Women and power
April 13, 2013 17 Comments
We live in a society in which men still dominate the political scene. Relax, this isn’t the prelude to a rant about how unfair that is – quite the opposite. Politics takes the sort of dedication which the gender which does obsession with stuff well has in spades. From my limited experience, men quite like power and they don’t, on the whole, regret (much) the loss of family time which it necessitates. Men seem happy to put the time and the effort in, so I see no reason why they shouldn’t reap the rewards.
When Mr Blair became Prime Minister he came to office with a lot of new female MPs, and we were told that a new era had opened. Well, nearly twenty years on, little has changed. Few of those women have got on in politics, and they have not inspired a new generation of women to try their hand. It does not seem how hard feminists try, women don’t want to play that game. Sure, you’ll get some women who want to do it, but the idea that most women want to do it seems, by the evidence, to be wrong.
Maybe that’s why there is an unpleasant tine of misogyny in some of the leftist criticisms of Mrs Thatcher. Would anyone be calling a dead Tony Blair a ‘warlock’, and what, pray, is the male equivalent of ‘the bitch’. It is hard not to see in some of this a sense by men (and some women) that there was something fundamentally wrong in Mrs T even being in power.
A difficult one for the Left of course. They are supposed to be in favour of equal opportunity and female empowerment – and there was Mrs Thatcher, who was very powerful and owed nothing to equal opps. She took on the men at their own game and she was better at it. That may lead a woman like Glenda Jackson (whose idea of empowerment was to run round in the nude in a Ken Russell film) to say she wasn’t her idea of what a woman should be, but that is more evidence, were any more needed, of the inability of leftist women to actually understand the majority of their own sex. Most of us don’t want to be men. We like men, we think they are wonderful, and we know that properly handled, they are God’s greatest gift. But there’s a whole art in that
Mrs Thatcher never pretended to be like men. She used her femininity as a powerful weapon. She knew that most men like a good-looking woman, and that being strong, efficient and capable are no bars to being attractive. By all accounts, she was perfectly capable of flirting with Mr Reagan, and even the socialist Mitterrand was struck by her combination of the mouth of Marilyn Monroe with the eyes of Caligula. She made her husband a cooked breakfast every morning, and she fussed over her staff like a mother hen.
The plain fact is that in our society there is no template for what being a woman in power is supposed to be like. No one makes anyone go into politics, and if you don’t want people to comment on your looks, don’t go into politics. If you do, don’t complain that you don’t get treated like a man – do what Mrs T did and take advantage of that.