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An Exploration of the Sexual Rhetoric Used in the 2008 Campaign for the President of the United States with Particular Focus on Hillary Rodham Clinton as the First Legitimate Female Candidate.

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The 2008 Candidate: Why Hillary Clinton?

Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton (born October 26th, 1947) is the junior United States Senator from New York and a member of the Democratic Party. She is married to Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, and was the First Lady of the United States from 1993 to 2001. On January 20th, 2007, Hillary announced on her website her intention to become a candidate for president in the United States presidential election in 2008. In her announcement, she stated, "I'm in. And I'm in to win." www.hillary08.com

What is Political Communication?

This paper explores the use of sexual rhetoric in the Political Communication arena of the U.S. presidential election and how Hillary Rodham Clinton uses language in a world that is male centric. Hillary understands that this will be difficult, in her speech to her alma mater she told the crowd, "College has prepared me to compete in the all boys' club of presidential politics." (CNN.com November 1st 2007). McNair (2003) states that the term, political communication is, "notoriously difficult to define with any precision, simply because both components of the phrase are themselves open to a variety of definitions." (P3). However, Graber & Smith (2005) focus on the communication component of the phrase rather than the political science element when they term it, "the construction, sending, receiving and processing of messages that potentially have a significant direct or indirect impact on politics." (P479) The use of sexual rhetoric from a female perspective and its impact on the voters has not been explored and is the basis for this paper.

Literature Review: Female Rhetoric

Communication as an ever changing and expanding medium has remained stagnant with regards to sexuality, in response to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan describing himself as the "non-sexy" alternative to a female cabinet colleague, "Women's advocates, in particular Rosemary Speirs, with the lobby group Equal Voice, are decrying the remarks as a disgraceful indication that politics remains an 'old boy's club.'" (http://cnews.canoe.ca/)

The rhetoric has always been male orientated, for example Jimmy Carter in the late 70's was accused of, "Pussy-footing around, being impotent and that he dillied and dallied," (Hahn 2003 p.102) with his inaction in dealing with the Iranian hostage crisis. Males have dominated the political communication sphere for such a long time as is stated later on in this paper with regards to 'Quintillian,' the orators of ancients Greece wrote their books with male language. It is only natural that the language is orientated towards masculine metaphors. When female metaphors are used they are always in terms that restrict femininity in some way, it is to be protected and defended, as females are weaker than men, "Lady Liberty."

The domination being so complete and the language system in favor of males make it hard for a female to succeed because even the language is not written to include her. In her run up to the election Hillary Clinton will face many problems including the fact that she was a first lady, society as a whole view the president's wife as 'arm candy'. In order for Hillary to be elected first female president of the United States of America will this gender bias l have to be overcome. Clinton has some things in her favor; she was elected to the Senate in 2000, becoming the first First Lady elected to public office and the first female senator to represent New York. She was re-elected in 2006.

Spender, (1983 p.13) In Man-made Language argues that, "male control is exercised at the level of the very language we use, it involves a way of structuring thought that is based on male perceptions and cannot accommodate a woman's." Thus even when the male includes female rule whereby words such as he, his and man can be understood as containing their female equivalent. Valerie Bryson in her book Feminist Political Theory (1992) states that there is empirical evidence to suggest that people do, 'think male' when confronted with such labels as "economic man." Even though this can in principle mean economic people.

The contemporary research of women in political power especially with the U.S. presidential election is limited to blogs that are written since Hillary announced her campaign, this is due to there never having been a legitimate female candidate before now. Historically female leaders of countries have been limited to Margaret Thatcher in Great Britain and while nobody could doubt Thatcher's essential femininity, Dick Morris Nov 7 2007 a political commentator and an ardent detractor of Hillary states, "Thatcher never used it as a defense, never enlisted women in a class defense against the male establishment. She gloried in fighting the men who ran Argentina or those who ran the European Union with never so much as a reference to gender." On the other hand in the same article Morris believes that, "When the going gets tough, Hillary always pulls out the female victim card," and he is bold enough to say, "Hillary's retreat to shelter in the feminist orb when the male world spurns her raises serious questions about whether she is really tough enough to be president," her detractors are many and with this example we can see any show of weakness can be seen as her being overly emotional and unprepared for the tough decisions of the white house. One group on the social network site Facebook is called, "Hillary Clinton: Stop Running for President and Make Me a Sandwich," people attacking her politics with male sexist rhetoric may have a massive impact on her language. With an examination of this language we will be able to understand better the position of a female running for president and if her language is male, female or non-gender specific.

We also can draw comparisons from the black civil right movement in America in the 1960's.Power was held by one part of society and they excluded another. The difference is that for Martin Luther King, a distinctive black religious tradition was already in place, which as Atkinson (1984) stated, "Could be readily adapted for speaking on behalf of the civil rights movement," and for women such as Hillary Atkinson(1984)

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