects were in 1979 to how they are today and therefore underestimate her astonishing achievement at becoming prime minister despite her gender. It was amazing/unheard of/unbelievable.

Some of the very ordinary things I remember at the time she was elected include a comedian on TV making a joke about how she was "going to run the country, just as soon as she'd finished washing up and doing the ironing," I remember the audience laughing hysterically and, as a young child, thinking "Oh, yes, he has a point!" Not because I was anti-women or anything, but because that was how society was already training me to think. I also remember my Dad, a perfectly ordinary decent man, saying things like he was now ashamed to be called an Englishman (we were living abroad at the time.) People forget that such attitudes were not extreme or odd or laughable in 1979, they were the norm, and simply by overcoming all of that to get to the top, she allowed young girls like myself to look at the whole situation, at women's position in society at the time, and start seeing it for what it really was - pretty awful.

scottishmummy Mon 10-Dec-12 21:14:27

no fan but she did rise up in male dominated politics
was mc but not landed or titled like the other horahs
however she had questionable morality,no empathy,and attacked the working classes and unions

doyouwantfrieswiththat Mon 10-Dec-12 21:54:44

She helped save the open university.

she was known as the milk snatcher because she stopped free milk for over 7's (we didn't fancy it much after it had been in the sun all morning anyway), but she was instrumental in raising school leaving age to 16.

she helped develop 'mr whippy' ice cream grin

she was a very successful woman in a male dominated world, still male dominated today though nowhere near as tough as it was then.

I grew up in the 80's when you were supposed to hate her but I admire her brains, energy & determination, I think she's a fantastic role model for what woman can achieve even though I don't share her politics. I also remember the strikes,( power cuts, bread queues & piles of festering rubbish) in the 70's.

sashh Tue 11-Dec-12 07:37:55

she's a fantastic role model for what woman can achieve

By stepping on other women, putting them down, not promoting them?

Or do yo mean by supporting Pinchet and his fabulous human rights record.

Or maybe by running down the NHS?

Or perhaps the poll tax?

She was the only woman in her cabinet.

I worked for the NHS under Thatcher, you have no idea the harm her policies (and it was her, no minister did anything that wasn't her idea) caused.

Have you noticed the lack of afordable housing there is these days? That's what happens when you force councils to sell houses and don't let them build more.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Tue 11-Dec-12 12:18:35

As far as I knew, the prime minister acts under ministerial/civil service advice, with discussion and voting through the Commons and Lords. Am I completely wrong? Can we actually function as a dictatorship in the UK? I may need to brush up on my constitutional & administrative law.

grimbletart Tue 11-Dec-12 12:49:10

Why has this zombie thread been relaunched?

rubberglove Tue 11-Dec-12 18:41:12

I almost vomited up my tea when I read this thread title. She is no role model for any decent human, man or woman.

And why do female role models have to be 'successful' in the way we are brainwashed to view success these days.

I am more inclined to admire the carers I worked alongside in the NHS, on minimum wage but helping the suffering and bereaved.

DoingitOnTheRoofTopWithSanta Tue 11-Dec-12 20:09:20

haven't read the whole thread, and there is very little that Thatcher ever did that I don't absolutely abhor, BUT - I think that today it's easy for people to forget how different women's experiences/lives/prospects were in 1979 to how they are today and therefore underestimate her astonishing achievement at becoming prime minister despite her gender. It was amazing/unheard of/unbelievable.

Yes, that. She did what she could for the time. It's easy to look back now and say she should have done xyz, but had she done those things she'd have probably never got in to office and never opened the door for other women who will hopefully do XYZ.

rubberglove Sat 15-Dec-12 17:27:35


Greed, corruption, elitism, lack of empathy - that is how she 'opened her doors'.

sashh Sun 16-Dec-12 03:53:06

Yes, that. She did what she could for the time.

Utter bollocks.

Can you give one, just one, example of how she improved things for women? Or for families? Or for society?

SledsImOn Sun 16-Dec-12 06:40:56

I'm sorry, I can't see her as any sort of icon. She might have been a woman in power and in that sense, she demonstrated that women can hold power and cause a lot of things to happen.

But as they were mostly rather bad things, I don't think she did the cause of womankind any good whatsoever.

People in general tend to refer to her with resentment, rather than admiration or love. How on earth does that make women more respected?

SledsImOn Sun 16-Dec-12 06:41:52

In fact I think it did the opposite.

Abitwobblynow Sun 16-Dec-12 19:14:13

LittleGnu, how did she ruin countless lives? Please elaborate. Have you compared those 'ruins' by the number of people whose lives got better? Just wondering.

