Citation: Khan, Kherstin, and Diane M. Blair. “Writing Bill Clinton: Mediated Discourses On Hegemonic Masculinity And The 2008 Presidential Primary.” Women’s Studies In Communication 36.1 (2013): 56-71. Communication & Mass Media Complete. Web. 20 Sept. 2016.

In “ Writing Bill Clinton: Mediated Discourses On Hegemonic Masculinity and the 2008 Presidential Primary” Kherstin Khan and Diane Blair argue that the media “ framing of Bill Clinton as the popular, patriarchal head of the Democratic Party ultimately functioned rhetorically as to marginalize Senator Clinton’s campaign and re-center the connection between hegemonic masculinity and the presidency” (56). Khan and Blair examine how the media aids in the maintenance of gender hierarchies. They focus on how the media coverage of the 2008 presidential campaign framed President Bill Clinton’s participation in Senator Clinton’s campaign; The authors concluded that the media’s framing of Bill Clinton’s participation “re-centered hegemonic masculinity in presidential political performances” (58).

This piece analyzes how the media framing of Bill Clinton as the popular patriarch of the Democratic Party, beloved celebrity, charming seducer, disciplinarian and defender, and an authority figure within the 2008 Clinton Presidential campaign reaffirms hegemonic scripts. Traditionally, the United States presidency has been dependent on the intersection of race, gender and class. Therefore the role of the president has been, historically, a space where hegemonic masculinity is reaffirmed.

“Hegemonic masculinity, in general serves to maintain power hierarchies that privilege White, heterosexual men over women, men of color, and gay men” ( 58). Therefore, the perpetuation of hegemonic masculinity serves to maintain power structures. Has Bill Clinton’s role in the 2016 Presidential campaign undermine and marginalize Hillary Clinton’s viability as a candidate? Khan and Blair urge us to remember that, when investigating the experiences of women and people of color as political candidates one must examine how their intersecting identities affect how the media frames them.





Picture credit: Cynthia Johnson/The LIFE Images Collection/ Getty Images