As a matter of fact, the diversity within the Conservative Party is one that has to be studied, since the policies they have been putting in place since they came to power are not reflecting this diversity. But that is a whole separate conversation. For now, the focus will be on female MPs of the Conservatives.
I remember watching the session in the House of Commons after Liz Truss became PM, Theresa May (former PM) asked her “Why do you think that all three female Prime Ministers have been Conservative?”. Her question was obviously a dig at the Labour Party who are ‘supposed’ to be the more progressive political party in the UK but have not had a single female PM. Regardless, it made me think about how we’ve put female Tory MPs on a pedestal for championing gender equality in the House of Commons, or, their 'girlbossification'.
When we say ‘girlboss’ we often think of women who are empowered, motivated, successful, ambitious, etc. Naturally, you would attribute all of these traits to any woman in a position of power. The same can be said for a lot of the high profile female Conservative MPs, all three PMs Margret Thatcher, Theresa May and Liz Truss, the likes of people such as Priti Patel and Suella Braverman being the representation for women of colour.
This would be a good thing if it weren’t for the fact that Margret Thatcher decided to close all the mines, Theresa May didn’t find an adequate Brexit deal, Liz Truss almost collapsed the British economy and Suella Braverman and Priti Patel are pushing borderline fascist ideas around immigration despite being from immigrant families.
Now, this is absolutely not to say that they are all pretty awful because of their gender (in fact, their gender has nothing to do with why they are questionable characters). It has everything to do with the fact that being in positions of power automatically gives them the ‘girlboss’ label that the Conservatives have taken and ran with. When I want to think of the amazing contributions women have made to politics and legislation, none of the aforementioned are people that I would ever consider mentioning.
Of course, they may have done some good things for the country (personally I beg to differ), but I think that this has brought up a very necessary conversation about who we put on the pedestal for promoting feminism, gender equality and women's rights. Yes, all three female PM’s have come from the Conservative Party, but can we really call them feminist icons when they have done absolutely nothing to show that they are remotely interested in equality for all women (women of colour, working-class women, disabled women, Trans and gender non-conforming etc)? Yes, they may have worked their way up into a very male-dominated field, but can we really give them flowers for being positive role models for all young girls?
For me, the answer to all of the above is no, but regardless of what I think, we should all seriously consider who we girlbossify in this political climate.