Why Women in Power Doesn’t Equate to Feminism

It’s 2016, and the world is on the brink of being run by a lot of women in high places.

Theresa May takes the role as recent Prime Minster, Hillary Clinton as likely and predicted (according to current opinion polls) president of the United States, Angela Eagle a potential labour leader in the recent vote of no confidence, and with Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood needing a brief mention as women who are more progressive and awe-inspiring than the leaders of the ‘free world’.

Surely, this idea should bring joy, with the possibilities ranging from every side of an albeit white woman in a position of significant power.

But it’s undoubtedly a shallow victory.

Focussing more upon the US and UK leaders, of Theresa May and Hillary Clinton – these are not women who have views to support women or the ideological left.

Unsurprisingly, Margaret Thatcher is hardly heralded as the feminist icon of the 80s, stating herself she ‘owed nothing to women’s lib’ – throwing women under the bus as soon as she had the chance. Freezing child benefits, criticising working mothers and wholeheartedly supporting the efficiency of a man over a woman.

The idea of being an ‘iron lady’ is where the issue lies. Compassion is seen as a weakness in women, a typical female feature that would ‘cloud’ their judgement in times of extreme pressure and need. So do women of power become this ruthless, cruel persona to prove wrong the men who decide their path to the top?

I’d argue it’s not necessary, but within the system is it needed to prove your female worth?

Theresa May is notoriously anti-immigration, parading a van with the slogan ‘go home or get arrested’ directed towards illegal immigrants. And her ideas of promoting gay rights is questionable – voting against local authorities ‘promoting homosexuality’, against gay adoption in 2002, and only dropped her opposition to gay marriage in 2013…hardly a shining resume.

Although she has spent time on promoting funding for rape crisis centres and dealings of domestic abuse cases by the police, it still falls short – surely that is the minimum should expect rather than applauding?

She continues to pedal the cuts that severely hit the less fortunate sector of society, with a high proportion of BAME women being hit, because – fundamentally, you can’t be a tory AND a feminist.

Angela Eagle is a politician who I willed forward previously, but her Machiavellian tearing down of Corbyn, who has worked furiously to protect all women within society, has made me question her judgement slightly.

And Hillary Clinton’s chokingly white feminist ideals can’t cover up her support for acts such as her 2008 campaign focussing rhetoric around getting rid of Muslims and Mexicans, and her unanimous support for the Iraq war. Clinton is the lesser of two evils, but one that is grown from rich, white privilege and is far too right wing to be lorded as the feminist’s dream.

Women are getting into positions of power, but at what cost? Giving fuel to the argument ‘sexism is over’ while the females in power pedal the institutions that perpetuate the levels of misogyny and oppression which prevent equality to ever be obtained.

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7 thoughts on “Why Women in Power Doesn’t Equate to Feminism

    1. It’s not about hatred of whites, it’s about feminism needing to be inclusive and inter-sectional to not be paradoxical, frankly. And seemingly, being a conservative ‘feminist’ means that women – white and WOC – generally have less government funds, opportunities and social mobility.

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      1. You don’t necessarily have to be left, but I think that conservative feminism is in some way flawed or limiting as it doesn’t promote social mobility and equality for all women. As I said above, Margaret Thatcher was hardly a promoter of women’s rights, and although Theresa May isn’t actively against it, I don’t think her stance on immigration is complementary to all women’s rights, such as immigrants. Also, the conservative ideology of cutting public spending tends to hurt the most vulnerable in society, which is often WOC and lower class women.

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      2. No, conservative feminism – if I understand that phrase – doesn’t specifically target the promotion of social mobility and equality of result for all women at the expense of the general welfare.

        Also, any nation’s politicians really should prioritize their people’s needs and desires over those of foreigners so I can’t see a need for a Feminist to be in favor of immigration just because the immigrants are female. And really? WOC? If they are non-White, they’re coming from a non-White nation where they’re the norm. How is it even relevant?

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      3. Well I don’t think conservative politics necessarily attacks women directly, although in some cases it can, but with women not having an equal opportunity to men, the general conservative ideology is more detrimental to their welfare than to that of people who are more privileged to them, in terms of class, race or gender.

        Granted, you don’t have to be pro-immigration directly because they are women, but it ignores the gendered issues involved with immigration. Theresa May’s stance is tough on immigration, atypical with conservative politics, which ignores asylum seekers coming from sexual violence or forced marriages which makes it a gendered and feminist issue. As a conservative politician her vision is clouded to treat this in a feminist way.

        As I said, I think a conservative’s ideology on the economy, immigration and social processes ultimately limit the ability to be a good feminist which was initially born as a left wing ideology. Although they can take parts of the feminist concept into their own beliefs, it is always going to be stunted and flawed in some way.

        As for your last point on WOC, I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say?

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  1. Before I go on on most of this, where are you nation-wise. I’m now thinking, given the repeated focus on Theresa May, that you’re in the UK. If so, being an American who’s only visited the UK a few times and never lived or worked there – Damn UK immigration laws that forced them to first look at all UK applicants, then all EU applicants, and then justify hiring an American! – I can’t properly comment on the equality of women economically there.

    As for non-White female immigrants – my point was that they’re being non-White is, or should be, irrelevant. It’s not even as if they’re non-Whites fleeing a White nation. They’re just non-Whites fleeing a non-White nation to a White nation. I can’t see where that should get them special treatment, attention, or other race and gender based privileges.

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