And, if you are going to wheel out the miners, please check your history. MORE MINES WERE CLOSED under the previous LABOUR GOVERNMENT, than Thatcher closed. Why should an unproductive industry be subsidised ad infinitum.

I personally don't like the tone that was used, but once they chose the grandiose moron they did to lead them (Scargill, what a twat), the confrontation was inevitable.

Or do you want to discuss Wapping? Shipbuilding? In fact, what is your point?

I personally do think she was a feminist icon.

Abitwobblynow Sun 16-Dec-12 19:27:18


the NHS is a socialist construct, and is unsustainable. I really wish people would get their heads round this and let go of the brainwashing.

Beveridge envisioned a temporary structure, one in which people would eventually get so healthy, that it would shrink to nothing. Hasn't turned out that way, has it?

The NHS WILL BE REFORMED. It doesn't matter who is running the govt., any of the liblabcon, it will be reformed. Reality and economics and not ideology will be the final factor.

Can people please allow some reality to enter their thinking space! What was so awful about what she did? Ultimately? She took on the unions and reformed - which was badly needed - the economy. And guess what: she did it WITH THE MANDATE OF THE PEOPLE. That is the bit you all forget! The voters wanted her to do it! They had had enough of stupid shop stewards like Scargill and Robinson! The 1950s trades union model of collective bargain was outdated, not fit for purpose and needed to be confronted.

This bitter nasty bile against a person who achieved a lot is irrational, distorted, ranting nastiness.

SantasBigBaubles Sun 16-Dec-12 19:43:33

Sassh, she doesn't have to have done anything for other women to be a feminist does she? I know plenty of feminist who aren't actively trying to improve the plight of other women. They and I would consider them feminist because they feel women are equal can do any job and won't let their sex hold them back. I certainly consider myself feminist and will spend hours arguing on FWR or sign petitions online but tbh honest I am not an activist. I wish was, but I haven't prioritizated that.

Abitwobblynow Sun 16-Dec-12 19:54:55

From the Wall Street Journal: (because I was thinking, what did she do?)

First, the word "Lady." Mrs. Thatcher was the first and only woman ever to have led a major British political party, and remains so to this day. She was the first woman prime minister in the English-speaking world and the longest-serving British prime minister of either sex since universal suffrage.

Even in 2011, only one important Western country—Germany—is led by a woman. Whatever the sterling qualities of Chancellor Angela Merkel, one must judge it highly unlikely that she will be the subject of a major feature film 20 years after she retires. Mrs. Thatcher was, in effect, the one and only woman. That unique status still fascinates.

And this Lady was first called "Iron" not by her admirers but by her enemies. After becoming leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, Mrs. Thatcher opened a new, controversial front in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. She questioned the then fashionable idea of "detente." Soviet communism, she argued, should not be accommodated. It should be overcome—by repairing the defensive military strength of the NATO alliance and by holding out to the subjugated peoples of the Soviet bloc the promise of Western liberty.

Not many people in the West agreed with her at the time, except one Ronald Reagan, and he was just an ex-governor of California with a dream of running for president.

After Mrs. Thatcher had made a couple of stirring speeches on this theme, the Soviet Red Army newspaper Red Star christened her "The Iron Lady." In doing so, it intended to make a satirical comparison with Otto von Bismarck, the 19th-century "Iron Chancellor" of Germany and to paint her as rigid and harsh.

But Margaret Thatcher immediately saw her opportunity in the insult. There is nothing better than being feared by your opponents. "Iron" means strong. For a woman to be so attacked proved that she had graduated, before she had even become prime minister, into world politics. So she put on her prettiest (red) gown and made a speech embracing her new title. She has been the Iron Lady ever since.

After more than 11 years in power, Mrs. Thatcher left office against her wishes (and without electoral defeat) in November 1990, the victim of a coup by members of her own party.

For some time after that, her reputation went into partial eclipse. The fall of the Berlin Wall vindicated her policy toward communism, but it also made her seem obsolete. Although her economic, financial and trade union reforms prepared the ground for the boom years of the late 20th and early 21st century, her style was out.

Gain without pain was the theme of the new generation of politicians like Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. When Mr. Blair first came to power in Britain in 1997, his signature tune was "Things Can Only Get Better."

Optimism had always been part of Mrs. Thatcher's appeal, too, but it was of a more rigorist kind. Gain comes because of pain, she believed. Nothing can be done without personal effort. Hard truths must be told, dragons slain. Hers was the politics of "either/or." As Peter Mandelson, Mr. Blair's chief strategist, liked to put it, theirs was the politics of "both/and."

