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

(99 Posts)

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

Mrsrobertduvall Mon 08-Apr-13 13:32:25

Well the women have started already

Sunnywithshowers Mon 08-Apr-13 13:33:03

SGB, how will we be able to tell the difference?

BlingLoving Mon 08-Apr-13 13:33:15

Sadly, just a quick scan of the threads on here already show it won't just be men. No politician seems to have gathered so much vitriol ever. And I don't buy that it's because of her policies. Love or hate her policies, it's easier to hate her because she's a woman.

I think it's sad. And I am with you on this. I'm hoping some fabulous woman writer is going to come up with a great column / obit that talks about the good she did for women everywhere in terms of what she achieved.

TeiTetua Mon 08-Apr-13 13:44:58

Well, there are people who hate women (and they're not all men) and they'll say the predictable things. But then there are people who hoped for actions from Margaret Thatcher that she never delivered, basically not because she was an abnormal woman but because she was a Tory. So there's a certain kind of additional hatred that she picks up, for having the opportunity to show what great things women might do, and instead being the unbending Tory she was. The unfairness there was to expect anything else, as if women in politics are automatically going to be different from men.

MooncupGoddess Mon 08-Apr-13 13:48:30

Yes, it's grim. Quite apart from the fact that I think it is pretty gruesome to celebrate the death of any human being, there is a sort of gleeful nastiness to it that I have never seen when actual male mass murderers have died (e.g. Pol Pot, Harold Shipman). Indeed the only parallel I can think of is attitudes to Myra Hindley.

namechangeguy Mon 08-Apr-13 14:03:15

I think it's sad. And I am with you on this. I'm hoping some fabulous woman writer is going to come up with a great column / obit that talks about the good she did for women everywhere in terms of what she achieved.

Ooh, this will be good. Shouldn't take long, I imagine. Here is a quote from the woman herself - 'I owe nothing to women's lib'.

You can have that to get you started.

namechangeguy Mon 08-Apr-13 14:20:10

Can I just correct my quote? It was incomplete. From the great woman herself;

"I owe nothing to women's lib. The feminists hate me, don't they? And I don't blame them. For I hate feminism. It is poison."

Alibabaandthe40nappies Mon 08-Apr-13 14:25:44

She wasn't a feminist, but the vitriol is misogynistic in the extreme.

WilsonFrickett Mon 08-Apr-13 14:27:12

I don't hate her. I do hate practically every one of her actions though. I don't think that makes me a misogynist.

MooncupGoddess Mon 08-Apr-13 14:29:20

Well, that's a blatantly stupid comment from Margaret Thatcher (would she have become prime minister if women hadn't gained the right to vote and sit in parliament? hardly), but it doesn't mean she didn't do any good for women.

(I'm not aware that she did, apart from the single and immensely valuable act of demonstrating that the UK can have a woman prime minister, but I'd certainly read an article on the subject.)

Oh I'm not acclaiming her as a feminist icon, I don't think she ever was (apart from the simple fact of being a woman who led the country - as someone else said, for those of us of a certain age, we grew up in a country ruled by two women: Thatcher and the Queen, and the fact of this did have some influence on us).
But there is no getting away from the extra layer of misogyny attached to a lot of the reaction to her death.

Mumcentreplus Mon 08-Apr-13 14:40:04

I didn't like the woman and I'm not going to be sentimental and pretend she was some great female icon..imo she was not, at least not to me I cannot speak for anyone else..just another moon-faced git... but she happened to have breasts.

namechangeguy Mon 08-Apr-13 14:43:33

SGB, I don't know how you can conflate misogyny with people's anger towards her. Firstly, it is not exclusive to men - can women really be misogynists? Ask those women who lived in communities in Derbyshire, or Nottinghamshire, or South Wales, or the North East in the 80's what they thought of her.

I think there was/is some disappointment because people expect a woman in her position to be more compassionate that a man, which in itself might be sexist, but is attributing a positive trait to someone a sign of hatred? I don't think it is.

grimbletart Mon 08-Apr-13 14:55:46

Yes, there is the extra layer of vitriol because she was female - didn't conform to the textbook stereotype of women i.e. not feeble, indecisive, over emotional etc. shock horror.

