Parry-Giles Authors Book on Hillary Clinton and the News

How the media helped construct political gender norms--and critiqued Hillary Clinton for violating them.

The charge of inauthenticity has trailed Hillary Clinton from the moment she entered the national spotlight and stood in front of television cameras. Shawn J. Parry-Giles's new book, Hillary Clinton in the News: Gender and Authenticity in American Politics(University of Illinois Press, 2014), shows how the U.S. media created their own news frames of Clinton's political authenticity and image-making, from her participation in Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign through her own 2008 presidential bid.

Using theories of nationalism, feminism, and authenticity, Parry-Giles tracks the evolving ways the major networks and cable news programs framed Clinton's image as she assumed roles ranging from surrogate campaigner, legislative advocate, and financial investor to international emissary, scorned wife, and political candidate. This study magnifies how the coverage that preceded Clinton's entry into electoral politics was grounded in her earliest presence in the national spotlight, and in long-standing nationalistic beliefs about the boundaries of authentic womanhood and first lady comportment. Once Clinton dared to cross those gender boundaries and vie for office in her own right, the news exuded a rhetoric of sexual violence. These portrayals served as a warning to other women who dared to enter the political arena and violate the protocols of authentic womanhood.

"Shawn J. Parry-Giles has written an insightful, exhaustive, and historically rooted analysis of Hillary Rodham Clinton's numerous media permutations. The book will be useful to non-academics as well as academic researchers as we seek to understand the role news media play in constructing the public personae of women."--Mary Douglas Vavrus, author of Postfeminist News: Political Women in Media Culture

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