Margaret Thatcher is not my female role model

Margaret Thatcher died yesterday. In her wake, tributes have been pouring in, some of them lauding Thatcher as a great leader and a female role model. This is a woman who once said ‘I hate feminism. It is a poison.’ This is a woman who, once in power, neglected to appoint more than a handful of female cabinet ministers. This is a woman who branded the ANC and Nelson Mandela ‘terrorists’ and built her politics around the virtues of selfishness. She is not my role model.

I don’t exactly feel elated, but I’m not going to reserve any feelings of sadness for the ex-Prime Minister. Death always leaves a horrible, permanent hole, though this is someone who lived a full life and died peacefully at the grand age of 87. I try not to bash people over the head with my political views on here and don’t expect all my readers to agree, but to me Thatcher left a legacy of destruction that is still felt in British society today. I could go on about selling off Britain’s assets, dismantling the country’s primary industries, her alliance with Pinochet, the Right To Buy, pitting the working classes against each other, you can read more here.

Instead here is a selection of women who I do consider to be role models. Women who are women-strong, not man-strong.

Rosalind Franklin
Watson and Crick are known as the duo who discovered DNA, but Rosalind Franklin’s crucial contributions to the understanding of DNA structure are often overlooked.
Kate Bond
One half of experiential theatre company You Me Bum Bum Train, Kate Bond is a genius. From mind-boggling costumes to the amazing scenarios she dreams up, no one can top her brain for inventiveness.
Michelle Obama
Showing it’s entirely possible to be female-positive, fashionable and feminist, Michelle Obama is an almighty powerhouse. We love her J Crew outfits and her strength, from toned arms to stellar career she’s a person of substance.
Tiny Fey & Amy Poehler
My dream couple, these two have really kicked the doors in for female comedy and killed it at the Golden Globes. Fey’s lampooning of Sarah Palin pretty much destroyed her career and Poehler is always on team feminism, from Leslie Knope’s geekish career ambitions to the work she does on Smart Girls.
Chloe Sevigny
Most people fizzle out into blandness or cliché as they get older but Chloe is still totally badass and uber cool. Check her out in a really old X-Girl promo vid.
Brené Brown
If you haven’t watched her TED Talk on vulnerability, man, you haven’t lived! Brené

dishes out some pretty impressive truthbombs around the strength in showing vulnerability, without ever resorting to limp self-help babble.
PJ Harvey
Classic, but does anyone else do FU better? I’m not even that big a fan of her music, but her attitude is a really good example in not caring what other people think – and being all the more amazing for it.
Diane Kruger
This is mega shallow, but I just really like her clothes, innit. Her red carpet style is unmatched, consistently showing personality and style and without a sniff of a fashion trip up.
Vivienne Westwood
Westwood, pictured above, might have strayed off the path a few times but no one does anti-establishment like her. Even though she gets ripped apart, I love this old interview with her.

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