Gender, Heteronormativity, and the American Presidency

1st Edition

Aidan Smith

Routledge
September 1, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 244 Pages
ISBN 9780367351434 - CAT# K441591
Series: Global Gender

USD$49.95

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Summary

Gender, Heteronormativity and the American Presidency places notions of gender at the center of its analysis of presidential campaign communications. Over the decades, an investment in gendered representations of would-be leaders has changed little, in spite of the second- and third-wave feminist movements. Modern candidates have worked vigorously to demonstrate "compensatory heterosexuality," an unquestionable normative identity that seeks to overcome challenges to their masculinity or femininity.

The book draws from a wide range of archived media material, including televised films and advertisements, public debates and speeches, and candidate autobiographies. From the domestic ideals promoted by Eisenhower in the 1950s, right through to the explicit and divisive rhetoric associated with the Clinton/Trump race in 2016; intersectional content and discourse analysis reveals how each presidential candidate used his or her campaign to position themselves as a defender of traditional gender roles, and furthermore, how this investment in "appropriate" gender behaviour was made manifest in both international and domestic policy choices.

This book represents a significant and timely contribution to the study of political communication. While communication during presidential elections is a well-established research field, Aidan Smith’s book is the first to apply a gendered lens over such an extended historical period and across the political spectrum.

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