Female Politician’s last names

18 Aug

Just an exchange between Melissa A and myself that had been bouncing today on Twitter:

dandybanditI’ve thought about this a lot & I’m glad someone’s writing about it – what’s wrong with female politicians’ last names?

cyndaminthia@dandybandit media ploy to reinforce the image of women as warm and fuzzy and, hence, powerless.

dandybandit@cyndaminthia and their campaign managers’?

I figure I have a short response, but probably longer than a tweet would take. Keep in mind, most of this is coming out of my rather mushy brain… My response:

Of COURSE campaign managers. It’s all about manufactured consent, right? (ding ding, my favorite phrase) So, the use of first names provides a familiarity, a femininity (or an anti-masculinity – AKA more warm and fuzzy – calling people by their last names is a manly thing to do) to the image and feel of these women politicians. That’s what the public is familiar with – these gender roles being maintained in the media. And of course campaign managers would then want to play into those stereotypes to keep the public happy and content with that aspect of their portrayals of their candidates – because the public is more comfortable with this portrayal – it’s not new, it ‘s something they know. It’s harder swallowing the idea that women are equal to men on the political playing field, and hence need to be referred to by their last names in a very manly, non-feminine sporty-type way.

I realize this view is pretty reductionist and simplistic with a huge dollop of overgeneralization and gender stereotyping within it with the usage of words like “masculine” and “feminine”, but hopefully you get my drift.

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Posted by on August 18, 2009 in Uncategorized


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