Graduation Year


Graduation Month


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

School or Department

Communication Studies


Communication Studies – Rhetoric and Public Discourse

Faculty Mentor Department

Communication Studies

Faculty Mentor

Sara Hayden


Hiillary Clinton, gender, rhetoric, masculine, feminine, politics

Subject Categories

American Politics | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Social Influence and Political Communication | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


Hillary Rodham Clinton is arguably the most visible and controversial female political figure of our time. As First Lady, the Senator from New York, the Secretary of State, and a two-time Presidential candidate, the rhetorical space around Clinton is saturated with cultural assumptions of gender, power, and politics. In many ways Clinton is emblematic of the infamous “double bind” that all women who seek to challenge normative gendered roles must inevitably face. Much academic and cultural focus has been centered on the ways in which Hillary Rodham Clinton is a subject of gendered rhetoric. This paper, instead, builds on the vein of scholarship that examines the ways in which Clinton herself has used gendered rhetoric across her career as a candidate for public office. By examining the public addresses that Clinton has given at the beginning and end of each of her four campaigns for office, I examine how she embraces and rejects a traditionally feminine rhetorical style over time. This analysis provides insight into the ways that Clinton has adapted her rhetoric across almost two decades as a political candidate and provides clues as to the cultural tone set by Clinton for other women seeking public office. Taken holistically, shifts in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s gendered rhetorical style are illustrative of both her personal struggle with the double bind, and the larger cultural understanding of women in politics.

Honors College Research Project




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