Two items have recently burst onto the media scene: a movie called "The Iron Lady" about one of the greatest women in history -- former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher -- and a growing European recall of breast implants in danger of exploding. I wonder what the former would say about the latter. Did it ever cross Thatcher's mind that women's lives could be meaningfully enhanced by surgically strapping gel packs to their chests? How did women get from Thatcher to this?
Any such unfortunate developments are independent of feminist activism, which is little more than female activist self-flagellation and therefore as useless as it is prevalent. Thatcher herself acknowledged that feminism did nothing for her. Feminists would argue that she was an ingrate unable to recognize that her success was due to the women who came before her. That may be, but those women weren't feminists either, although feminists like to claim them as such. Feminists generally make a life out of feminist activism. Accomplished women are busy focusing on other things, but feminists will slap a label on them and unwittingly co-opt them to their own cause. Thatcher made sure they couldn't do that with her by disowning them.
Here's the harsh reality about exceptionally accomplished women: It's a quiet, lonely, very private and incredibly long struggle. It's a lifelong commitment. There is no feel-good, publicly extolled "progress" for the individual woman who seeks a life of meaning and contribution outside society's accepted and tread-worn norms. It's an endless, highly discreet struggle, as depicted in "The Iron Lady." Yet the struggle and the achievement of great women are the only things that matter to the women who come after. Talking about women's empowerment or asking for state funding to promote it isn't going to do anything, and it never has. This isn't a team sport.
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