The Real Iron Ladies

Display at the National Museum of Scotland. The quote from Thatcher reads: "We English, who are marvellous people, are really very generous to Scotland."

I am unlikely to go to see “The Iron Lady”. I grew up under Thatcher; young, but still. I don’t think I could watch an admiring portrait without a gnawing resentment. I’m Scottish and a lot of Scottish people resent her. Moreover, I begrudge her the title Iron Lady, with its connotations of strength, resilience and the reasoning (pervasive, I find, in the U.S.) that she is admirable and some kind of role model for ambitious women. I hate hearing her name invoked as some kind of feminist symbol. I think Lauren Laverne of Kenickie spoke for many of us when she called Geri “Ginger Spice” Halliwell “tory scum” for embracing Thatcher as “the original Spice Girl.”

Anyway, I was encouraged to read about this protest by the ‘Real Iron Ladies,’ veteran members of the TUC‘s Women’s Action Group including organisers of the 1984-1985 miners’ strike.

From the BBC report:

Toni Bennett, an organiser with the Bolsover Women’s Action Group during the 1984/5 miners’ strike, said the film gave a false impression of Thatcher’s contribution to feminism.

She said: “The film suggests that Thatcher stood up bravely against a male establishment and was a women’s champion.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. Thatcher mobilised every arm of the state against the striking miners and coalfield women who were defending their jobs, their children’s futures and their communities.

“Anyone watching this film needs to be able to distinguish facts from fiction.”

(BBC News 6/1/12: “‘Real Iron Ladies’ stage protest against Thatcher Film’)

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