Friday, 12 April 2013

The Iron Lady

I started Stilettos in the Sticks as a little slice of the internet dedicated to things which inspire me, fashion that I love, my friends who are showing the world who's Boss and as a little keepsake of some my travels. It's supposed to be a tiny bit of frivolity nestled amongst the hard work of The Day Job.


This week came the news that Baroness Thatcher passed away from a stroke in her suite at The Ritz – seemingly still with her iron will and steely no-wind-nor-Union-will-move it hair coiffure. 

This is not a political rant. I am not going to dwell on her pros and cons in Parliament. I don't care for the Poll Tax debate, her stance against the Unions, her dealings with The Falklands. I'm not educated enough to have a legitimate opinion on much else other than her pussycat-bow shirts. 

However, I do want to have a word about the disgraceful way her critics have taken to the streets to celebrate her death. Someone has even used the reasoning that "people danced in the street when Hitler died" and the re-printing of her as “the biggest bastard [we’ve] ever known” has made more than one appearance. There has been so much clamouring against her funeral, newspapers soiling their front covers with debasing comments, The Witch is Dead rolling round to number one in the music charts (although as this song is from a cheerful musical, how much of an anarchist are you really?). 

But fine, that's your politics, that's your belief. Fine. I do not agree, but we're fortunate to live in a democracy where we can all have these opinions and the repercussions are mere banter between Twitter accounts. 

My first thought though, when the images of anti-Thatcher partiers and congratulatory comments quickly hit the internet, was why no-one was celebrating the life of a WOMAN who ruled a nation?
Was no-one else impressed with the fact that a WOMAN held this major position as governing one of the greatest countries in the world; in fact one of the most powerful countries at the time despite her concern that a “once great nation [has] somehow fallen behind”? Why was no-one highlighting this incredible feat that in a male-dominated world – none more so than in the halls of Westminster – that a WOMAN rose above her peers and stood in office?

100 years ago women didn't have a voice, they were not entitled to putting a cross in a ballot box; the Equal Franchise Vote wasn't passed until 1928 and Nancy Astor only took up her position – the first woman to do so – in the House of Commons nine years previously with the House of Lords only opening its doors in ’58.

Surely it is an extraordinary achievement for women that in such short a time, women had not only entered into the rooms of power; they were leading them also?

Thankfully, modern day politics has seen a rise and apparently, of the MPs under 30, nearly half are women. A stiletto-d step in the right direction for sure. (Although less than 25% of those in both Houses are of the XX chromosome variety so there are plenty of steps to go yet.) In light of even these present day numbers, do we not think it is remarkable that a woman headed up a Conservative party (all clues in the name) for 15 years and in turn was the longest serving Prime Minister of this century?

I’m sure it would be incredibly ‘un hip’ for some of these latter day MP maids to attribute their decision to enter Politics because of the path already trodden by Mrs Thatcher; I’m sure it’s not the done thing to say that a strong, outspoken matriarch was a role model for many women otherwise sidelined. I haven’t heard too many tributes celebrating the simple act that a Lady ruled England for three terms (but maybe this is due to the slightly biased BBC broadcasting).

So I am paying a very little UN-POLITICAL tribute to a woman who forged ahead, ruthlessly, causing her male peers to shake in their boots and to look at women as their political equals not just their secretaries or those with whom they had “improper relations”.

She was waspish, decisive, opinionated and strong-willed. She didn’t need X Factor and managed to dress like a lady without getting her tits out as well as having a respected mind of her own.

A formidable woman, tougher than many a slack-jawed politician who has come after her, this quote springs to mind:

“Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”

Iron Lady, take a rest; I’m hoping your strength has inspired women to ensure their voice is heard. Whatever it is they have to say.

Undoubtedly my argument is littered with land mine-sized errors and I hope that I do not ostracise any readers (I don't say this to do a Geri Halliwell and sit on the fence with my belief) but I really wished to highlight the strength of women. Without sounding like Germaine Greer.

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