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"From Presidential Wife to Leader in Her Own Right?
The Media's Representation of Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Feminine Ideal."


Amy Carol Oxner

Institution: Florida Atlantic University

Thesis Advisor: Dr. Christine Scodari

Degree: Master of Arts

Year: 2003

This thesis examines how the media depicted First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton when she stepped outside of the traditional feminine roles of wife and/or mother and into the traditionally masculine/public world with her bid to run for the office of United States Senator from New York. It critically examines the cover, cover story images, and textual representations in Newsweek, Time, and New York magazines by means of a feminist semiotic and rhetorical analysis to discern potential meanings. The research concludes that the media circumscribe limited roles for First Ladies. First Ladies continue to be shown as victim, object, and/or appendage of a more powerfulmale, even when they consider political office. Therefore, it is argued thatthe media have a profound role in defining political women through the perpetuation of hegemonic constructions of femininity.

Click here to download thesis table of contents in PDF format.

Click here to download thesis in PDF format. (13 MB)