'Women Only Wanted a Woman': Race, Class, and Gender in the Campaign Speeches of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

34 Pages Posted: 29 Mar 2010 Last revised: 4 Jun 2010

See all articles by Victoria Wilson

Victoria Wilson

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Abstract

I discuss four narrative frames that Clinton and Obama used on the campaign trail to either win the support of women voters or address gender in some other way: The “Rules of the Game” narrative, the “Feminist Americana” narrative, the “Women in My Life” narrative, and the “Black Fatherhood” narrative. These narratives show two things. First, although the viability of the presidential campaigns of both a white woman and an African American man heralds some change, these narratives question to what degree did the campaigns of Clinton and Obama signify real change in the way that presidential campaigning is traditionally done. The narratives I present here suggest that Clinton and Obama were limited in their ability to challenge the boundaries of acceptable presidential behavior. Second, the logic of two of the narratives I present here rely on racist and sexist ideologies. This suggests that to some extent, Clinton and Obama exploited racist and sexist discourse to bolster their own campaigns.

Keywords: campaigns, gender, race, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Election 2008, presidential campaigns

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Victoria, 'Women Only Wanted a Woman': Race, Class, and Gender in the Campaign Speeches of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Western Political Science Association 2010 Annual Meeting Paper , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580892

Victoria Wilson (Contact Author)

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