A Thousand Cuts

‘One of Margaret Thatcher’s defining characteristics as a politician was a need for enemies. To fuel the aggression that drove her career she had to find new antagonists all the time to be successfully demonized, confronted and defeated.”

John Campbell in his book The Iron Lady devotes an entire chapter to this unusual premise. In simple terms, Campbell maintains that the “power” attributed to Mrs. Thatcher was partly of her own making, an aura created by picking fights with adversaries she knew she could defeat. Since there is no way to verify this contention, let us consider a larger and more fundamental question: Do women in politics set themselves up to be attacked, or are women in politics attacked because they can be — because it is considered acceptable?

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