MEN AND WOMEN IN POLITICAL COMMUNICATION

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Gulivets N. O.
Taurida National V.I.Vernadsky Universitty,
Simferopol

У статті досліджуються стратегії та стилі, що використовуються чоловіками та жінками – політичними лідерами у промовах з метою вплинути та справити враження на аудієнцію. Наведені практичні приклади взяті з двох промов Уільяма Джефферсона Клінтона та Хіларі Родхем Клінтон.
Ключовi слова: політична комунікація, політична промова, чоловічий, жіночий, стереотип, мова.
В статье исследуются стратегии и стили, используемые мужчинами и женщинами – политическими лидерами в произносимых речах с целью повлиять и произвести впечатление на слушающих. Приведенные практические примеры взяты из двух речей Уильяма Джефферсона Клинтона и Хиллари Родхем Клинтон.
Ключевые слова: политическая коммуникация, политическая речь, мужской, женский, стереотип, язык.
The offered paper studies strategies and styles employed by female and male political leaders in their speeches to influence and resonate with the public. Practical examples are drawn from two speeches delivered by William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Key words: political communication, political speech, male, female, stereotype, language.

The reality of modern society testifies to having continuing stereotypes as to masculine and feminine types of political communication. The public prefers women candidates to talk about ‘feminine’ issues, emphasize ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’ traits, and use neutral appeals in their political ads [9, p. 454-455]. Men and women are considered to use different rhetorical tools to achieve their political goals.
The main goal of the paper is to study what strategies and styles may be employed by women and men political leaders in their speeches to resonate with the public. To accomplish the task, two political speeches are to be examined: by William Jefferson Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton both delivered at 2004 Democratic National Convention, Fleet Center, Boston [18; 19].
Discourse gender stereotypes fall into two general classes: belief- and trait-based. With respect to the first type, women are better able to handle issues involving women, education, civil rights, and poverty, but as less able to handle traditionally male duties such as the military, foreign policy, and crime [e.g., 8; 10; 13]. With respect to trait-based stereotypes, women are generally seen as more compassionate, trustworthy, willing to compromise, and more empathetic, while men are viewed as stronger leaders, and more assertive, active, and self-confident [e.g., 8; 14].
A linguistic style and choice of words that conveys strength and competence in a male leader may result in being labeled as ‘cold’ in a female speech, but a more maternal style may signal that the female leader lacks the strength necessary to handle crises [see 6]. Besides, according to Marshall and Mayhead, “Women in the United States continue to change the gubernatorial landscape and contribute to the increasing importance of this role at both the state and federal levels. Thus, the values and perspectives revealed in their discourse must merit our … investigation” [12, p.124].
Previous research [see 2; 3] has studied the content of leadership rhetoric linked to engaging the collective identity of followers and enhancing charismatic attributions. The following is the description of its main principles as depicted in the proposed speeches.
Collective orientation and similarity to followers are more stereotypically feminine [see 2; 15]. In her speech, Hillary Clinton says, “You know, we’ve been through our share of challenges as Americans, from a Civil War, Great Depression, World Wars and so much more” or “You know, I, like all of you, just heard the moving testimonials about the horrors of September the 11th and the extraordinary witnessing by Reverend Alston concerning his lieutenant, John Kerry,” etc.
Bill Clinton uses more examples of personal language (‘I’, ‘my’) in his speech: And you might remember that when I was in office, on occasion, the Republicans were kind of mean to me, or My friends, after thee conventions as a candidate or a President, tonight I come to you as a citizen, returning to the role that I have played for most of my life… On the other hand, he does not avoid collective language to persuade and influence others: Americans long to be united. After 9 / 11, we all just wanted to be one nation.
Stereotypically masculine aspects of leadership are action [4; 5; 11] and adversity – describing or exaggerating the current situation as intolerable [4, p. 36].
In the respect of action, the main concepts in Bill Clinton’s speech are:
– choice: make choices / the right choices / a very different choice / equally fateful choices / choices that reflect both conviction and common sence, believe in choices, they chose to move that / to protect [my tax cut(s)], like and agree with choices, choose for a President / (to build / to form) a more perfect union / a captain of our ship, it’s time to choose;
– service: giving the best public servant in my family, to continue serving the public, to continue to serve in public life, the chance to serve in the White House for eight years, honor the service and sacrifice;
– challenge: other times of challenge, our common challenges at home, meet new challenges;
