Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama: Performing Gender, Race, and Class on the Campaign Trail

Denver University Law Review, Vol. 86, p. 709, 2009

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-04

18 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2009 Last revised: 10 Mar 2010

See all articles by Ann McGinley

Ann McGinley

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law

Date Written: June 11, 2009

Abstract

The 2008 Presidential campaign highlighted three strong, interesting, and very different women -- Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama -- who negotiated identity performances in the political limelight. Because of their diverse backgrounds, experience, and ages, an examination of how these three women performed their identities and the public response to them offers a rich understanding of the changing nature of gender, gender roles, age, sexuality and race in our culture. This essay suggests that optimism that Obama's race and gender performances may have removed the stigma from "the feminine" may be misplaced, at least when it comes to women aspiring to high public office. Indeed, a review of the public's reaction to the gender, race, and class performances of these three women confirms that women aspiring to high public office continue to suffer intense public scrutiny of their gender performances.

Keywords: Politics, Gender, Race, Class, Sexuality, Age, Masculinity, Femininity, Feminism

JEL Classification: J00, J18, J70, J71, J78, J79

Suggested Citation

McGinley, Ann, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Michelle Obama: Performing Gender, Race, and Class on the Campaign Trail (June 11, 2009). Denver University Law Review, Vol. 86, p. 709, 2009; UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 10-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1375743

Ann McGinley (Contact Author)

University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
2,165
Abstract Views
6,678
rank
6,377
PlumX Metrics