Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics

Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics

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University Press of Kentucky


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Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics

The president of the United States traditionally serves as a symbol of power, virtue, ability, dominance, popularity, and patriarchy. In recent years, however, the high-profile candidacies of Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Bachmann have provoked new interest in gendered popular culture and how it influences Americans' perceptions of the country's highest political office.

In this timely volume, editors Justin S. Vaughn and Lilly J. Goren lead a team of scholars in examining how the president and the first lady exist as a function of public expectations and cultural gender roles. The authors investigate how the candidates' messages are conveyed, altered, and interpreted in "hard" and "soft" media forums, from the nightly news to daytime talk shows, and from tabloids to the blogosphere. They also address the portrayal of the presidency in film and television productions such as Kisses for My President (1964), Air Force One (1997), and Commander in Chief (2005).

With its strong, multidisciplinary approach, Women and the White House commences a wider discussion about the possibility of a female president in the United States, the ways in which popular perceptions of gender will impact her leadership, and the cultural challenges she will face.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813141015
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 10/25/2012
Pages: 330
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Justin S. Vaughn is assistant professor of political science at Boise State University.

Lilly J. Goren is professor of politics and global studies at Carroll University and the editor of You've Come a Long Way, Baby: Women, Politics, and Popular Culture.

Table of Contents

1 The Mechanized Gaze: Gender, Popular Culture, and the Presidency Justin S. Vaughn Lilly J. Goren 1

Part I Framing Candidates, Understanding Voters

2 Puritan or Pit Bull: The Framing of Female Candidates at the National Level Linda Beail Rhonda Kinney Longworth 25

3 Colbert Nation: Gender, Late-Night Television, and Candidate Humanization Mary McHugh 49

4 Soccer Moms, Hockey Moms, National Security Moms: Reality versus Fiction and the Female Voter Chapman Rackaway 75

Part II Hollywood's Influence on Presidential Politics

5 Fact or Fiction: The Reality of Race and Gender in Reaching the White House Lilly J. Goren 97

6 Gendering the Presidency without Gender in the Presidency Joseph E. Uscinski 121

7 It's a Man's World: Masculinity in Pop Culture Portrayals of the President Justin S. Vaughn Stacy Michaelson 135

Part III "All the News That's Fit to Print"? Alternative Avenues for Political Information

8 Sitting with Oprah, Dancing with Ellen: Presidents, Daytime Television, and Soft News José D. Villalobos 163

9 The Checkout Line Perspective: Presidential Politics as Celebrity Popular Culture in People Elizabeth Fish Hatfield 181

10 Viral Videos: Reinforcing Stereotypes of Female Candidates for President Todd L. Belt 205

Part IV Women in the White House: First Ladies, First Couples, First Families

11 High Culture, Popular Culture, and the Modern First Ladies Mary Anne Borrelli 229

12 The First Family: Transforming the American Ideal Melissa Buis Michaux 249

13 The Presidential Partnership: A Gender Seesaw Karen S. Hoffman 269

Acknowledgments 287

Selected Bibliography 291

Contributors 305

Index 311

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