Although I’m pretty sure my parents were more liberal or left leaning and didn’t vote ‘conservative’ or ‘republican’, I did grow up in a fairly capitalist leaning home… a child of immigrants who arrived on the shores of the new world with pennies in their pockets and dreams in their hearts… who made good through hard work, entrepreneurship and small business ventures… and property… It’s not foreign to me, in fact this outlook is probably part of the fabric of my personality. all labels? is it ever as cut and dried as that?
I just struggle with someone like Maggie. She’s ‘awesome’ in the truest sense of the word. This woman was a warrior who, whether you agree with her politics or not, achieved relatively ‘great’ things and was in fact an example of a ‘great’ leader. But this is the woman who had tea with Pinochet and branded Mandela a terrorist. A woman quoted as saying, “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.” Wtf?!
For me this harks back to that thought I had about generational issues in the gender debate. Great that Maggie, as a woman, was such a success and really she could not possibly, with any intelligence, argue that decades of feminist activism was not, at least in part, responsible for opening up the opportunities which allowed her to become a leader of a nation. Like many of my older colleagues though she rose to power by behaving as a man in a man’s world. It was the 80’s after all. Her approach and methods reflect a ‘masculine culture’. It’s this I struggle with, more than her politics I guess. Don’t really know enough about British politics in that period or what exactly Maggie stood for apart from a move to greater privatisation – not such a bad thing really in my view. But could she have succeeded in that period with a more ‘feminine’ approach? Unlikely. I hope we are moving beyond this now and it is possible for new generations of women to succeed by being women in a more gender-balanced world. Meryl Streep paid tribute to her in a recent article of her: To have given women and girls around the world reason to supplant fantasies of being princesses with a different dream: the real-life option of leading their nation; this was groundbreaking and admirable. Well, I’ll give her that!
Maybe it’s less a case of ‘if you go home with someone and they don’t have books, don’t sleep with them’ and more a case of ‘if you go home with someone, check out what kind of books are on their shelves’??? The heart may want what it wants but I may have to rethink this little obsession of mine… or not…