Degree Name

BA

Department

Comparative Arts and Letters

College

Humanities

Defense Date

2020-07-29

Publication Date

2020-08-07

First Faculty Advisor

Cecilia M. Peek

First Faculty Reader

Martha Peacock

Second Faculty Reader

Jessica Preece

Honors Coordinator

Cecilia M. Peek

Keywords

Cleopatra VII, Hillary Clinton, gender expectations, political iconography

Abstract

This thesis examines the use of gender expectations in representations of two historically significant and politically powerful women: Cleopatra VII and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Though their situations were in some ways quite different, each of these women crafted her public image carefully, using both masculine and feminine gender expectations to represent herself as a powerful, capable leader and as a strong, caring mother. Their political enemies similarly drew on both masculine and feminine gender norms in order to represent these women both as dangerous, emasculating, monstrous figures who had to be conquered and as weak and incapable of leadership. The similarities in these uses of gender expectations and stereotypes in the formation of the public images of these two politically powerful women despite their different cultures and eras suggests that western civilization still represents powerful women today in much the same way it did two thousand years ago.

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