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From Spouses to Candidates: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Elizabeth Dole, and the Gendered Office of U.S. President

From: Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 2002
pp. 105-132 | 10.1353/rap.2002.0001


This essay examines media coverage and candidate rhetoric of Hillary Rodham Clinton and Elizabeth Dole during their 2000 political campaigns. Although gender was emphasized when Clinton was first lady, it became the tacit subtext of her run for the U.S. Senate, and Clinton's male opponents arguably were more disadvantaged by gender stereotypes than she was in that particular campaign. In contrast, Dole's gender was foregrounded in media portrayals of her bid for the Republican presidential nomination, making it harder for voters to imagine her as president. This study underscores the fact that although women are making strides in other realms of public governance, the U.S. presidency remains a bastion of masculinity.

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