The family, and motherhood in particular, have long been themes in American politics. Indeed, both Palin (in her speech to RNC) and Clinton (in her Victory Speech) reference being mothers–and in Clinton’s case, being a grandmother–in their respective acceptance speeches. In White-Farnham’s article, she takes us back in time focusing on the public discourse of Mary Leite Fonseca who was Senator of Massachusetts from 1953-1984. She examines the historical roles that gender and motherhood have played in women’s public rhetoric and looks at the connection between women’s domestic roles and responsibilities–especially motherhood, and rhetoric. She puts forth that asserting such roles can both inspire women’s rhetoric and at the same time pose limits to it. The article left me questioning whether motherhood “works” or not in terms of political rhetoric.
Does politicizing motherhood activate and reinforce gender stereotypes?
Clinton continues to evoke motherhood to win voter support–will she continue to do so once elected?
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