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Thatcher… she was born this way!

April 9, 2013

I would like to premise this by saying that I am not a political animal. In fact, I tend not to involve myself in conversations pertaining to the folk in the Commons – the truth is that I find politics dull, the personalities grey, the policies predictable and aimless. Conservative or Labour – well, to my untrained eye there doesn’t seem much difference, certainly not since Tony Blaire’s “New labour” spawned conservativism deluxe. So, when Baroness Thatcher passed away I was struck, but regrettably not surprised by the depth of feeling, by the manner in which the emotions of anger and hatred have been expressed.

I do not intend to write about Thatcher’s governance or her policies, there are plenty of people who can do that better than me. I simply want to make an observation in the form of a statement; Thatcher is hated because of her vagina.

Go on the internet, read a newspaper, talk to anybody, you will be hard pressed to find a person who is willing or able to give you a balanced view on Thatcher. She is either loved or hated, and not much in between. But what strikes me is the level of received opinion; there is a whole raft of people who simply hate her because they think they should, because of their parents or because of their upbringing. Such people are either too young to feel any impact from Thatcher’s rule, or have had a relatively comfortable life because of Thatcher’s social policy.

All things analysed and considered, all her policies looked at, from her dealings with the unions, her foreign policy, her domestic decisions, I think, given the state of the nation when Thatcher took power, on balance she did an Ok job.

So why is she hated with such vitriol? The answer is, as I said, because she is a woman. She wasn’t just an ordinary woman, she was a defeminised anti-woman. A woman whose attitude, actions and formidable personality moulded her into the shape of a man. In short, she threatened, she destabilised the fragile egos of the nations men.

In the 70s feminism was still finding its feet, women were still very much considered lucky if they had grown-up jobs. Men being men, were basically only able to come to terms with a woman as long as she maintained their ideology, Thatcher called into question everything that the average man understood.

Allied to this, she was from working class stock. This meant that yet again she had to conform not only to a misogynist ideal but to a manner of speech and deportment that allowed her to chameleon into the parliamentary life.

Her aggressive policies mirrored her personality and her masculine traits. This lead the men around her to feel a sense of displacement and destabilisation. On one hand they were educated and able, but on the other hand they were being told what to do by a very strident, forthright woman. So we have a classic role reversal – a woman who cannot be outwardly criticised and controlled without Machiavellian plots and nasty, heavy handed tactics. Such tactics were of course utilised, words and images were used against her because of her sex – yet again men were aiming for the weakest point.

This sense of ideological schism is illustrated dramatically in the people of the mining communities. Their traditional way of life was being challenged. For centuries the men worked in the mines and the women took care of the house and the children. But then Thatcher came along, a wolf in sheeps clothing, a woman who is unafraid of rhetoric and challenging deep rooted belief. She inflamed the mining communities, not only because of her policies of modernisation, but because she literally had the testosterone to challenge the unions, the close knit groups of men who controlled industry and work.

This was a hammer blow at the very heart of masculinity; a deeply symbolic and painful realisation that a woman not only had the courage but the ability to bring to an end a way of life. The sense of anger still echoes – rightly or wrongly Thatcher’s legacy still gestates in the heart of communities, men and their women sharing in the rhetoric of blame and torment because of Thatcher’s gender.

So where does this leave women? Well, Thatcher for many women is easy to dislike. She embodies the anti-feminist; the woman who, in order to succeed had to take on the men and win. To some women I am sure Thatcher is an honorary man – despite being prime minster she didn’t surround herself with women or even endorse them to high office. On the contrary she encouraged men to be her advisers and trustees of her dreams.

So as Margaret Thatcher is laid to rest, as countless people smile and make jokes about Cole and hell, let’s just use our brains for a second and try to understand that her sex was ultimately her downfall. I firmly believe that if a man had done exactly as she had done; gone to war, closed the pits, crushed the unions, privatised etc. He would be disliked and even shrugged at openly, but not hated.

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From → Politics, Society

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