A A McCullum - soft power

The RiverTribe has an abundance of strong women. Our MPs on either side of Richmond Bridge, Sarah Olney and Tania Mathias, walk the corridors of power. Business guru Sophie Cornish, the founder of Not On The High Street, inspires and initiates and Twickenham-based actor Emily Blunt acknowledges that she’s from a family that grits its teeth and gets on with it. What do they have in common?

AA McCullum investigates the rise and rise of Soft Power.

Soft Power

I was amused recently by Jeremy Corbyn’s description of Teresa May as The ‘Irony Lady’ with the comparison to our previous female Prime Minister as his reference point.


The Iron Lady who forged a reputation for herself as an uncompromising, non-U turning, trouser wearing powerhouse of a leader, changed herself quite dramatically to conform to the testosterone fuelled, male only club of global power.


Anyone of a certain age will remember how she was depicted on Spitting Image as a stereotypical man in male attire, complete with tie and suit and possibly a pipe with even her voice supplied by a male impersonator.

This, in reality wasn’t that far from the truth. Her soft Lincolnshire tones were deemed to be too willowy for a leader.

So a voice coach was commandeered to take her voice down a few octaves and work on her delivery and projection. She was styled to power dress with bolder colours and clean-cut tailoring with her trademark handbag hanging from her arm like a sabre waiting to be unbuckled and swashed.


Of course there are all sorts of leadership styles and we have always had our dear Queen Elizabeth II who at the recent Golden Globe Awards was praised by Claire Foy, who played her in the Netflix series ‘The Crown’, as being at the centre of the world for past 63 years, saying the world could do with more women at the centre of it.


As the world has moved on from the predominantly muscle driven heavy industries to the more cerebrally powered business environment, where emotional intelligence has come to the fore, women are playing a vital, if not dominant role in setting the agenda of progress and policy.


The soft edges no longer need to be chipped away at because a lot of nurturing care is required when dealing with human beings with all their inherent complexities.


Richmond has an abundance of these women, innovating, inspiring and initiating great future facing companies and holding their own in the corridors of power.


They are not anti-men. They are anti gender prejudice where there is such a blatant imbalance of empowerment tipped against them.


Enter the ‘soft-nosed’ business woman who if she’s powdered and perfumed with a pair of lips subtly brushed with a shade of nude,

so be it.


©RiverTribe Magazine 2017