“My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day's work for an honest day's pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.” - Thatcher in 1981

From 2007, when the credit crunch first loomed, it started to become clear that "both/and" was going bust in the Western world. The beliefs, the style, the leadership of the Iron Lady all began to look relevant once again. People wanted their leaders to confront problems rather than to brush them aside. They began to look for some iron.

And since 2010, as the debt problem gradually mutated from individuals to banks to entire countries, one of Margaret Thatcher's loneliest battles—her effort in the late 1980s to stop the integration of the European Community (subsequently given the grander title of the European Union)—has begun belatedly to win respect.

The euro was planned against her wishes and introduced after she had left the scene. Seventeen of the EU-27 member-states are part of the euro zone. Now some of them—most notably Greece—are plain bust, and many of them are under the threat of lower credit ratings. Last week, the EU leaders met yet again (by one count, there have now been 17 of these crisis summits) to try to rescue the entire system. They seem, judging by market reaction, to have failed once more. You could almost hear the Iron Lady's well-modulated tones calling "I told you so" from the wings.

What did she tell them? In essence, Margaret Thatcher's views about the relationship between money and politics are simple—her critics would say reductive. In 1949, when, as a 23-year-old, unmarried woman, Margaret Roberts was adopted as a Conservative parliamentary candidate for the first time, she said: "In wartime there was a slogan 'It all depends on me.' People seem to have forgotten that, and they think it all depends on the other person."

"Don't be scared by the high language of economists and Cabinet ministers," she went on, "but think of politics at our own household level."

She wasn't scared, and she never really deviated from such doctrines. They acquired great resonance in the 1970s, when inflation and excessive government borrowing and spending had become the norm. Indeed, they won her the general election of 1979. She preached that a household—and, most particularly, the woman who runs its weekly budget—knows that you cannot ultimately spend more than you earn and that you must "provide for a rainy day."

The same mythical housewife, Mrs. Thatcher asserted, also knows that if you do not provide you cannot be certain that anyone else will. Living beyond your means leads to dependency instead of independence, and dependency leads to degradation.

This was as true for nations, Mrs. Thatcher maintained, as for individuals. She was quite sophisticated enough to understand that nations can and sometimes must borrow and spend on a huge scale. She respected the teachings of John Maynard Keynes, while being highly suspicious of the subsequent generations of left-wing "Keynesians."

But she stuck to her household verities. If Britain could better align what it spent and borrowed with what it earned, then the country could trust the native skills of its people to do the rest. It would once again stand tall in the world and make its own decisions.

It would be hard to deny that Mrs. Thatcher succeeded in bringing some of this about. The top rate of income tax was 98% in 1979 and 40% by 1988. In 1979, Britain lost 29.5 million working days to strikes; by 1986, the figure was 1.9 million. When she started, Mrs. Thatcher had to deal with the most deficit-laden nationalized industries in the developed world. When she finished, the idea of privatization had become the most profitable piece of intellectual property ever exported by a politician.

What is also true, however, is that the sternly prudent housewife ushered in an era in which most citizens were much freer to borrow than in the past. She got rid of the cartel of building societies that had rationed the supply of credit to house-buyers in Britain. More people became owners for the first time, but the less happy consequence was that millions of people began to borrow heavily against their houses, leading to a bust shortly after she left office.

In her determination to open markets to the world—five months after coming to power, she abolished all exchange controls on foreign currency—Mrs. Thatcher left an ambiguous legacy. In 1986, her "Big Bang" in the City of London abolished the commission system for stockbrokers and broke up the old City club. The prohibition of proprietary trading went. The separation between commercial and investment banks ceased. Foreign banks, notably American ones, moved in. What everyone now hates and fears as "casino banking" could not have happened without these changes.

Many accused her of promoting the greed that she personally deplored. The veteran British commentator Sir Peregrine Worsthorne encapsulated this critique of Mrs. Thatcher with vivid unkindness. She set out, he said, to reform her country in the image of her father (a hard-working, puritanical Methodist grocer) and ended up creating a country in the image of her son (a wheeler-dealer who pleaded guilty in South Africa in 2005 to charges related to helping finance an abortive mercenary coup in Equatorial Guinea).

It might be fairer to say that the West today is suffering from welcoming the sunny side of Thatcherism while forgetting its minatory aspects. Tony Blair and Gordon Brown took on board the ideas that markets matter, that foreign investment should be welcomed, that people should be allowed to get rich. This was new ground for a socialist party. But they ignored Mrs. Thatcher's eternal vigilance, her dislike of public spending, her obsession with personal discipline, her belief that you cannot, ultimately, avoid paying your bills.

The same happened across Europe. Even countries like Germany and France, which love to criticize the "Anglo-Saxon" culture of speculation, threw risk to the winds. Their banks lent so dangerously that today the entire Continent is cracking under the strain. The euro zone that they constructed only pretended that its "convergence criteria" for budget deficits and national debt had been met by all entrants.

