Thursday, 26 March 2009

Feminist Events: Seminar on Helen Clark's leadership and media construction at UOA

Those who were fascinated by Carol's great guest post on Helen Clark and the attacks on her sexuality will no doubt want to make it along to this if they can.

Political Studies seminar "Warrior Princess" to "Political Dominatrix":Gendered Mediation of NZ Prime Minister Helen Clark
Who: Linda Trimble and Natasja Treiberg, presented by Linda Trimble, Department of Political Science, University of Alberta.
Where: Federation of University Women Room, Old Government House, cnr Princes St and Waterloo Quadrant, University of Auckland
When: Thursday 2nd April, 3.30pm to 4.40pm

From the Faculty of Arts event listing:
Our paper performs content and critical discourse analyses of newspaper reportage of New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark during the five election campaigns she has contested as leader of the Labour Party. We contrast coverage of Clark with that of her primary opponents, the four men and one woman who have led the National Party. The analysis focuses on the media construction of gendered leadership personas, particularly representations of sex and sexuality. The evidence shows that Clark's persona has been heavily mediated by the norm of heroic, masterful, adversarial political leadership, her campaign behaviors described with hyper-masculine battle imagery. Clark has been depicted as more aggressive (and indeed even more "manly") than her male competitors. At the same time, characterizations of Clark's sex and imputations about her sexuality have served as central framing devices throughout the five campaigns, positioning her as sexually anomalous and even dangerous! We argue that Helen Clark's media representations reveal particular expressions of gender and sexuality that work to consolidate the perception of political leadership as a singularly masculine performance.
Straw hat with paisley hatband tipped to Carol, for letting me know about this by email.

1 comment:

Madeleine said...

Anyone else bemused by my observations, posted on MandM this morning, on the Herald referring to Helen as Miss all through their story on her appointment being confirmed?

As a woman not entirely sure I am settled on the issue of women having 3 potential titles and men having only 1, I am wondering what the Hand Mirror might have to say on that.