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
18 Pages Posted: 10 Apr 2009 Last revised: 10 Mar 2010
Date Written: June 11, 2009
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: Suggested Citation