– chance: a chance to continue [to serve in public life] / to live their dreams, to have a chance to make the most of their own lives;
– change: a time of (unprecedented) change.
On the contrary, in her address Hillary Clinton makes emphasis on more grounded and static concepts:
– security: our security, give our children a safer and more secure future, need to secure our borders, homeland security is a priority;
– peace, prosperity, and promise: However, twelve years ago … Americans selected a Democrat who gave us eight years of peace, prosperity, and promise.
At the same time, Hillary Clinton employs stereotypically masculine characteristics:
– high self-confidence: We can, once again, transcend our differences and divisions;
– dominance: Now, I know a thing or two about health care.
– high levels of achievement: But being a senator from New York, I saw firsthand, as all of my friends and colleagues did, the devastation of September the 11th.
Thus, the action aspect suggests that successful political candidates must mobilize followers into action [6; 16] and create ‘a sense of excitement and adventure’ [1, p.194] around their political activity.
Decisive leaders are also characterized by their ability to articulate why action in some cases is necessary. Prior research highlights the ability of a change-oriented leader to articulate how dangerous the enemy is or how unnecessary the suffering is in order to challenge the status quo and motivate followers [3, p. 10]. In this manner, the leader attempts to generate support for his or her vision to overcome adversity [6]:
The 21st century is marked by serious security threats, serious economic challenges, and serious problems, from AIDS to global warming to the continuing turmoil in the Middle East … Now, at a time when we’re trying to get other people to give up nuclear and biological and chemical weapons, they are trying to develop two new nuclear weapons, which they say we might use first … to rally the world to our side in the war against terror, and to make a world with more friends and less terror, etc. (Bill Clinton);
I visited Ground Zero the day after we were attacked. And I felt like I was standing at the gates of hell … And we need to make sure that homeland security is a priority and that it is funded properly and the resources go to the areas of greatest risk, New York City (Hillary Clinton).
Values and moral justifications are considered to be gender neutral aspects of political communication [3, p. 10; 15]: We can, once again, give our children a safer and more secure future (Hillary Clinton); And Al Gore, as he showed again tonight, demonstrated incredible patriotism and grace under pressure (Bill Clinton), etc.
Also neutral are temporal orientation and tangibility [see 3; 4; 15; 17]. According to their research, political leaders make references to the correlation between past and present in order to highlight the importance of changes they are to implement: Tonight I have the pleasure of introducing the last great Democratic president. But first, I want to say a few words about the next great Democratic president, John Kerry (Hillary Clinton); I am honored to share this night with President Carter, for whom I worked in 1976 and who has inspired the world with his work for peace, democracy, and human rights (Bill Clinton).
Besides, transformational leaders will make more references to intangible future goals and fewer references to concrete, tangible outcomes [ibid.]: Together we can, once again, widen the circle of opportunity for all Americans. We can, once again, transcend our differences and divisions. We can, once again, give our children a safer and more secure future (Hillary Clinton); We all want our children to grow up in a secure America, leading the world toward a peaceful and prosperous future (Bill Clinton).
Thus, the present study shows that men and women evolve different means of political communication and different styles to achieve the set goals. Men establish independence and show aggression, their speech is competitive and dominating, their language is exclusive and initiates action, competition, and expertise. By contrast, women in their speech are inclusive and supportive. They use more inclusive pronouns to welcome the audience into their main ideas and concepts. Though, while men and women use distinct language styles, these differences are not only mere gender distinctions but also are an intentional use of rhetorical tools by both men and women to achieve certain objectives.
Future research on gender aspects of political communication can be carried on in various ways. More research is needed on different forms of political communication – televised political advertising, news releases, campaign literature, speeches, and Web sites. Since the emergence of the Internet offers wide possibilities for communication and it is used as a platform of expressing political thought, it is also important to analyze how this technology may be used by male and female candidates in their addressing the public.

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Illustration Material
18. Clinton H. R. Text of Remarks to the Democratic National Convention. – Available at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A16551-2004Jul26.html
19. Clinton W. J. 2004 Democratic Convention address. – Available at: http://www.americanhetoric.com/speeches/convention2004/billclinton2004dnc.htm

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