But those of use who were adults when she came to power in 1979 can point to parallels between Thatcher hatred and Cameron hatred i.e. they headed the PMs of governments who had been voted in after the massive balls-ups of a previous administrations. Trying to shovel up someone else's shit is a hatred magnet. So she gets a double whammy.

MooncupGoddess Mon 08-Apr-13 14:58:42

"Trying to shovel up someone else's shit is a hatred magnet."

Really? Surely it should have been an advantage - I can't remember Thatcher being elected but there was a lot of goodwill towards the coalition in 2010 because most people realised that New Labour had failed in a lot of ways. Unfortunately the coalition have blown it with their incompetence and nastiness (sorry, off topic).

In any case, though, there is much less loathing towards Cameron - even towards George Osborne! - than there is towards Thatcher.

I think she really did a lot to ruin the feminist cause.
actually, she did a fucking ginormous amount to kill everything in this country.

I feel really uneasy - I'm glad there's a thread here to discuss it on.

I don't think she was a feminist icon (!).

I do think her policies have harmed people deeply and continue to influence more policies that harm people.

I think there are many other women who had established, long before Thatcher, that women could do what men did. I am really sceptical about the idea that she was hated purely because she was a woman, even though I'm sure misogyny had a lot to do with the hatred, because it always does.

I'm finding it very hard to take her death is being portrayed. I have a knee-jerk reaction that she's dead and we should be respectful, because I find it very hard not to see an octogenarian like my granny, who had dementia, like my granny. I do feel it's awful we're so gleeful. Sorry, but I do. And I totally oppose what she stood for and I do blame her for other elderly people who're living in poverty.

I do think her bogeyman (!) status has to do with her being a woman, and I do think this 'tide of self-righteousness' is going to be motivated by that.

MrsClown1 Mon 08-Apr-13 15:35:29

I come from near Orgreave in Sheffield so I dont think I need to say anymore. We also have a huge lack of social housing because of her policies of selling them off for next to nothing.

Saying that, I cant celebrate anyone dying, she has a family who must be feeling very sad today.

caramelwaffle Mon 08-Apr-13 15:39:33

Unfortunately I think you a right SGB.

rosabud Mon 08-Apr-13 18:03:02

I do not think she was subjected to extra vitriol at the time (ie during the 80s when she was PM) for being a woman. I think, initially, there was criticism based on scpeticism as to whether a woman could do the job. Once she got going and proved that she could do the job, you either loved her policies (and, if anything, attached to that was a warm attitude towards her as a woman "bloody woman's only gone and pulled it off - good on her!") or you hated her policies - it was her policies which attracted vitriol not her being a woman. That is how I remember it, as someone who was politically active at the time. Of course, a personal opinion is always subjective.

However, it will be interesting to see if the virtiol re-remembered and re-commented on now, on the occasion of her death, will be more gender-based in light of the fact that many high-profile women are now subject to everyday, common-place misogynystic abuse, as we often observe on here.

Badvoc Mon 08-Apr-13 18:09:32

She was hated because she continued to pursue an agenda even her own party distanced itself from.
For all the bleating from Cameron, the Tory party disowned her after her fall.
She had started to have real delusions of grandeur though, and some of her ideas were pretty draconian.
She may have been the first woman PM but she did the least for women of nay PM I could think of.
She seems to have actively disliked her own gender.
Her relationship with Reagan was a bit odd too IMO....

Of course I loathe her an extra layer because she is a woman.

It's incredibly difficult to be let down so much by a member of your own sex- it was not unreasonable to expect her to be a woman who did things FOR women - instead of that she was worse than the men to prove a point.

When my dad went into jail in the 80's my mum, sister and I were sent to a housing estate in rural Scotland - no public transport, one very expensive shop. We didn't have enough money and by not enough my sister had malnutrition and the doctor prescribed orange juice.

