By Morenike Taire
In the seventies, Margaret Thatcher was quoted as saying it would never happen for a woman to be elected prime minister in her country. Not long after wards she was singing a different tune. In 1982 she was to write in stone the famous words: In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man; if you want anything done, ask a woman.
There is no doubt that her hands-on type of background helped in giving her the impetus to get down, roll up her sleeves and get dirty, but a million and one theories have been postulated for her success on the political terrain.,
Perhaps the most important of these is the fact that she was difficult to ignore because she had an ideology. She perfected this ideology, and was most importantly consistent with it, making it difficult for her to be dismissed as a mere woman in the midst of men.
She also formed powerful alliances (including the famous Ronald Raegan one), and though she sometimes displayed a less than sophisticated worldview and sound knowledge of other climes, her loyalty to her own country was impeccable.
She was clearly a leader with a vision- one that was often not agreed with- but a vision nonetheless, which she executed with ‘unfeminine’ single-mindedness. There was also the element of luck, with her position in world politics at a very crucial time in US/Russia relations, but Margaret Thatcher was hardly the type that would sit around and wait on luck to shine on her. She was either hated with a passion (the Irish openly popped Champaign upon news of her demise) or loved; whichever the case, she could not be ignored.
There had been Sirimavo Bandaranaike and Indira Ghandi before her, but it was Margaret Thatcher and Benazir Bhutto that became the icons of female chief executive political leadership, inspiring women around the world and spurning intellectual studies of Thatcherism in many university curricula.
Margaret Thatcher Fashion
Britain’s longest-serving prime minister, Margaret Thatcher’s politics became inseparable from her image. And while the 1980s would have been a challenging decade for anyone in the public eye to make a fashion success of themselves, the best that can be said is that Thatcher certainly developed a signature style that became instantly associated with her – or subsequent caricatures of her – for years to follow.
In 1951, a 26-year-old Thatcher is almost unrecognisable at her wedding to 36-year-old Denis Thatcher at Wesley’s Chapel, in London. The pair met in 1949, when Margaret Roberts was a chemist and local candidate for Dartford. Denis Thatcher was a successful local business man, older and with one marriage behind him.
The crushed velvet, baroque cap and the almost sheepish grin suggest nothing of the Margaret Thatcher the world would come to know. The dress, though, offered a hint of what was to come by way of its colour: blue
As minister of education in 1971, Margaret Thatcher tried on a number of different hats. Like much of 1970s fashion these hats have not dated well, and serve as a reminder that when Thatcher veered from skirt suits and blouses, her take on feminine could be quite in-your-face. As was her decision to cut free milk in primary schools, which resulted in the infamous chant ‘Margaret Thatcher, milk snatcher’
The strictly business look was to appear in 1979, when, at her side, Margaret Thatcher entered No 10 as the country’s first woman prime minister. A royal blue skirt and jacket sent as clear a signal as Denis’s ram-rod posture: ‘we’re here to do business.
Once she was out of office, Thatcher seemed more comfortable and relaxed in front of the cameras. Mind you, carrying a book with your own name on it will give off a certain confidence
It’s not hard to see why some foreign reporters announced this week that ‘Queen Thatcher’ had died . For a period in the 1980s, these two women were the face of Great Britian. They may have had their disagreements about politics but they shared a fondness for simple button-down coats, practical handbags and blow-drys so strong they could withstand any weather.
Between them, they represent a kind of quintessential Britishness, and evoke an era when women of the state could dress as their age and class. A number of Margaret Thatcher’s suits and dresses went to auction at Christie’s. ‘These outfits were worn at the beginning of her career, when she got the “milk snatcher” tag, and were part of important moments like her introduction as leader at the Conservative party conference,’ said Pat Frost, head of textiles at Christie’s. Thatcher may well be heavily associated with twin-set and pearls, but her style and body image underwent subtle changes over the years.