Marmite Maggie – Still Stirring Up A Storm!

Marmite Maggie – Still Stirring Up A Storm!

I, like many people feel disappointed and ashamed at the reaction to Maggie Thatcher’s passing from many corners of our community especially the social media fraternity. The level of hatred and juvenile name calling from both men and women is unnecessary and when women turn on other women like this I am overwhelmed by sadness.
Maggie’s political ideology, in fact her party’s ideology and her personal character should not be confused. Whether you agree with her party’s administration or not she was this country’s first and only female PM and respected all over the world for her strategic leadership, courage and determination. Is this vile character assassination fair?
This week I was asked to pen a few words on her legacy for a national business magazine. This is what I wrote…..
Maggie’s legacy
That it’s possible to be yourself and bag the top job in a male dominated world. Oh yeah! Love or hate her Maggie was an alpha female, authentic and true to herself, taking no prisoners and making no apologies for who she was, how she behaved and what she believed.
She gave women permission to raise their game and sub-consciously I am sure she inspired a generation of business women.
To say she was not feminine or a feminist is naive. Her influence on the international stage was a master class in feminine power and her focus on getting the job done versus likeability was a rare, but much needed trait in women.
She said what she meant and meant what she said. A quality sadly lacking in today’s politicians and in my book any woman that has FIRST before her job title deserves respect.
Furthermore she led this country through some tough social, economic and political change and yes she made mistakes; yes her judgement faltered sometimes; yes her ego got the better of her sometimes and yes she became far too dominant in the end ,but let’s not vilify her for her imperfections.
She was real, certain of her beliefs, willing to make decisions and unwavering in her principals even if this meant her popularity suffered. Is this not what we are all striving for – to be authentic? Just because we may not share her view on authenticity does not mean it is wrong. Being authentic is not being like you! It is living your life by your own truth, not that of others and no-one could accuse Maggie of being a people pleaser.
It confuses me to hear women constantly saying how she did nothing to help the advancement of women and she was not a feminist. These comments are so contradictory when I also hear women talking about how much they want to be valued on merit, not simply their gender. This is the argument always put forward to dis quotas. Did we expect Maggie to only employ other women? Is this the only way we would accept her as a feminist? For me, the definition of feminism is about embracing equality of opportunity, about my right to choose on a level playing field. Are we saying Maggie did not subscribe to this? Did she not succeed in a meritocracy?
As women we also recognise we have a complex relationship with success and likeability, in that we often side step success if it means it may make us unpopular. We value being liked too highly. Leadership is not a popularity contest and Maggie is the proof of this. Her courage to ride this in order to stay true to her political principals, regardless of whether you agree with them or not, is surely to be admired?
I am starting to sound like her biggest fan now, and interestingly enough this is not true, but I think it is cowardly to hurl abuse at someone’s gravestone.
Before you judge her on a personal level take a look in the mirror. Do you know what you stand for? Are you living a life aligned to your values and beliefs? Do you stay true to your principals even if it means you may be unpopular? Are you certain of your purpose and passion? Are you playing full out and showing the world your real, authentic self?
I am pretty sure Maggie would have had a giggle at our expense at some of the jibes directed at her and let’s be honest if the woman is remembered for anything she certainly gets people passionate about politics – can you really say that about ANY of our politicians today?


  1. the3rdi

    I agree that the demonstration of hatred by certain sections serves no purpose and those that continue to practice hatred do us all a disservice, but I cannot agree with some of the other assertions in the blog.
    The problem in considering the feminist credentials of Margaret Thatcher is that she was, as you say, “an alpha female”. This is a simple way of describing the fact that she succeeded in a male-dominated world not by changing the landscape for women but by apeing the behaviour of her male counterparts. She didn’t help to create the level playing field that should be, as you assert, your right. Has the landscape for women changed by virtue of having a female PM? I don’t think so or our young girls wouldn’t still be struggling for role models. Because of her “alpha (fe)male behaviours she is seen as the exception not the rule.
    And it is very difficult to detach the person from their actions and with Margaret Thatcher it is a case of “not what she did but the way in which she did it.” True, there were huge difficulties in industry when she came to power but her headlong thrust towards the cult of the individual and the pursuit of money at all costs has, and continues to be, damaging for our society as a whole.

  2. Louise Gosling

    Absolutely COMPLETELY agree with your post, Jane. Could not have put it better myself.

  3. Kirsty

    Great post, totally agree with your comments about being ourselves over pleasing others, I do think as women we do this a lot and it’s something I’m trying to teach my daughters but I’m not that good at modelling it myself. People have been apathetic about politics for years and if this makes them realise that the only way to change things is to use their vote or to represent their community themselves it can only be a good thing. I’m sick of all criticism from people who do not vote, do nothing in their local communities and would never dream of standing for election themselves!

  4. Andrew Freeth

    Just because someone dies doesn’t automatically make them a saint. I have hurled abuse at Thatcher and Thatcherism throughout her/my life AND I will not stop now. Her political agenda/legacy still affects me now.


  5. triplethreesolutions

    Thank you Jane for expressing my thoughts on the passing of Maggie Thatcher. I am extremely disappointed at the comments made on social media platforms and more disappointed by the media, both press and TV, for giving voice to those who know no better. There are plenty politicians who I wouldn’t cross the road to meet but I would never stoop so low as to be so vile or to be disrespectful in these circumstances. As I have commented before she will be remembered long after her critics are dead and buried. But as a commentator on one of your facebook pages said ’empty vessels make the most noise’. Isn’t it bad enough that her family and friends have had to watch on and witness her mental demise in the grip of Altzheimers. Shame on those who have no respect, but then they probably have little respect for anything or anyone else.

    1. janekenyon

      I thought the country gave her a dignified send off yesterday Lisa.


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