Thatcher’s wardrobe

Margaret Thatcher trying on hats in her home in 1971. Photo: Selwyn Tait/Sygma, via Corbis

I’ve previously written about how how a speaker looks is an element of their persuasiveness and this week I thought I’d apply this to Margaret Thatcher (I’ve also written about how she lowered the pitch of her voice to appear more credible).

This comes in the week that a US survey on media coverage of women candidates found that when the media focuses on a woman candidate’s appearance she pays a price in the polls. This finding held true whether the coverage of a woman candidate’s appearance was framed positively, negatively or in neutral terms.

As we have seen in the coverage of Margaret Thatcher this week, a lot of attention was give to how she appeared. The most authoritative studies of her are by Dr Daniel Conway at Loughborough University, in particular his article Margaret Thatcher, Dress and the Politics of Fashion where he states that “Thatcher moved beyond the classed and gendered constraints of her background, learned and adapted her dress to suit the political occasion and sought to include dress as a legitimate political concern.”

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The Lady’s Not For Walking Like an Egyptian

2762418_orig2.pngThe Lady’s Not For Walking Like an Egyptian is a performance by Rachel Mars and nat tarrab crossing “all of the words of Margaret Thatcher’s public speeches from the 80s with all of the words of every top ten hit by a female artist from the 1980s” The following article by theatre critic and journalist Matt Trueman was originally published on his website and is reproduced with kind permission.

Warning: Rachel Mars and nat tarrab are infectious. It takes only a few hours of watching the two women at work to fall utterly in love with them as artists. The combination of playful absurdity and questing rigour that motors their process means theirs is a rehearsal room that never stops; one that bubbles with excitement and a relentless, restless energy. There is a constant hum of creation – making, probing, puzzling, laughing – and it all happens at a frenetic pace that scarcely lets up for a minute. It would be exhausting to watch, if watching weren’t such a joy.

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