Unfinished Business

The headline reads:

Britain’s Iron Lady, Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Dies: During her 11 years in office, she remade Britain and became an iconic figure for conservatives in her homeland and abroad. But Thatcher, who was 87, was also a divisive leader.

The last two words captured my attention; divisive leader. I cannot imagine why it didn’t say Margaret Thatcher aspired to create change in spite of divisive detractors. Strong women who don’t fall in line have detractors by the millions; male and female alike. Divisive men, who otherwise subscribe to at least some of the same ideas as a female leader, instead choose controversy over collaboration. Divisive women, who fear that their value will be diminished for using their skills to create an exceptional home life for their families, choose suspicion over support. What a shame it is when educated, well-informed, capable people allow base instincts to control their behavior. How much closer to achieving worthy goals would society be without divisive detractors?

Iron Lady, what a fitting way to describe what a woman must be made of in order to garner the respect she deserves. Iron, forged in flames fanned by preposterous beliefs and refined by imposed propriety. Iron merely due to her lack of appendage. Iron only for the sake of being born female. Women ready to speak up for themselves whether they choose to build bridges or manage their homes to build future generations are made of such iron. Women who face each day at the hand of an invisible oppressor are cast in the shadow of those same fires that forge their iron will to live.

It isn’t women leaders who are divisive. It is the detractors who would demoralize women through fear tactics masquerading as grand gestures of morality. It is the label makers and the impostors who promote them whose aim it is to create divisions among us. Black, white, mixed-race, gay, straight, liberal, conservative, soccer mom, cougar, bitch, warrior princess, working mother, and single mother. These labels do not define who we are!

Glass ceilings and glass slippers, all fun and games ‘til someone looses an eye. Where is the other eye? Who is keeping an eye out for complacency and apathy? Who makes sure the sacrifices of women who came before us were not in vain?

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17 thoughts on “Unfinished Business

  1. I didn’t necessarily agree with her, but Margaret Thatcher was certainly a strong leader. I do agree with you. In many ways she was divisive. But she remained a strong leader.

  2. A man would have been “politically savvy” or a “mover and a shaker” – Mrs. Thatcher was “divisive” – We don’t refer to Ronald Reagan as “divisive” – we call him “conservative”or a “great communicator”. Every leader is divisive, it’s the nature of politics – it’s a cop-out to label them as such. I think she will be remembered more for her accomplishments, her amazing rise to power, and her legacy. If she were a man that would have been the headline.

    1. Exactly. There is an excellent post today here:http://everywhereonce.com/2013/04/08/ronald-reagan-library/ about another leader of that same time period. Alternative viewpoints do not necessitate harm. Regardless of rhetoric, politics or dogma, fighting the “good fight” means different things to different people. For instance, I don’t see how claiming to be pro life and at the same time bombing the shit out of where people live makes that point, but what do I know?

      1. That was a great post. I read the Reagan Diaries a couple of years ago and found Ronny to be a fascinating study in contradictions – not at all what I expected. I couldn’t agree with you more regarding the pro-life contradiction – it boggles the mind.

  3. Margaret Thatcher was a remarkable leader and fundamentally changed her country in ways that leave her with few, if any, equals. It is almost unfathomable that she could rise from her modest social standing and the huge disadvantage of being a woman in that era to not only rise to the top position, but to so doggedly pursue what she believed to be the right course. She cared little whether she was liked knowing it was far more important to be respected to accomplish her goals. She marched straight into controversy with unmatched self-assurance and held fast in the face of formidable opposition.

    Could I offer an alternative viewpoint? Without taking anything away from your larger point, I don’t think calling Thatcher a divisive leader supports your point. If it was anyone else, it might be different. Headlines are never perfect but I suspect that the writer would have said the same thing about a male leader – if only one existed like her. Given the many things she was, divisive was definitely part of the mix. You have to be to fundamentally change a country in such a short time.

    1. I cannot disagree, Lyle. Everything you said here about Margaret Thatcher is true and I especially like that your alternative viewpoint lends support to my point. The writer may very well have said the same thing about a male leader “…if only one existed like her.” 🙂

  4. Kudos to you for pointing out the words many of us may have just glossed over in our reading about Margaret Thatcher: “divisive leader.” Your points are valid indeed.

    1. Thanks Carrie. It’s important to me that we don’t lose sight of the progress yet to be made, enjoying the benefits of freedom without fully appreciating how it was achieved. Women once had to do more than lean in. They took it on the chin.

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