Left wing papers and feminist commentators are raging against yesterday’s news that the UK’s second female Prime Minister will again be a conservative Tory, presenting the options of Andrea Leadsom versus Theresa May as possible replacements for David Cameron following Brexit.
“Don’t confuse the Conservatives’ embrace of female leaders with feminism”, declared a column in the Guardian. “A Tory leadership race between two women is not a feminist revolution”, read the heading in the New Statesman, describing the Tory leadership contest as a “panicked pound-shop Thatcher tribute band contest”. Liberal VICE magazine gave both candidates a “0/10 feminist rating”, and concluded: “So who wins? Well not women, that’s for sure. Or anyone, from the looks of it.”
With Michael Gove being eliminated from the race to be the next leader of the Conservatives yesterday, it was learnt the UK’s second female leader would come from the right wing of the Tory party again. It’s been more than 25 years since Lady Thatcher was granted the most senior politician position in the country. The Labour party and Liberal Democrats, however, which both preach endlessly about women’s liberation and feminism, have not even come close to elevating a woman to the top job.
“Neither Andrea Leadsom nor Theresa May are the figureheads anyone with a scrap of interest in women’s freedom would choose… The fact of being female does not mean a leader will deliver for women,” wrote Laurie Penny in the New Statesman. “Theresa May has a staggeringly right-wing record on immigration, has been involved in the deportation of refugee women fleeing rape and violence, and voted to cut abortion rights. Andrea Leadsom is a right-wing religious fanatic who did not vote for gay marriage. The country has yet to recover from Margaret Thatcher’s manicured massacre of our social fabric and yet we have somehow already forgotten that The Man can be a woman.”
The idea true women and feminists can only think one way is nothing new to left-wing identity politics, and it mirrors how the left categorizes ethnic minorities in boxes, assigning them their own views according to their biology and background.
Journalist Brendan O’Neill took to Facebook to mock the notion. He wrote:
“We need more women in politics! Oh, but not Andrea Leadsom, because she doesn’t like gay marriage. Or Gisela Stuart, because she is anti-EU. Or Kate Hoey, because she got on a boat with Nigel Farage. Or Thatcher, because she was a capitalist. Or libertarian women, because they think Page 3 is okay. Or white working-class women, because they voted against the EU even though it guarantees their rights, I mean how dumb can you get. We need more women like ME in politics!”
A popular meme has also been trending regarding the controversy, which can be viewed below:
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