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How Media Present Hillary Clinton

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For many years, there always have been stereotypes when it comes to roles in society and its different professions. For instance, the field of politics have been mostly taken by men. Mainly, because women were always expected to take over domestic and family-oriented roles in society unlike men whose fields and professions was a wider realm when compared to women’s. After many studies, results indicated that there are four categories of the representation of women in politics throughout history. According to Anne Phillips, the first category is fudging the footnotes which basically means that many of the attitudes, behaviors, language, and data regarding the representation of women in politics is false. The second category is the assumption of male dominance which revolves around the fact that politics as a field is dominated by men (24). Additionally, the third category is the acceptance of masculinity as an ideal political behavior; which revolves around the unexplained conception that masculinity serves as the ideal behavior and value in the field of politics. The fourth and last category is the commitment to the eternal feminine; which means that the feminine behavior is ideal when performed in the limits of being a wife and a mother and thus would serve as a weak political figure when compared to her colleagues of men (25). These conceptions only show the injustice women face in trying to be part of certain professions within society. However, these misconceptions have changed in the past years as many female political figures made it to high political positions and proved great success and accomplishments to the field of politics.

One of these women figures is Hillary Clinton whom this paper will discuss her representation in the world of politics and media in the modern world where women are striving to prove success in men-dominant fields. Hillary Clinton can be considered one of the most determined female figures that strived for a place among men in the white house. According to her biography, she had a long journey that consisted of her being strong-minded and persistent. Clinton graduated from law school, became the first lady of Arkansas,and she is the first lady when husband Bill Clinton became president of the United States. During that period, Clinton advocated gender equality, and health care reform. Clinton did not only settle for that however; she became senate in 2001 and from there she started her presidential campaign in 2008 and 2016. During her presidential campaigns, Hillary had a unique way of representing herself. According to Martina Topic and Etajha Gilmer, she represented herself initially with a refusal to fit into the role of being a supportive wife only. Taking in consideration her experiences with law and politics, Clinton saw that she was more than just a wife, and a mother. Moreover, Topic and Gilmer address the fact that Clinton used feminist views to portray her ideology and mission objectives. Some of these objectives include her advocating for racial, women, and LGBT freedom and rights. Also, she was raising awareness during her campaign towards raising wages and ensuring and equal pay for women (2533). In a sense, Clinton was representing herself as a woman whose fighting and advocating for the rights of minorities that are often have been neglected and ignored as well as she made this ideology her main element of representativeness to the people, the media, and the world.

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The way Hillary Clinton presented herself is completely different from how the media presented her. Unfortunately, Media do not present her in the same positive manner. According to Diana Carlin and Kelly Winfrey, women candidates like Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin were living examples of how women politicians have made a long way in the field. However, they did not escape the sexism towards women in aspects like language and media framing. There was a negative coverage of both women candidates for merely being women (326). This only shows how the media attacked women candidates for being women who are striving for a higher position that have always been dominated by men. Their language and how they spoke was being criticized. The beauty standards, fashion, and their gestures were being criticized as well. It is almost as if to be a woman in that field, every move and every detail will count and would either make or break their image. This is proof of the pressure that women have to go through for striving to be more. Additionally, the media did not only criticize Hillary Clinton’s language and fashion but also used cartoons to diss her image. According to Charlotte Templin, the sexism in cartoons has been used as a tool to show a backlash against professional women for instance, like Hillary Clinton. The cartoons demonstrated clichés and stereotypes against women in aspects like gender reversal, calling her a radical feminist, domestic imagery, women as a body only, cherchez la femme, and many other ways to backlash women and their abilities of being professional and of high standards (30). This only shows a proof of how media can be used a weapon to represent women in the worst stereotypes like making her an object, a body, limited to domestic activities, and basically unreliable for the job.

In conclusion, the way women are represented and attacked in media is unquestionably still happening until this very day. Women are viewed as secondary to men, and the inequality they have been experiencing is being fought by a lot of women like Hillary Clinton. Clinton strived to be known and successful in a field that was dominated by men for so many years, and she addressed other women, and other minorities of races and sexual orientations to represent her ideology. That every individual should be equal to the other and every individual is able to offer something. Mainly, she showed that women are in fact able to offer just as much as men can.

Works Cited

  • Carlin, Diana., Winfrey, Kelly. “Have You Come a Long Way, Baby? Hillary Clinton, Sarah
  • Palin, and the Sexism in 2008 Campaign Coverage” Journal of Communication Studies, vol. 60, no. 4, 2009, pp: 326-343.
  • Caroli, Betty Boyd. “Hillary Clinton.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 24 April 2019, www.britannica.com/biography/Hillary-Clinton.
  • Phillips, Anne, ed. Feminism and politics. Oxford University Press on Demand, 1998.
  • Templin, Charlotte. “Hillary Clinton as Threat to Gender Norms: Cartoon Images of the First Lady.” Journal of Communication Inquiry, vol. 23, no. 1, Jan. 1999, pp. 20–36.
  • Topic, Martina., Gilmer, Etajha. “Hillary Clinton and the Media: From Expected Roles to the Critique of Feminism” The Qualitive Report, vol. 22, no. 10, 2017, pp: 2533-2543.

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