Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

“France's (Kinder, Gentler) Extremist”: Marine Le Pen, Intersectionality, and Media Framing of Female Populist Radical Right Leaders

  • Alexandra Snipes (a1) and Cas Mudde (a1)

Abstract

Although the populist radical right is generally seen as a particularly masculine and misogynist phenomenon, several of its parties have female leaders. The most prominent is Marine Le Pen, president of the French National Rally (formerly the National Front) and unofficial leader of the European populist radical right. Using insights from intersectionality theory, we posit that Marine Le Pen, as a female populist radical right politician, faces qualitatively different media coverage than both her female and her radical right counterparts. In this study, we analyze her media framing in two French (Le Figaro and Le Monde) and two U.S. (New York Times and Wall Street Journal) newspapers, focusing on the application of gender and populist radical right frames. We find that the “harder” populist radical right frame dominates the “softer” gender frame in all four newspapers, but, paradoxically, the combination of the two frames leads to overall less biased coverage of Marine Le Pen compared with both other female and other populist radical right politicians. In the conclusion, we discuss some of the consequences of the findings for the broader study of female politicians, most notably, theories of intersectionality and the double bind for women in leadership.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All

Earlier versions of this article have been presented at the Center for Undergraduate Research at the University of Georgia in 2015, the Midwestern Political Science Association in 2017, and the University of Georgia Women's Studies Student Research Symposium in 2018. We want to thank all conference participants for their comments. We also want to thank our UGA colleagues Lihi Ben Shitrit and Maryann Gallagher, whose insightful comments were invaluable in the final revision process.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Ackerly, Brooke, and McDermott, Rose. 2012. “Recent Developments in Intersectionality Research: Expanding beyond Race and Gender Introduction.” Politics & Gender 8 (3): 367–70.
Aday, Sean, and Devitt, James. 2001. “Style over Substance: Newspaper Coverage of Elizabeth Dole's Presidential Bid.” International Journal of Press/Politics 6 (2): 5273.
Akkerman, Tjitske, de Lange, Sarah L., and Rooduijn, Matthijs, eds. 2016. Radical Right-Wing Populist Parties in Western Europe: Into the Mainstream? London: Routledge.
Art, David. 2007. “Reacting to the Radical Right: Lessons from Germany and Austria.” Party Politics 13 (3): 331–49.
Art, David. 2008. “The Organizational Origins of the Contemporary Radical Right: The Case of Belgium.” Comparative Politics 40 (4): 421–40.
Bligh, Michelle C., Schlehofer, Michele M., Casad, Bettina J., and Gaffney, Amber M.. 2012. “Competent Enough, but Would You Vote for Her? Gender Stereotypes and Media Influences on Perceptions of Women Politicians.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 42 (3): 560–97.
Bos, Linda, Van der Brug, Wouter, and Vreese, Claes De. 2011. “How the Media Shape Perceptions of Right-Wing Populist Leaders.” Political Communication 28 (2): 182206.
Braden, Maria. 1996. Women Politicians and the Media. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.
Bystrom, Dianne G., Robertson, Terry A., and Banwart, Mary Christine. 2001. “Framing the Fight: An Analysis of Media Coverage of Female and Male Candidates in Primary Races for Governor and U.S. Senate in 2000.” American Behavioral Scientist 44 (12): 19992013.
Cameron, Deborah. 1992. Feminism and Linguistic Theory. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Campus, Donatella. 2013. Women Political Leaders and the Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Campus, Donatella. 2017. “Marine Le Pen's Peopolisation: An Asset for Leadership Image-Building? French Politics 15 (2): 147–65.
Carlin, Diana B., and Winfrey, Kelly L.. 2009. “Have You Come a Long Way, Baby? Hillary Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Sexism in 2008 Campaign Coverage.” Communication Studies 60 (4): 326–43.
Carroll, Susan J. 2009. “Reflections on Gender and Hillary Clinton's Presidential Campaign: The Good, the Bad, and the Misogynic.” Politics & Gender 5 (1): 120.
Carroll, Susan J., and Fox, Richard L.. 2006. “Introduction: Gender and Electoral Politics into the Twenty-First Century.” In Gender and Elections: Shaping the Future of American Politics, eds. Carroll, Susan J. and Fox, Richard L.. New York: Cambridge University Press, 111.
Celis, Karen, and Childs, Sarah. 2012. “The Substantive Representation of Women: What to Do with Conservative Claims?Political Studies 60 (1): 213–25.
Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. “Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics.” University of Chicago Legal Forum 140: 139–67.
