Race, Gender and Class on the Campaign Trail and Afterwards
Posted: 29 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 29, 2010
This talk will analyze how race, gender and class, performed by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin and Michele Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign and afterwards inform our understanding of race, class and gender.
Barack Obama performed his identity as a black man in a slightly more feminine way during the 2008 presidential campaign in order not to appear as a violent and threatening Black man. This identity performance contrasted with those of 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, class and race in our culture. This talk will also consider how Obama performed his racial and gender identity during his first eighteen months as President. It will analyze whether Obama’s less masculine style has harmed or helped him in the public eye and the connection between the public’s reaction to race and gender performances after the election.
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