Shirah Vollmer MD

The Musings of Dr. Vollmer

Reposting: In Honor of Margaret Thatcher’s Passing: “The Iron Lady”- Feminism and Love-Together At Last

Posted by Dr. Vollmer on April 8, 2013

‘Iron Lady’ is a remarkable film, layered with so much of life’s challenges and disappointments. Meryl Streep did an Oscar worthy performance as a remarkable female leader in a man’s world, supported by the love affair with her husband, with the background music from ‘The King and I’. What is remarkable about this film is that a life unfolds in a messy way. There is the young Margaret Thatcher. There is the powerful and confident Margaret Thatcher. There is the smitten Margaret Thatcher. And sadly, there is the elderly, deteriorating Margaret Thatcher. The richness of seeing these various stages of life makes this a movie that I imagine only appeals to a more mature audience in that one has to appreciate what it is like to look back on so many chapters of one’s life, with both clarity and haze. There is also the wonderful thread of a woman succeeding in a man’s world, with conviction and confidence which seems almost magically based. It is not clear from the film how she was able to be so tenacious. What I loved most about the film was watching a woman trailblaze British government, while at the same time maintaining a deeply meaningful relationship with her husband. So often, movies depict lives in which one chooses one or the other: ambition or love. The title “The Iron Lady” does not speak to a woman capable of caring for another, but that is the delight of the movie-indeed the delight in life. The idea that Margaret Thatcher hit that delicate balance between work and home, gave me great admiration for her. The movie also depicts her sunset years, which are both terrifying and rich with memories. Those scenes are hard to take, yet they give us perspective on the arc of life. Ms. Thatcher, ‘The Iron Lady,’ has had quite the arc.  The music from “The King and I” pointed to the great irony, that she was the “King” and yet, she loved the dance. “The Admirable Lady” might be a better name for this movie.

4 Responses to “Reposting: In Honor of Margaret Thatcher’s Passing: “The Iron Lady”- Feminism and Love-Together At Last”

  1. Jon said

    “The Iron Lady” is indeed a very well done character study of a complicated woman. There is much to be admired about and much to be disturbed by Margaret Thatcher. She had to make tough choices, but she did so with consistency and conviction. As you, Shirah, have pointed out, she has done so with feminism and love together. A quote from her 1993 book, “Being Prime Minister is a lonely job. In a sense, it ought to be: you cannot lead from the crowd. But with Denis there I was never alone. What a man. What a husband. What a friend” exemplifies your point.

    Whatever one’s view on her politics, her overcoming many varied obstacles was most admirable in a movie very well done. However, while “The Admirable Lady” might be a name for this movie, as noted in the movie prologue and quoting Wikipedia, “Thatcher’s strict conservative policies, hard line against trade unions and tough rhetoric in opposition to the Soviet Union earned her the nickname the ‘Iron Lady’.”

  2. Thanks, Jon. Yes, I understand her nickname the ‘Iron Lady’ but this reinforces a gender bias that most women bend more easily. I don’t think the Soviets would have called a male Prime Minister ‘Iron Man’ so the title reinforces gender stereotypes.

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