Deckman, Melissa. 2016. Tea Party Women: Mama Grizzlies, Grassroots Leaders, and the Changing Face of the American Right. New York: New York University Press.
De Vreese, Claes H., Banducci, Susan A., Semetko, Holli A., and Boomgaarden, Hajo G.. 2006. “The News Coverage of the 2004 European Parliamentary Election Campaign in 25 Countries.” European Union Politics 7 (4): 477504.
Eagly, Alice H., and Carli, Linda L.. 2003. “The Female Leadership Advantage: An Evaluation of the Evidence.” Leadership Quarterly 14 (6): 807–34.
Ellinas, Antonis A. 2010. The Media and the Far Right in Western Europe: Playing the Nationalist Card. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Entman, Robert M. 1993. “Framing: Toward Clarification of a Fractured Paradigm.” Journal of Communication 43 (4): 5158.
Falk, Erika. 2010. Women for President: Media Bias in Nine Campaigns. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.
Fourest, Caroline, and Venner, Fiammetta. 2011. Marine Le Pen. Paris: Grasset.
Fox, Richard Logan. 1997. Gender Dynamics in Congressional Elections. Vol. 2. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Fridkin, Kim L., and Kenney, Patrick J.. 2014. The Changing Face of Representation: The Gender of U.S. Senators and Constituent Communications. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Garcia-Blanco, Iñaki, and Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin. 2012. “The Discursive Construction of Women Politicians in the European Press.” Feminist Media Studies 12 (3): 422–41.
Gershon, Sarah. 2012. “When Race, Gender, and the Media Intersect: Campaign News Coverage of Minority Congresswomen.” Journal of Women, Politics & Policy 33 (2): 105–25.
Geva, Dorit. 2018. “Daughter, Mother, Captain: Marine Le Pen, Gender, and Populism in the French National Front.” Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society. Published online December 24. https://doi.org/10.1093/sp/jxy039.
Gidengil, Elisabeth, and Everitt, Joanna. 1999. “Metaphors and Misrepresentations: Gendered Mediation in News Coverage of the 1993 Canadian Leaders’ Debate.” International Journal of Press/Politics 4 (1): 4865.
Glick, Peter, and Fiske, Susan T.. 2001. “An Ambivalent Alliance: Hostile and Benevolent Sexism as Complementary Justifications for Gender Inequality.” American Psychologist 56 (2): 109–18.
Hall, Lauren J., and Donaghue, Ngaire. 2013. “‘Nice Girls Don't Carry Knives’: Construction of Ambition in Media Coverage of Australia's First Female Prime Minister.” British Journal of Social Psychology 52 (4): 631–47.
Hancock, Ange-Marie. 2007. “When Multiplication Doesn't Equal Quick Addition: Examining Intersectionality as a Research Paradigm.” Perspectives on Politics 5 (1): 6379.
Heflick, Nathan A., and Goldenberg, Jamie L.. 2009. “Objectifying Sarah Palin: Evidence That Objectification Causes Women to Be Perceived as Less Competent and Less Fully Human.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45 (3): 598601.
Heldman, Caroline. 2009. From Ferraro to Palin: Sexism in Media Coverage of Female Vice Presidential Candidates. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Political Association, Toronto, December 9.
Heldman, Caroline, Carroll, Susan J., and Olson, Stephanie. 2005. “‘She Brought Only a Skirt’: Print Media Coverage of Elizabeth Dole's Bid for the Republican Presidential Nomination.” Political Communication 22 (3): 315–35.
Huddy, Leonie, and Terkildsen, Nayda. 1993. “Gender Stereotypes and the Perception of Male and Female Candidates.” American Journal of Political Science 37 (1): 119–47.
Ivaldi, Gilles. 2015. “Towards the Median Economic Crisis Voter? The New Leftist Economic Agenda of the Front National in France.” French Politics 13 (4): 346–69.
Jamieson, Kathleen Hall. 1995. Beyond the Double Bind: Women and Leadership. New York: Oxford University Press.
Jost, Kenneth. 2008. “Women in Politics: Does Gender Bias Hurt Female Candidates?CQ Researcher, 18: 265288.
Kahn, Kim Fridkin. 1996. The Political Consequences of Being a Woman: How Stereotypes Influence the Conduct and Consequences of Political Campaigns. New York: Columbia University Press.
Kellerman, Barbara, and Rhode, Deborah L., eds. 2007. Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Kittislon, Miki Caul, and Fridkin, Kim. 2008. “Gender, Candidate Portrayals and Election Campaigns: A Comparative Perspective.” Politics & Gender 4 (3): 371–92.
Koopmans, Ruud, and Olzak, Susan. 2004. “Discursive Opportunities and the Evolution of Right-Wing Violence in Germany.” American Journal of Sociology 110 (1): 198230.
Kotler, Philip, and Kotler, Neil. 1999. “Political Marketing: Generating Elective Candidates, Campaigns, and Causes.” In Handbook of Political Marketing, ed. Newman, Bruce I.. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 318.
Kracauer, Siegfried. 1952. “The Challenge of Qualitative Content Analysis.” Public Opinion Quarterly 16 (4): 631–42.
Lawrence, Regina G., and Rose, Melody. 2010. Hillary Clinton's Race for the White House: Gender Politics and the Media on the Campaign Trail. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers.
