Margaret Thatcher has died. The very famous Conservative British Prime Minister enacted a number of controversial policies from 1979 – 1990. She was rightly criticised for, amongst other things, destroying the British coal mining industry, weakening the trade unions through various legislation, and increasing unemployment to over 3 million people.
She is not a likeable woman. But this is not justification or excuse for those in the left to spew misogynistic insults. The word bitch is being frequently used to describe Thatcher. Memes and videos stating “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” are being shared over Facebook and insults used such as “ugly cow.” And it is not simply men reveling in sex-specific insults. Radical feminists are also using words like witch, reblogging misogynistic memes, or excusing others who choose to do so.
Women give men implicit permission to use misogynistic insults against Margaret Thatcher when we do this.
Misogynistic insults target women as a class; they imply that at least part of the problem with the individual target is her woman-ness. When men say this about one woman, they are thinking it about other women. This is the equivalent of the man who calls a woman slut and when confronted, he hurriedly reassures you that he does not think you are a slut. Not you, but that other woman! The truth is he thinks some women are sluts and deserve to be called sluts. He thinks some women deserve to be criticised because they are women. This is not acceptable.
Of course some feminists have called out this behaviour. I thank them! For example, Julie Bindel tweeted:
“There is something deeply misogynistic about calling a dead old woman a witch. Sexist language is bad full stop, whoever it refers to.”
We need to remember that the same level of vitriol is not displayed when a hated male leader dies. Left wing men or feminists did not spew personalized, sex-specific insults at the death of Ronald Reagan or have parties to celebrate, as some in the UK are doing. Of course they criticised his policies and highlighted the damage he did to the US’s economy and in particular the poorest citizens. But he was criticised for his policies and actions. He was not criticised for being a man.
So please, refrain from using any misogynistic insults when talking about Margaret Thatcher and call out those who do so. Instead, concentrate on criticising her policies and the harmful impact they had on working people. In other words, don’t criticise her for being a woman, but for her behavior.