Darkesteyes Mon 08-Apr-13 18:28:23

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

Darkesteyes Mon 08-Apr-13 18:30:31

Im nearly 40 and i remember her minion Peter Lilley (under her leadership and bidding) making a very mysogynistic speech about single mothers only just stopping short of saying they should have kept their legs closed.
It was vile vile vile. She was NO feminist

navada Mon 08-Apr-13 18:37:26

Regarding the gender of people who hate her, I'd say it's 50/50. in fact, I've come across more women who hate her than men.

tiredlady Mon 08-Apr-13 18:47:55

She was no feminist.
I hated everything she stood for as I hate everything that Cameron and co stand for now.
Her being a woman has nothing to do with my utter hatred of her. Some men may possibly have misogyny influncing their dislike of her ( though I do think the decimation of british industry has more to do with it), but for a lot of women like me it has nothing to do with it.
I also can't get my head round this "she was someone's granny" lametation. She was friends with Pinochet ffs. What the fuck has her being a granny got to do with anything

Sausageeggbacon Mon 08-Apr-13 19:07:47

Anyone dying is sad but I won't be shedding tears. I was around when the miners were beaten by the police, I saw the aftermath of the poll tax riots. Misogyny has nothing to do with most peoples dislike of who she was and what she represented. If you see more that that then you might want to go talk to the families that lost everything because of her.

kungfupannda Mon 08-Apr-13 20:30:38

She wasn't a feminist, but her death is bringing out some very relevant comment.

I find it interesting that male leaders, when criticised, are generally referred to as part of their government:

Cameron's government
The coalition
Cameron, Clegg et al
The last labout government
The Blairites
etc

And yet Margaret Thatcher is usually referred to alone, as though she had the rest of the government in helpless thrall.

She's always been a scapegoat for a terrible time in our country's history - she played her part, but last time I checked we weren't a dictatorship. And I don't for one solitary minute believe that her sex has nothing to do with this. History is littered with female scapegoats.

Sausageeggbacon Mon 08-Apr-13 20:43:08

You must of missed her cabinet reshuffles. Anyone on the front bench who so much as sniffed a different opinion was quickly moved to the back bench. She could have done certain things more slowly or less aggressively. Instead she railroaded decisions through. If you lived through it unless you have right wing leanings you would have accepted that she created her image and there was always going to be a backlash from those that suffered.

Nothing to do with her gender, everything to do with how she treated the working class.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 08-Apr-13 20:48:49

I'm with you on this, Kungfupannda.

Even on here people are blaming Thatcher for every single thing done and said by the men in her government. On another thread, I have seen her blamed for the fact that there are still so few women in parliament, as if the sexist culture of the House of Commons didn't even exist.
Thatcher was no feminist but the level of hatred she is getting is highly misogynistic.

So far on Facebook I've seen men and women calling her a witch, but only men calling her a cunt and a harpy.

Yes, I'm uncomfortable with the level of vitriol, from men on Facebook.

Lessthanaballpark Mon 08-Apr-13 20:57:22

It's interesting watching the blatant sexism that she had to put up with to get as far as she did and the prejudices people had because she was a woman.

She even spoke out against that sexism. But she was very quick to dismiss feminism even though she wouldn't have been there without it.

Did she dismiss feminism because she genuinely hated it, or because she knew how unpopular it would make her?

namechangeguy Mon 08-Apr-13 20:58:01

Facebook is the abode of people who find tying their own shoelaces a challenge.

I am still waiting for a wonderful feminist writer to speak glowingly and positively about the most divisive UK Prime Minister of the 20th century (as requested by another poster in here this morning). I am not surprised to see it hasn't happened. People who are trying to find misogyny amongst all the vitriol should try visiting some of the communities she decimated.

Natasha Walter has - Mumsnet guest blog.

tethersend Mon 08-Apr-13 21:02:25

This is a tough one. So much of the hate is justified, IMO.

Can you give some specific examples of misogynistic comments as opposed to general celebratory ones?

TunipTheVegedude Mon 08-Apr-13 21:04:19

You don't have to TRY to find the misogyny among the vitriol. It's blatant.

namechangeguy Mon 08-Apr-13 21:06:18

Thank you, Thisisaeuphemism. I have just read that. Not what I would consider a glowing reference, but the author is correct - her achievement has to be acknowledged, as well as her position as a towering influence in 20th century British politics. The great pity is what she did when she got there.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 08-Apr-13 21:06:33

Tethersend - Kate Smurthwaite has pinned some of it down quite well.

specialsubject Mon 08-Apr-13 21:07:18

as always, men are assertive, women are bossy. Men know their own minds, women are fixated. etc etc

she had the absolute conviction that she was right, in common with many politicians and most (bad) managers.

her gender seemed irrelevant to her, which is a good thing. But we probably won't get another female prime minister in our lifetimes.

FairPhyllis Mon 08-Apr-13 21:19:49

SGB YANBU. Especially about left wing misogynist men.

She wouldn't have wanted to be called a feminist, but that doesn't mean that her life and the extraordinary way some people react to her aren't of interest to feminists.

scottishmummy Mon 08-Apr-13 21:19:52

Because she woman who attracts criticism doesn't mean it's criticism of women
The criticism is of the individual,and lets face it she contentious figure

I remember back then people saying stuff like;
"first female prime minister?" -" nah, she's not female,"
I've seen lots of witch posts and a few about not being human.

No, it wasn't glowing, namechange, but it was the best I could find!

SelfRighteousPrissyPants Mon 08-Apr-13 21:25:50

I hated her because she was a woman- she could have done so much to help women but did the opposite.

tethersend Mon 08-Apr-13 21:27:41

Tunip, thanks for the link. I do get that the examples in that article are misogynistic, I just haven't heard any of them either on here or IRL.

no, I blame cameron.. not just his government.
have to say in the latter days a lot of her cabinet were aggainst what she did.

ElectricSheep Mon 08-Apr-13 21:31:47

Just watching Maggie and Me on Ch4+1.

Never heard so much chauvinist crap in one hour.

Ye gods, no wonder there hasn't been another woman pm.

FasterStronger Mon 08-Apr-13 21:35:14

Completely side stepping her politics, I found her very inspirational as a young girl. She made me think women could do anything.

Who is inspiration for today's girls?

namechangeguy Mon 08-Apr-13 21:38:29

I am on another forum, mostly male, where the debate over her legacy has been raging since the news. It's a place where casual sexism does crop up. We have had 40 pages of arguing so far, and the mixture of support for her vs. opposition is vastly different to here - far closer to 50-50. I can honestly say that the issue of her gender has not been raised in 40 pages, which has surprised me a little, and pleased me greatly.

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

caramelwaffle Mon 08-Apr-13 21:41:17

FaserStronger

Have a look at this list

The most powerful women in the world today

This is not to mention the female leaders of matriarchal societies and
in-country communities in different parts of the world.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No mysogyny in this thread thankfully. Some classism though!

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

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

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

faceybebo. Never heard of that one myself.

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

She is on record as saying she despises feminists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

moreyear I think you have summed it up beautifully.

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

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

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

Which class was that, then?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I completely agree Blistory.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TunipTheVegedude Tue 09-Apr-13 20:19:09

I think you can separate out different qualities and say 'I admire this person because of that aspect of their achievement'. It doesn't have to be the whole package.
When Thatcher made that speech at the party conference after the Brighton bomb, arriving on time and perfectly poised and calm - that was impressive. You can disagree with her political philosophy and think she lacked empathy, and still admire it.
Quite a lot of the people who inspire me for one reason, I find completely revolting for another. Almost anyone male pre-20th century is pretty shit on women's rights and racism, for a start.