Lindlof, Thomas R., and Taylor, Bryan C.. 2017. Qualitative Communication Research Methods. 4th ed. Los Angeles: Sage.
Matonti, Frédérique. 2017. Le genre présidentiel. Paris: La Decouverte.
Matthes, Jörg, and Kohring, Matthias. 2008. “The Content Analysis of Media Frames: Toward Improving Reliability and Validity.” Journal of Communication 58 (2): 258–79.
Mayer, Nonna. 2013. “From Jean-Marie to Marine Le Pen: Electoral Change on the Far Right.” Parliamentary Affairs 66 (1): 160–78.
Mayring, Philipp. 2000. “Qualitative Content Analysis.” Forum: Qualitative Social Research 1 (2): Article 20. http://dx.doi.org/10.17169/fqs-1.2.1089.
McCall, Leslie. 2005. “The Complexity of Intersectionality.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30 (3): 17711800.
Meeks, Lindsey. 2012. “Is She ‘Man Enough’? Women Candidates, Executive Political Office, and News Coverage.” Journal of Communication 62 (1): 175–93.
Meret, Susi, Siim, Birte, and Pingaud, Etienne. 2016. “Men's Parties with Women Leaders: A Comparative Study of the Right-Wing Populist Leaders Pia Kjærsgaard, Marine Le Pen and Siv Jensen.” In Understanding the Populist Shift: Othering in a Europe in Crisis, eds. Lazardis, Gabriella and Campani, Giavanna. New York: Routledge, 122–49.
Mudde, Cas. 2007. Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mudde, Cas. 2010. “The Populist Radical Right: A Pathological Normalcy.” West European Politics 33 (6): 1167–86.
Murray, Rainbow. 2012. “Progress but Still No Présidente: Women and the 2012 French Presidential Elections.” French Politics, Culture & Society 30 (3): 4560.
Norris, Pippa. 1997. “Women Leaders Worldwide: A Splash of Color in the Photo Op.” In Women, Media and Politics, ed. Norris, Pippa. New York: Oxford University Press, 149–65.
Quandt, Thorsten. 2008. “(No) News on the World Wide Web? A Content Analysis of Online News in Europe and the United States.” Journalism Studies 9 (5): 717–38.
Schafraad, Pytrik, Wester, Fred, and Scheepers, Peer. 2013. “Media Attention to the Far-Right in Three Dutch Newspapers 1986–2004. Characteristics and Trends.” Observatorio 7 (2): 131.
Schlehofer, Michèle M., Casad, Bettina J., Bligh, Michelle C., and Grotto, Angela. 2011. “Navigating Public Prejudices: The Impact of Media and Attitudes on High-Profile Female Political Leaders.” Sex Roles 65 (1): 6982.
Schreiber, Ronnee. 2008. Righting Feminism: Conservative Women and American Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.
Schreiber, Ronnee. 2010. “Who Speaks for Women? Print Media Portrayals of Feminist and Conservative Women's Advocacy.” Political Communication 27 (10): 432–52.
Schreiber, Ronnee. 2014. “Understanding the Future of Feminism Requires Understanding Conservative Women.” Politics & Gender 10 (2): 276–80.
Semetko, Holli A., Blumler, Joy G., Gurevitch, Michael, and Weaver, David H.. 1991. The Formation of Campaign Agendas: A Comparative Analysis of Party and Media Roles in Recent American and British Elections. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Shepard, Ryan. 2009. “Confronting Gender Bias, Finding a Voice: Hillary Clinton and the New Hampshire Crying Incident.” Argumentation and Advocacy 46 (1): 6478.
Shields, James. 2013. “Marine Le Pen and the ‘New’ FN: A Change of Style or of Substance?Parliamentary Affairs 66 (1): 179–96.
Simien, Evelyn M. 2007. “Doing Intersectionality Research: From Conceptual Issues to Practical Examples.” Politics & Gender 3 (2): 264–71.
Stevens, Anne. 2012. “Comparing and Assessing Gender Effects in Political Leadership.” In Comparative Political Leadership, ed. Helms, Ludger. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 207–26.
Street, John. 2003. “The Celebrity Politician: Political Style and Popular Culture.” In Media and the Restyling of Politics: Consumerism, Celebrity and Cynicism, eds. Corner, John and Pels, Dick. London: Sage, 8598.
Street, John. 2004. “Celebrity Politicians: Popular Culture and Political Representation.” British Journal of Politics and International Relations 6 (4): 435–52.
Tolley, Erin. 2015. Framed: Media and the Coverage of Race in Canadian Politics. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.
Ward, Orlanda. 2017. “Intersectionality and Press Coverage of Political Campaigns: Representations of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic Female Candidates at the UK 2010 General Election.” International Journal of Press/Politics 22 (1): 4366.
Wasburn, Philo C., and Wasburn, Mara H.. 2011. “Media Coverage of Women in Politics: The Curious Case of Sarah Palin.” Media, Culture & Society 33 (7): 1027–41.
Yarchi, Moran. 2014. “The Effect of Female Suicide Attacks on Foreign Media Framing of Conflicts: The Case of the Palestinian–Israeli Conflict.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 37 (8): 674–88.
Yuval-Davis, Nira. 2007. “Intersectionality, Citizenship and Contemporary Politics of Belonging.” Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy 10 (4): 561–74.

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed