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Maggie, Meryl, and Fairy Tales

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I experienced a slightly out-of-body sensation watching Meryl accept the award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher, as the primary race continues to leave a wake of women’s bodies in its path. Whether you agree with Michele Bachmann or not, it is hard not feel her pain—or be reminded of Hillary’s primary race—when you read the email from a Santorum staffer asking whether or not God truly wants women to lead (I don’t know sir, you should ask Her).

Maggie Thatcher was elected in 1979, more than thirty years ago. In that time we have managed to drag only two women onto a vice-presidential ticket, one of whom was vilified for her husband’s business dealings and one of who was castigated for her parenting style. In the 2011 elections, the number of women in state legislatures actually dropped. 

We can’t even get a fictional female president—the “West Wing”, with a male president, ran for a successful seven seasons, while Geena Davis as a female Head of State barely survived one. But put a female in a princess outfit and animate her, and she does boffo box office.

We are a country that is somehow happier placing women in glass slippers, than helping them break the glass ceiling.

And that is a grim tale.


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