TunipTheVegedude Tue 09-Apr-13 20:20:51

(oops - have implied racism is male - didn't mean that at all)

betterthanever Tue 09-Apr-13 21:48:07

So glad there is a thread on this.
I think that for all her intelligence she felt that to stand up and be seen as equal to men she had to behave like they were at the time. I think given her time again and had she been coming into power now, she would have been more her true self and been much better. It took me to get older to understand what feminism was, I think when she said that quote she didn't understand it was being about being equal which is how she wanted to be treated. I think she just didn't want her gender to be discussed at all. I think she would see herself as a feminist now. I don't think I will see another female prime minister in this country in my life time which is so very, very sad. When I see the archive footage of the miners strike I see no females.

FasterStronger Wed 10-Apr-13 09:07:39

So MT gets judged for not considering herself a feminist.

How many 87 year olds consider themselves feminists? How many women under 87 consider themselves feminists?

We cannot restrict the status of feminist icon to self proclaimed feminists.

namechangeguy Wed 10-Apr-13 09:26:08

Guessing here, but I imagine Maggie equated feminists with left-wing hang-wringers and hippies, rather than business leaders and capitalists, and therefore she wanted no truck with them. She obviously was in favour of equality between the genders.

The reasons for no further female PM since her seems peculiar to the UK. There seem to be far less barriers in other western countries. There is something wrong with our system.

Unami Wed 10-Apr-13 11:42:29

Fasterstronger It's not just a question of her rhetoric alone (though it left a lot to be desired, even in comparison with her contemporary women politicians).

It's the fact that she did nothing for women on the level of policy, nor did she do much to advance equality on the level of policy.

She's an icon of individualism.

FasterStronger Wed 10-Apr-13 12:05:01

unami - to be feminists, we just need to agree that women are equal to men. we don't need to agree about how we get to that goal.

I don't think she had to specifically do anything to 'help women'. she completed against men in a v sexist environment and won.

WilsonFrickett Wed 10-Apr-13 12:38:35

I think if someone turns around and tells you they are not a feminist, they actively dislike feminism and they despise 'women's lib' - as a feminist I am going to listen to what that woman tells me, really, and not then declare her a feminist icon.

Fair enough, people who were around before the concept was established obviously wouldn't have self-declared, but I think post-suffragism actually self-identifying as a feminist is absolutely necessary to being declared a feminist icon.

Unami Wed 10-Apr-13 13:02:30

I don't think it's sufficient to "just agree" that "women are equal to men". "Just" agreeing is meaningless unless people are given the tools, opportunities and resources to create a more equal society. Otherwise we can just agree that women and men are equal while continuing to pay women less, support cultural expectations that women are responsible to childcare, restrict women's reproductive rights and so on.

Yes, she competed against men in a sexist environment and that was a personal triumph for her. No one can take her individual achievements away for her, but they do not represent victories for feminism, women or equality.

FasterStronger Wed 10-Apr-13 13:10:25

unami people are given the tools, opportunities and resources to create a more equal society

what sort of tools, opportunities and resources ?

Unami Wed 10-Apr-13 13:25:17

Well, tools like legal rights for a start, such as the relaxation of the country's restrictive divorce laws - which Margaret Thatcher voted against. Legislation which would have improved the economic resources of low paid, working class women, such as the introduction of a minimum wage - which Margaret Thatcher voted against. Political opportunities, such as becoming a woman cabinet minister, but Margaret Thatcher never promoted another women into her cabinet.

Branleuse Wed 10-Apr-13 13:27:14

its not misogynistic to hate thatcher

BasketzatDawn Wed 10-Apr-13 17:33:38

Eddie Mair on Radio 4 PM has jsut deadpanned the line 'And how likely is it that Ding Dong the Witch is Dead will be top of the charts by Sunday?'. He's bloody brilliant IMO and I am still nearly wetting myself laughing. It kind of sums it all up.

LizzyDay Wed 10-Apr-13 17:47:56

SGB, I agree with you.

I find the whole street party / facebook celebrations a bit pathetic, juvenile and depressing. The time to celebrate was when she left office (and I did celebrate then).

The 'witch' tag is misogynistic.

grimbletart Wed 10-Apr-13 17:58:40

He's bloody brilliant IMO and I am still nearly wetting myself laughing. It kind of sums it all up.