There was never a solution to the problem of a one-size-fits-all currency with a common interest rate trying to yoke together radically different economies. There was never an answer to the question: "Is there a lender of last resort?" Now the initial flaws in construction are undermining the whole building.

On all of this, Mrs. Thatcher was brave and prescient. In 1988, her famous *Bruges Speech, excoriated by all European leaders, warned of Europe's becoming "a narrow-minded, inward-looking club…ossified by endless regulation." *To her, Europe was much wider than the EU. It included all the countries of the east, then struggling to throw off communism. Her pro-Americanism came to the fore. She spoke of "that Atlantic community—that Europe on both sides of the Atlantic—which is our noblest inheritance and our greatest strength."

Her most controversial remark was her attack on both statism and super-statism: "We have not successfully rolled back the frontiers of the state in Britain, only to see them reimposed at a European level with a European super-state exercising a new dominance from Brussels." She was fiercely opposed to European economic and monetary union.

Last week's summit in Brussels took place exactly 20 years after the Maastricht Treaty, by which the EU agreed to establish a single currency (with Britain securing an opt-out). Today, the answer in Brussels to the problems caused by centralization is to centralize some more.

This time, Britain, led by David Cameron, was so worried that it went further than Mrs. Thatcher ever did and vetoed a new EU Treaty. But the other member states will find a way around this. What is needed, Europe's leaders say, is a fiscal union. Even as the structure totters, its designers are trying to build it higher.

There are reasons why Margaret Thatcher's views on Europe, powerful as they were, failed at the time. She had become unpopular at home. Her criticisms of European policy were sometimes expressed in anti-German tones that made people suspect her motives. Above all, she seemed to be swimming against the tide of history. The wall had fallen. Germany was reunited. The old nationalisms had been conquered, people said. "Europe" had triumphed, and all of us, east and west, would now live happily together in "our common European home."

“To me, consensus seems to be the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects.” - 1981
In his speech resigning from the cabinet in 1990, by which he toppled Mrs. Thatcher as Conservative Party leader and prime minister, her former close ally Geoffrey Howe accused her, in her obsession with preserving the British nation-state, of living "in a ghetto of sentimentality about our past."

It does not look quite like that now. Indeed, it was Mrs. Thatcher herself, a couple of years after she left office, who identified the problem with European construction. It was, she said, "infused with the spirit of yesterday's future." It made the "central intellectual mistake" of assuming that "the model for future government was that of a centralized bureaucracy." As she concluded, "The day of the artificially constructed megastate is gone."

There is precious little sign that today's European leaders want to listen to what Mrs. Thatcher said. The manic building of a continental megastate continues apace. But Margaret Thatcher's legacy will never be one of elite consensus. As the Western world sinks deeper into obfuscation, it is her habit of tackling the hard bit of every question that continues to look good and to seem more relevant than ever.

sashh Mon 17-Dec-12 01:37:29


Have you worked in the NHS? Under the Thatcher government some of the iniatives included not being able to refurbish a ward / building. You could knock one down and build another in the same place, then the government could say "we have built x new hospital wards".

If you were in credit at the end of the year you lost that amount the following year, if you went over budget yoou were fined. So at the end of the year things were done to spend the last bit of budget. An entire empty hospital that was due to be demolished was decorated and a perfectly adequate car park retarmaced.

And 'patient events' - that was the worst thing.

Non of this improved health care, improved patient experiences, or saved money.

As for being voted in, well how many people in Scotland voted for her? How many in South Africa?

Expats in South Africa voted for her in droves because she would not impose sanctions, she also encouraged trade with apartheid Souh Africa and referred to the ANC as 'terrorists'.

On a personal note I was earning about £4000 a year when the poll tax came in.

The year before I paid rates of just over £100. My poll tax bill was £2000.

MaryJane69 Mon 17-Dec-12 01:59:47

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

SantasBigBaubles Mon 17-Dec-12 02:19:44

If Obama, America's first black president hadn't turned out to be a nice guy but instead turned out to be a total, I mean total arsehole. Who did nothing to raise a finger for minorities or the poor or the needy. If he had been a black George Bush, let say.. would you really think it still wasn't an historic event for the African American community? That young black girls and boys in schools were able to say actually, there is something that looks like me in the white house. Maybe I can be the next president.

British girls know they can be prim eminister, they know they can. They also know they have not got to be sweet and girly and try to make everyone like them to do it.

sashh Fri 28-Dec-12 04:46:52

National archives havve released plans from 1982 which would have brought in charges for education and health care. Do you think men or women would more affected by this?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now