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Margaret Thatcher, fashion influencer?

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Lingerie label Wolford has decided to honour the late prime minister as part of its ‘women empowerment’ series

Be it soiled mattresses on Facebook Marketplace, bottom of the barrel Web 1.0 memes, or fake news peddled by estranged friends, to log onto Facebook is to bear witness to some of the most undignified examples of mankind. Of course, the platform has acquired a bad rep over recent years, which is why Mark Zuckerberg announced that the entire company would be rebranding as Meta. But that revelation has since been eclipsed by the news that Wolford, the Austrian lingerie label, has honoured Margaret Thatcher in a 351-word elegy as part of its #womenempowerment series. 

“This is Margaret,” the post begins, before telling the story of how one plucky woman defied the odds to become the first female prime minister of the UK. The caption takes on the same kind of patronising cadence as one of those spoken word HSBC ads, rattling through stomach-churning mini-sentences like “The papers belittle her, she’s just a pretty girl,” and “Margaret carries on, fighting tooth and nail all the way,” and “Margaret smiles. She’s shown that a woman, a wife, a mum, can do what she wants, without compromising.” 

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The post leaves out any reference to Section 28, the precipitation of an ongoing social housing crisis, the decimation of the British manufacturing industry, or any of the policies which made Thatcher one of the most hateful individuals to assume power. “For over 70 years, we have been committed to creating garments that allow women to move and express themselves freely, while feeling beautiful at the same time,” the company, which makes the majority of its business in tights, says of its “For Women” series, which includes Nina Simone, Marie Curie, and Oriana Fallaci. “Welcome to a space, entirely dedicated to stories of female empowerment. A community of exceptional women who support and promote each other.”

Despite its overtures to feminism, Thatcher’s posthumous attempt at sponcon has been received extremely poorly. “Do you think Margaret Thatcher effectively utilised girl power by illegally funneling money into paramilitary death squads in Northern Ireland?,” one user commented below, quoting Eric André. Wolford’s initiative is an extension of Carmelo Abbate’s Storie Degli Altri project, which he describes as “a journey into the life and heart of those who do not have a voice”. Elsewhere in Italy, major cities have been swept up in protest following the Italian Senate’s veto of the DDL Zan, a bill that would have banned anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination. Thatcher’s legacy seemingly lives on in more ways than one.