You're easily amused aren't you? It might have been funnier if he had thought of the line himself. It's been all over the media the last two days.
Our Ed does though struggle to have an original thought.

BasketzatDawn Wed 10-Apr-13 18:13:35

flowersand biscuit for that naice grimbletart!! Some people online are such nasty lttle tossers even when they lack a penis. I have a warm sense of humour BTW, usually .... I just can't be bothered ignoring this, this time, but I'll not be contributing further to the thread. Life is too bloody short. Ding, dong, everyone! Eddie M IS funny IMO, but I only half listen, same as I only really half-read threads on MN. Most of what you hear on radio, same as on MN, is not that original really. So bloody what? It doesn't mean it aint entertaining. Ding dong again!!

FairPhyllis Wed 10-Apr-13 18:21:00

I can't help thinking what will young girls be making of all this. The past few days will have taught them that if you are a woman who aspires to lead you will have sexist abuse hurled at you even after your death.

betterthanever Wed 10-Apr-13 21:37:25

The 'witch' tag is misogynistic. agree and surprised that anyone posting on here would see it as humorous.

grimbletart Wed 10-Apr-13 22:31:19

I'm only an amateur nasty little tosser BasketzatDawn grin. People who mock a woman's death via Ding Dong the witch is dead - now they are seriously professional tossers.

BasilBabyEater Wed 10-Apr-13 22:32:05

"its not misogynistic to hate thatcher"

Of course it's not.

But it is misogynistic to express your hatred in misogynistic terms.

Anyone who is arguing that there isn't a great deal of misogyny in the celebrations of her death, is indulging in either wishful thinking or denial, or just plain disingenuousness.

Glosswitch did a brilliant blog post on it here

KarlosKKrinkelbeim Wed 10-Apr-13 22:40:02

Eddie Mair is entitled to his views, such as they are, but I'm not sure that via our publicly funded broadcaster is the right way to air them. Typical BBC inability to take on board any views from beyond the Hampstead/Islington axis.

BasilBabyEater Wed 10-Apr-13 22:43:19

And that's not to deny that lots of people have good reason to hate her and her memory.

But really, what was she, the White Witch of Narnia? She single-handedly destroyed the mining and steelwork industries, all on her own, without any support from the system which allowed her as a woman to sit on top of it as long as she served the agenda of the men she was surrounded by?

I doubt if there will be street parties for the death of Lawson, Heseltine, Baker, Howe, Lilley, Joseph, Nott et al. But all of them were equally responsible for the appalling legacy of Thatcherism. She couldn't have done it without them. A prime minister cannot function without the support of their cabinet and they were all equally responsible for what they did to our society. Not many people even remember Keith Joseph - but he was the architect of the industrial policies which wiped out the industries working class communities had relied on. No-one danced in the street when he died.

BasilBabyEater Wed 10-Apr-13 22:46:41

Eddie Mair didn't declare that those were his views KK.

He asked a question.

A legitimitate one.

Someone else asked it on the Today programme and the Tory started blabbering about how tasteless etc. it was to ask the question, but it's a valid one - the BBC is reflecting the fact that the internet is full of people who are not going to buy into the hagiography that would have been the way the BBC had dealt with this in pre-internet days. They simply cannot afford to have the huge disconnect between how the mainstream TV reports something like this and what people out in the wider world are saying.

FasterStronger Thu 11-Apr-13 05:41:33

I am trying to think if anyone else's death in old age has been celebrated like this? it does seem very odd that the first female PM is so uniquely reacted to.

also she is the symbol of the closure of the mining and steel industries, but does anyone actually think we would have them still if we had never has Thatcherism? she may have hastened their demise but she did not cause it.

of course she did set herself against very male organisations (unions and political parties) and win. I did read somewhere she would not mind the protests as people only disliked her as she has won and history had proven right.

Blair on the other hand did lead us into a war we could have avoided (aside from the dodgy dossier etc.) but will large numbers of people sing and joke when he dies?

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