Sapiro (1993) The Political Uses of Symbolic Women: An Essay in Honor of Murray Edelman

Citation Sapiro, V. (1993). The Political Uses of Symbolic Women: An Essay in Honor of Murray Edelman. Political Communication, 10(2), 141–154. URL

BibTex entry for this article:

BibTex entry for this article:

@article{sapiro1993political,
author = {Sapiro, Virginia},
doi = {10.1080/10584609.1993.9962972},
issn = {1058-4609},
journal = {Political Communication},
number = {2},
pages = {141--154},
title = {{The Political Uses of Symbolic Women: An Essay in Honor of Murray Edelman}},
volume = {10},
year = {1993}
}

Abstract

This research offers a conceptually simple approach to understanding symbolic interpretation of women in politics: women and men are interpreted differently through specific stereotypes. The author sets forth a different argument, although one that does not necessarily contradict conventional views. She contends that students of political action and orientations who study the gender politics of leadership should sometimes resist the temptation to identify a political reality in an attempt to determine how a gender-based set of stereotypes alters and distorts that reality. When the meaning of women in politics is analyzed, it would be wise to understand that, in an important sense, scholars are not talking about real women at all, but symbolic women, representatives of their gender as well as many other things. Only then is it possible to understand what women such as Margaret Thatcher, Benazir Bhutto, Golda Meir, Hillary Clinton, or Barbara Bush mean. This approach insists on probing the meaning of specific people and events, even if students of political behavior are taught to leave individual cases to the journalists and biographers. It is important to take a more explicit theoretical and empirical account of the fact that the specific individual and context matters.

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