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The discursive construction of women politicians in the European press

Garcia-Blanco, Inaki ORCID: and Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin ORCID: 2012. The discursive construction of women politicians in the European press. Feminist Media Studies 12 (3) , pp. 422-441. 10.1080/14680777.2011.615636

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The appointment of the first majority female government in Spain generated a significant amount of coverage in newspapers across Europe, synthesising the multi-faceted debate about the relationship between gender and political leadership. Through the combination of qualitative thematic and quantitative content analysis, this article examines the construction of women politicians across different European nations. By analysing the coverage of the issue in the main newspapers of four European countries (France, Italy, Spain and the UK) in the two weeks after the new Spanish cabinet was appointed, this article explores the values and ideal roles the media assign to female politicians. The article is based on the premise that mediated representations of female politicians can tell us important things about the relations between gender, power and politics. Such representations embody a set of assumptions about how successful women should look, behave and speak, and thus implicitly express judgments on models of femininity. Ultimately, such representations construct heroines and villains that inform our conceptions of women's political participation, thereby encouraging some forms of gendered political discourse and discouraging others. Our research found that while certain discourses celebrate women ministers for their (symbolic) emancipatory value, others judge them by their physical appearance or their performance as wives, mothers, and mothers-to-be.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Journalism, Media and Culture
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
N Fine Arts > NE Print media
Uncontrolled Keywords: Women politicians; democracy; European press; representation; cross-national comparative research
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1468-0777
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2022 08:34

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