Hybrid strategic identities as gendered resources in french politics (Martine Aubry and Marine Le Pen)

Baider, Fabienne
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Many researchers such as Sineau (2001), Bertini (2002), Achin et al (2007) have been for years denouncing the “male norm or the male political order” in French politics. They also argue that explanations for such a gendered field should not be based on status differences between men and women but should focus on how dominant relationships differentiate male behavior and female behavior in politics. In this paper, we examine how, in their 2012 presidential campaigns, Martine Aubry (a socialist leader) and Marine Le Pen (an extreme-right party leader) adopted traditionally masculine strategic identities, and how these were portrayed in the French press. Both female politicians were known for their ‘toughness’; however Aubry was noted as being emotional, while Le Pen was seen to emphasize family life. They embodied a ‘femininity with a twist’. In order to examine the reception of such hybrid personas in journalistic discourse, we examine articles published in the French mainstream press, using quantitative and qualitative approaches. We point out the shared and different strategies and conclude on the periperformativity on the part of the newspapers as far as these ‘gender acts’ are concerned ​
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